The freshness of spring gets a final hurrah this month before menus transition to summer. With beautifully ripe produce, these fine dining spots – from Italian to Chinese – celebrate the best, and last, of the green season.
藝 yì by Jereme Leung
The seasonal items here will change your mind about produce from China. For one, the mugwort glutinous dumplings are an outstanding dim sum pick – sticky, crunchy, and savoury from a water chestnut and mushroom filling – and tantalisingly dependent on the mugwort supply.
People visit for the goose palm (with abalone, noodles and mullet roe), but don’t overlook the beancurd skin roll stuffed with tuna, tofu and spring onions, which is marvellously crisp and clean-tasting.
Other gems include a warming spinach soup with prawns, crabmeat, and Wensi tofu, and a reliable wok-fried Hokkaido scallops with imperial vegetables. Save room for dessert: a herby basil ice cream and green tea pudding with purple sweet potato cream.
JAG’s signature vegetable-centric menu highlights the changing flavours of French-imported harvest, and is paired with wild herbs from the Savoy Alps.
Here, the proteins match the greens, not the other way round: think artichoke with lamb, celtuce with barnacle, green pea with scallop (a classic), and Swiss chard with sea bass. Especially clever are the appetisers and canapes – ranging from green apple elixir to fava beans with garlic veloute and lobster.
The pre-dessert course is disarmingly pretty: a mossy, smoky, floral tableau in which nestles a cassis-infused blackcurrant sorbet, inspired by chef Jeremy Gilllon’s childhood woodland foraging trips.
Impressively, the dishes at this one-star establishment can be tweaked to exclude any ingredient you don’t fancy, whether it’s soybeans, lamb tongue, or frog.
At this one-star Italian concept, many of the veggies come inventively paired with seafood. For example: cuttlefish sliced like tagliatelle and served in a tomato consomme alongside green peas and ikura. Another: white asparagus with Kinkawooka mussels, topped with a caramelised fennel and shallot purée.
After that, dive into grilled hamachi collar with Sardinian artichoke, tangy verjus gel, and finger limes. To close, enjoy a strawberry sorbet with a blonde chocolate mousse featuring oabika (cocoa fruit juice concentrate), and a playful ‘cherry’ made of fruit jam, edible dark chocolate seed and cherry liqueur.
Hearty Catalan cuisine is on full display in the spring/summer menu at this international outpost of one-Michelin-star Gaig from Barcelona.
Among the treats: a sorbet of salmorejo (chilled tomato soup) between two slices of tomato water meringue; edible flowers atop a sheet of silken cuttlefish and squid ink rice; and of course, Gaig’s cannelloni with roast meat filling and truffle cream sauce, a signature since 1869.
For the main: suckling pig – all of it – loin, tail, brains, fat, trotters, even the head, all prepared different ways. At dessert, a guava glaze and drops of guava puree lighten a goat’s milk mousse, topped with a whimsical cloud of cotton candy.
One-star Cure is one of the few places in Asia offering fine dining from the Emerald Isle. Chef Andrew Walsh’s Nua (or “new”) Irish spring menu features such delights as Irish blue mussels with barbecued spring peas, whiskey-glazed smoked salmon with horseradish and marigold petals, and the dreamily-named “apple from the orchard”: a velvet cloud of yoghurt espuma, oats, and hazelnut crumbling with green apple sorbet and nasturtium.
Duck fans can enjoy the Silver Hill variety, served in a salad of spring cabbage with egg mayo and crackling, and as part of the main course, seared on binchotan and paired with endives, rhubarb, cauliflower puree and berry vinegar aged in-house 14 days.
La Dame De Pic
While it’s available only till early June, the food at Michelin-starred Anne-Sophie Pic’s Singapore outpost is unforgettable enough to include.
The spring speciality, asparagus, gets two treatments: the white variety (from Loire Valley) enhanced with Lardo di Colonnata, black sesame and beeswax, and the green (from Touraine) with liquorice, tarragon and matcha ice cream.
For mains, the gaminess of pigeon is lifted with sakura, herb of grace, peas and lemongrass, while Kagoshima wagyu is buttressed with the robust sweetness of black garlic and carrots plurielle. Also enjoy the chef’s Berlingots, pyramid pasta parcels of Brie de Meaux paired with zucchini, bergamot and ginger.