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Singapore's best gourmet restaurant
Consistently surprising, experimental and memorable, these doyens of deliciousness are Singapore's finest dining experiences
Singapore's best gourmet restaurant -- Recommended: Salut Private Dining
The greatest skill of Karl Dobler, the chef de cuisine at Salut Private Dining, the sister arm to the Au Petit Salut restaurant located on the first of the Harding Road premises, is that he allows his food to show itself off.
“He really sticks to high quality ingredients, and his cooking style shows the best of the produce,” says Best Eats panelist Eric Teo, president of the Singapore Chefs’ Association.
The Austrian turns out a deliciously tender, beer-roasted, crispy, juicy suckling pig served with apple and shallots, fendant potatoes and star anise sauce. His spiced foie gras is perfect and comes with a kick, courtesy of its accompanying chardonnay mustard.
What's the hitch? You've got to pick your friends wisely as there is a minimum number (12) -- as well as a maximum (40-44) -- number of guests allowed.
Level 2, 40C Harding Road, tel +65 6475 1976. By appointment only.
Singapore's best gourmet restaurant -- Recommended: Novus
Picking his favorite gourmet restaurant comes easy to Best Eats expert panelist Dominic Khoo. The vote goes to Novus, a place he eats at up to three times a week.
“From the foie gras brulee to foie gras parfait, there is always a surprise to his dishes,” says Khoo, who admits being mesmerized by chef de cuisine Stephan Zoisl's partial-molecular style of cooking.
Zoisl, who was with Novus in 2007 but left in 2009 to go traveling and to take up a brief stint at The Fat Duck in England, has turned the place around since his return in March 2010.
These days the kitchen wows diners with a robust oxtail ravioli served with a lightly scented thyme foam and a beef carpaccio loaded with shaved truffles.
Go now while lunch menus are still reasonably priced at S$29 (two courses) and S$38 (three course), as this probably won't be the case for much longer.
#01-02 National Museum, 93 Stamford Road, tel +65 6336 8770. Open Monday-Saturday 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 6:30-10:30 p.m.
Singapore's best gourmet restaurant -- Recommended: Au Jardin Les Amis
Conversations about fine dining in Singapore are often, and rightly so, punctuated by the Les Amis name. Pioneers and survivors of the fickle fine-dining scene, the group's Au Jardin Les Amis with its black and white colonial house setting provides one of the city's prettiest and most consistent gourmet experiences.
Singaporean-born chef Galvin Lim's eight-course dégustation menu and a four-course table d’Hote menu are a favorite with its customers who return regularly for the Alaskan crab served with sea urchin and caviar, and the chocolate with goat’s milk ice cream dessert.
On the a la carte end, the signature Wagyu short rib is beautifully roasted till fork tender, and the rose petal crème brulée with a rhubarb compote and sorbet is a sweet ending you won't forget.
While the Au Jardin experience does not come cheap, it is worth an occasional gastronomic pilgrimage.
EJH Corner House, Singapore Botanic Garden Visitors Centre, Cluny Road, tel +65 6466-8812. Open Friday noon-3 p.m., Monday-Sunday 9 a.m.-midnight, Sunday 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
Singapore's best gourmet restaurant -- Winner: 53
“For lunch, my favorite from the current menu is the chilled, hand-picked, sweet and fresh mud crab paired with the refreshing sweet acidity of apple -- who would have thought, but the combination works," says Best Eats panelist Shermay Lee about 53.
Known for creatively combining ingredients and cooking techniques, ex-lawyer-turned-chef-restaurateur Michael Han always springs a few surprises on his guests; blame it on his time spent in the kitchens of NOMA and The Fat Duck.
Another highlight for Lee is the wagyu cheek and alliums dish.
"It's made of wagyu beef cheek and cooked for 40 hours with an onion consommé that is braised for another 48 hours," says Lee. "They're so confident of its tenderness that it is served with a fork and spoon only, no knife is required.
"This is the culinary equivalent of Hermes; chic, subtle, elegant, refined, innovative, design and product-driven,” she adds.
53 Armenian Street, tel +65 6334 5535. Open Tuesday-Saturday noon-2 p.m., Monday-Saturday 7-9:30 p.m.