[dropcap size=small]I[/dropcap]t is all too easy to stick your nose into a guidebook to pick out a restaurant, and hope that the stars, diamonds and other awards – bestowed upon it by an invisible, remote jury – actually translate into a special dining experience. But the evolved epicurean hunter knows better. They see quality not just in ostentatiously expensive ingredients worked into lavish presentations, but also in plates that present purity, simplicity and ingenuity.
It is all about finding chefs and restaurants that redefine luxury in their own unique style. At Shangri-La Hotel Singapore’s Origin Grill & Bar, the cuisine is produce-driven, and Australian chef de cuisine Heidi Flanagan takes pride in using the very best, not just in terms of taste, but also in terms of sustainability: Think free-range Malaysian ducks, hormone- and antibiotic-free Australian pork and line-caught Canadian black cod. Meanwhile Skai, perched on the 70th floor of Swissotel The Stamford, is a contemporary grill restaurant with a killer view of Singapore’s dazzling cityscape. From Welsh executive chef Paul Hallett comes a repertoire of carefully thought-out dishes that are delightfully uncomplicated yet deliciously original: a “tartare” of yellow fin tuna is seasoned with togarashi spice and a light soya dressing laced with ginger, served with toasty sesame crackers. The flavours are bold and distinct, yet the dishes are light and inspired.
(Related: Business lunches at Origin Grill & Bar)
Taking inventiveness to another level is German chef de cuisine Benjamin Halat of Curate at Resorts World Sentosa. A finely textured egg white souffle is served atop a refined rendition of a classic German herb and sour cream sauce, and topped with a mound of Oscietra caviar. Glide your spoon through the “cloud” and you will find a surprise nestled within: a molten-centred egg. Halat’s food pays loving tribute to the hearty, rustic cuisine of his homeland, but it is also a celebration of technical excellence and culinary ingenuity.
The three chefs and their restaurants might be distinct in their own ways, yet they share a unified passion for ingredients of exceptional quality. And this includes the most exquisite produce on the market: Wylarah.
Making the cut
Wylarah’s prestige goes way beyond its identity as the master stroke of Australia’s leading beef producer – an expression of the 195-year-old company’s savvy.
Like fine wine that speaks of its vintage, terroir and the winemaker’s savoir faire, Wylarah is a living product that tells of nature and nurture.
The cattle graze exclusively on lush pastures for two years before transitioning to a bespoke diet of freshly milled grains mixed with mineral-rich molasses.
From these cattle, only the highest quality cuts with a Meat Standards Australia rating of five stars are sold as Wylarah – which is why, while some 30 to 35 cuts are derived from an animal, only 12 cuts are sold as Wylarah. Its scarcity means that Wylarah is the beef that chooses its chefs. In fact, less than 10 restaurants worldwide, each selected for its exceptional quality, serve this delicacy. Flanagan, who has had the opportunity of observing the production of Wylarah from the ground up, shares: “You can see that the herd is lovingly tended to, ultimately creating a stress-free and easy life. As a result of that, the product that comes to us is world-class and exemplary, similar to, I think, high-end ingredients such as truffles or caviar for their prestige.”
Her expertly executed dish of Wylarah striploin is simply served with butter poached radish, scorched shallot, carrot, ginger and pear. “This combination is designed to complement the flavour of Wylarah – the silky texture and depth in the taste of the roasted carrot and ginger cream work nicely to cut the richness of the robust meat, and the other ingredients add a punch of flavour to lift an already rich dish,” she shares.
For Skai chef Hallett, the earthy tones of maitake mushroom and black truffle are the perfect complement to the richness of the Wylarah striploin. His dish, which sees the prized cut seared in a Josper charcoal oven and served with cauliflower, maitake, black truffle and hazelnut, is a stellar expression of his product-driven culinary principle: the philosophy of achieving balance and keeping things uncomplicated. “Great products speak for themselves; I just like to set the stage,” he opines.
The Labskaus – a tartare of Wylarah with smoked fish cream and beetroot – is Curate chef Halat’s interpretation of a traditional delicacy from northern Germany. He says: “The high quality and depth of flavour of Wylarah make it an excellent choice for tartare. I season it with smoked fish oil emulsion, and mix it with pickled beetroot, mustard, shallots and chives, so there’s a blend of savoury, spicy, sweet and smoky flavours.
“At Curate, I am putting my own twist on modern European cuisine, slanted towards contemporary German creations. To honour the classics and to present the best creations to our guests, it is important to me to use high quality ingredients.” And Wylarah is exactly the calibre of produce Halat seeks. He adds: “Wylarah is a unique product. It has a robust flavour but also the marbling of an Australian wagyu, and the stringent selection of Wylarah makes it very special.
“It is a luxury product that is in its own category.”
— Brought to you by Wylarah —