|New-to-Singapore chef Luke Armstrong now helms the kitchen|
Dinner Menu: 5-course set menu (S$145++); 8-course tasting menu (S$188++)
Barely half a year after snagging a Michelin star for The Kitchen at Bacchanalia (“Bacchanalia”), chef Ivan Brehm has handed over the kitchen reins to Australian-born chef Luke Armstrong last December. Armstrong debuts in Singapore with a strong track record, having trained in Michelin-starred restaurants in London and Holland like Pied a Terre, The Ledbury and Oud Sluis; he was also the one-time head chef of Maze.
Drawing his inspiration from contemporary French, Armstrong’s cuisine is light, refreshing and often invigorating. From his more extensive eight-course tasting menu, each dish is well thought-out to incorporate complementing, if agreeable, flavours that are decidedly uplifting. His use of citrusy flavours in the opening courses is a tour de force – yuzu makes an appearance with buttermilk snow, crème fraiche and truffle strips in the chef’s East-meets-West take on Hokkaido scallop ceviche served in a slurp-worthy soy dressing; kaffir lime arrives as dollops of liquid gel with jalapeno crème and avocado alongside a mound of Hamachi tartare; while pomelo pulps are matched with crones, delicate foie gras snow and baby artichoke en barigoule. Armstrong is not a one trick pony, he demonstrates culinary savoir faire in his execution of monkfish, an easy fish to turn diners off with its tough almost rubbery texture but this young chef cooks it like a meat, sealing in its juice with a quick sear and finishing it at the salamander (what goes on in between is a mystery). The result is a firm yet moist fish with a lustrous sheen, beautifully paired with Zeeland mussels, mizuna (Japanese mustard) mayonnaise and risoni pasta. His roasted grass fed tenderloin, served in a rustic French preparation complete with a drizzle of mellow thyme jus studded with globs of bone marrow, is impeccable and lovingly devoured, even if its one of the final items to appear. From the first course to the last, Armstrong exhibits a heightened sensitivity to management of flavours, tending towards clean flavours, an uncluttered style and, at times, a skew towards bursts of citrus notes.
Like the cuisine, the kitchen is proudly borderless and located curiously at the eatery’s entrance, sharing the narrow space with the elongated dining room. Befitting the intimate space, the small wine list champions indigenous grape varietals from smaller producing wine regions.
39 Hong Kong Street, Singapore 059 678; +65 9179 4552; bacchanalia.asia
© Evelyn Chen 2013
Please note that the reviews published on this blog are sometimes hosted. I am under no obligation to review every restaurant I’ve visited. If I do, the reviews are 100% my own.