In the impossibly tough world of French cooking dominated by none other than the French themselves, one Singapore man has emerged in the Lion City to make Singaporeans proud. He cut his teeth with some of the brightest names in French fine-dining institutions including Les Amis in Singapore and Robuchon au Dome in Macau and counts chef Julien Bompard amongst his mentors. But it wasn’t until he debuted within the confines of a black-and-white bungalow in Singapore’s only UNESCO heritage site that we tasted the gloriousness of his potential.
Enter Jason Tan, chef-patron of the one Michelin star-decorated Corner House at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. Tan’s four-year-old restaurant currently ranks No.36 on the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list.
If you’ve tried Tan’s SG50 menu from three years back, you would know that Tan is equally adept at interpreting local flavours, giving them a twist of French refinement and breathing new life to his array of tasting menus with a uniquely Singapore take. While the SG50 menu has come and gone, Tan has created a Peranakan-inspired special OCBC special dish of Bomba Rice for OCBC Gastronomic Adventures. For this dish, he first makes a rempah (spice paste) with the Indonesian black nut, candlenut, galangal, tumeric, lemongrass, shallots and chillies. With the help of potato and butter cream, Tan transforms the rempah into a buah keluak emulsion topped with Japanese chrysanthemum flowers and serves it over a disc of slow-cooked Toretama egg and bomba rice cooked in seaweed stock and burnt capsicum. The result is a heart-warming rice dish that bursts forth with refined yet familiar flavours that are rich, aromatic, spicy and refreshing all at once.
Since the restaurant’s inception, Tan has also been serving “crispy scales” New Zealand blue cod, a dish that has quickly endeared itself to diners alongside the now-famous Cevennes onion signature. Available on the OCBC menu for lunch and dinner, this dish is set apart from the garden variety fish dish by its scales that are fried skin-side to a perfect crisp while its pristine white flesh remains beautifully moist. Served with slices of grilled iberico pork and textures of raw Paris mushrooms and maitake, it arrives enveloped in a rich and heady Shaoxing emulsion that hints, once again, of the chef’s versatility with local flavours. In case you don’t know Shaoxing wine is a traditional fermented wine often used in Chinese cooking but rarely makes an appearance in French kitchens.
Also available on the OCBC menu is the beef course. At lunch, it’s soy caramel glazed Westholme beef cheek served minimalistically with endive and a smidgen of red cabbage puree. By night, he swaps the beef cheek for a slender strip of A4 Toriyama striploin first slow-cooked, then pan-fried in noisette butter and glazed with the same soy caramel. While it arrives but with the same condiments, you get an additional cube of deep-fried veal sweetbread at dinner.
Tan has fielded many different desserts in his time with Corner House and his most iconic yet is “My Interpretation of Kaya Toast”. Harking back to his growing-up days tucking into kaya (coconut jam) toast for breakfast, the dessert – also available on the OCBC menu at lunch and dinner – matches kaya parfait with pineapple sorbet, muscavado sable, pandan snow, buckwheat tuille and gula Melaka cream to create a compelling end, matched only by the ensuing parade of locally inspired petit fours – salted egg macaron, jackfruit mochi and Mao Shan durian roll, etc.
Corner House offers this special OCBC Gastronomic Adventures Menu at lunch for S$148++ (five courses) and dinner for S$238++ (seven courses) from now till 20 November 2018 for OCBC Cardmembers. VOYAGE cardmembers may opt for a five course wine pairing at S$60++ (usual price S$128++) for lunch and a seven-course wine pairing at S$100++ (usual price S$188+) for dinner. Additionally VOYAGE cardmembers are entitled to purchase Henri Boillot, Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Perrieres at $338++ (U.P. $398++) per bottle Domaine Clos Frantin and Vosne Romanee 1er Cru Malconsorts at $338++ (U.P. $398++) per bottle. For more information on OCBC’s exclusively curated menus, visit ocbc.com/gastronomy.con
1 Cluny Road, E J H Corner House, Singapore Botanic Gardend (Nassim Gate Entrance), Singapore 259 569; +65 6469 1000; cornerhouse.com.sg
This post is presented to you in partnership with OCBC
© Evelyn Chen 2013