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Fine Dining I Favour

Fine Dining I Favour

When you feel like spoiling yourself, these are great places to try.
Veronica Phua
Veronica Phua
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Like fashion that has shrugged off autumn and winter’s deep hues and the cocooning warmth of rich wools to breeze around in spring’s ethereal floatiness and pretty colours, Spago too has left the deeper, richer flavour facets of the past season to bounce into the present one with new creations such as the dish pictured above.
Found on both the 7-course dinner tasting menu ($175++ per person) and a la carte menu ($32++), this gorgeousness features seasonal white asparagus with big chunks of sweet Maine lobster, springy bamboo clams and ripe mangoes. As wondrous as the crisp clean and bright flavours of these exceedingly fresh ingredients are, cloak them in the accompanying light coconut cream and you’ll be transported via that kaffir lime oil-scented and stealthily spicy velvet sauce into a different Thai-mension (pun completely intended 😊).

When you want to eat healthy but you #baller too.
This colourful Cobb Salad would tick both of those boxes effortlessly as it has fresh and juicy chunks of Maine lobster gracing it. Also, applewood-smoked bacon, crumbled bits of blue cheese, egg white “caviar”, egg yolk, avocado, haricot vert, salad leaves and baby tomatoes. The dressing, served in a little jug, is a thick balsamic vinaigrette.
Healthy and hearty, it is perfect for when you can’t afford a post-lunch food coma.

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So I finally deviated from my usual for my choice of main course at Spago, and opted for the Pan Roasted Organic Chicken instead.
Little did I know it was going to be huge (can you believe that’s only half a chicken on my plate?!), have freshly shaved black truffle scattered over, and be sitting in a pool of the tastiest chicken jus with wild mushrooms. As delicious and essential to the chicken as that jus was, the golden-brown skin was for me, the most gasp-worthy part of this dish. It was cooked to a sublime crisp.
I couldn’t ask for a better accompaniment than the buttery Yukon Golden potato purée finished with more black truffle that was served alongside in a separate little dish.

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Having had the excellent value-for-money set lunch menu every time we have been here, it was decided that we’d order from the a la carte menu today instead. And boy, did it leave us impressed.
The four of us picked a dish each but ended up sharing the lot so we could try all the items.
Personally I found the Pan Roasted Organic Chicken ($42++) and Grilled Iberico Pork Chop ($45++) the tastiest of the lot. The serving for the latter was huge even though it was only half a chicken, and the chicken jus served with it, was incredible.

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Hallelujah to Chef Wolfgang Puck’s grandmother for it is her recipe that is the inspiration behind the divine Kaiserschmarren we get to dive into at Spago Singapore today.
If you love soufflés and pancakes, this Austrian dessert is pretty much a hybrid of the two at my guesstimated ratio of 80:20.
It is baked fresh to order and arrives steaming hot to be served table-side. A plate with a lovely housemade strawberry ice-cream, warm strawberries in a sauce and crunchy caramelised almond flakes is set in front of each guest. And onto every plate is scooped a big cloud of the fabulous vanilla-scented, airy-light fluffiness. For ultimate enjoyment, make sure to get a bit of everything in a bite.
Honestly, I never tire of the Kaiserschmarren. In fact, I am pretty sure I have eaten it on every single one of my visits to Spago.

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The large, very fresh lobster was smothered in a lip-smacking rich sauce that was both creamy and bright. If you feel like splurging on a piece of crustacean that won’t disappoint, this would be a good bet.

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Potato and caviar. Not a combination you see everyday but oh my goodness, does it work beautifully. Those briny pops grab hold of the ultra soft potato and take it for a spin on the spark machine.
If you happen to see it on the menu, I suggest ordering it pronto.

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Meta has desserts wonderful to the point of distraction, thanks to Pastry Chef Maira Yeo. Being able to sit at the counter and banter with the vivacious and confident young chef is a bonus. My foodie friend Szeliang and I did just that when we dined there last week. And we couldn’t resist shooting her a bunch of questions, to which she replied easily, breezily with a big dose of charm. None of this distracted her in any way from her craft. During the entire time, the desserts she prepared for us, as well as those for the other guests, were nothing short of perfect.
Because one dessert is too pedestrian (haha) for Szeliang and I, we ended up having two.
The first, something so new it wasn’t officially on the menu yet, was a dreamy off-white creation of compressed dashi pear, amazake cream, pear sorbet, sake ice-cream, a disc of pressed granita, finished with finely grated Buddha’s palm fruit. For me, it was love at first bite. The marriage of delicacy and depth in this was flawless.
Our second desserts differed.
For him, Chef Maira caramelised wedges of sweet, juicy Australian peach, then dressed it with pickled ginger, mint salsa, vanilla cream jelly and a quenelle of lemon ice-cream peppered with banana powder. Of course I stole a bite, and of course it was amazing.
For me, she served a favourite of Meta’s Chef-owner Sun Kim, the “Gochujang Choco”. Daring yet remarkably balanced, it was composed of chocolate ice-cream, wild rice puffs coated in the spicy Korean sauce, the fluffiest pillows of green tea sponge and
black sesame. Eating this dessert had my brain perplexed in the funnest way as it processed the unlikely flavour combinations but I enjoyed it very much.
The petit fours, also by Chef Maira, were a carrot cake madeleine and a mini Mont Blanc macaron. I found the former very fragrant with just the right amount of cinnamon and the latter, I considered one the most scrumptious to have ever passed between my lips.

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H O S T E D
All the desserts at the spanking new @restaurant.table65 seem to have a certain wow factor.
Led by Pastry Chef Jurgis (Instagram: @herbs.n.spices) who has worked with owner-chef Richard (@rvanoostenbrugge) for years in Amsterdam, the team dazzled us during the media tasting with not one but three desserts. One of them is this “Chocolate Balloon” which opens up neatly like a flower blooming, once the hot chocolate is poured over it.
Lest you think it is purely eye candy (pun intended), let me assure you the beauty here is more than skin deep. The dark chocolate which forms the balloon, is elegance on the palate, and happens to pair exceedingly well with the savoury elements of miso and ice-cream hidden inside.

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Here’s what I learned from the praise-worthy pasta that my friends Angeline and Milly ordered: Preserved lemon juice is nothing like the juice from an ordinary lemon.
The sharpness and acidity is blunted but the taste develops into something broader and wonderfully complex. It is the backbone of the luscious sauce that coats this plate of handmade spagettini, sea urchin, small cubes of clean-tasting Patagonian toothfish and shavings of “heart of palm”, festooned with shiso flowers.
In summary, a beautifully executed dish that’s light but not at all common or simple. Which makes it the ideal choice if you are after a less heavy main course in the weekday 4-course set lunch ($55++) offered at Preludio.

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M E D I A T A S T I N G
One of my favourites from the menu was this course.
It had arrived looking mysterious and enthralling because all that was visible on the plate was a single, large, ripply and shimmery “cloud”. But a couple of taps with a spoon revealed it to be a paper-thin cracker fabricated from ground jasmine rice. With the shattering of the pure white crunchiness, a jumble of colours broke free. Here was the vividly-flavoured mix of smoked eel, lampascioni bulb, heliantis, crosnes, chanterelle mushrooms, salty fingers and viola flowers that had been lying in wait to spring its deliciousness upon the unsuspecting. I loved this element of surprise but what was more unforgettable was the taste of the dish.

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Part 3 of 3.
In the Swedish tradition of “Fika” where the hustle and bustle of daily routine is paused for the enjoyment of warm cake and coffee, we too had our “Fika” moment on the top floor of Zén, where we were ushered to after finishing our meal on level two.
Once my friend Tim and I were settled into a sofa in the chic, stylish space—honestly, this floor looked like something straight out of the pages of Wallpaper magazine—Beverage Manager Aaron pushed over an overachiever of a tea trolley to serve Tim the final drink in his non-alcoholic pairing. Head Chef Tristin then appeared, bearing a piping hot Pineapple Tarte Tartine. Its dizzyingly fragrant aroma had me thinking instantly of our local pineapple tarts. Taste-wise, despite a crispy and flaky base, I felt it wasn’t far from them either. Zén’s version did come lavished with a black miso glaze which gave it a sexy look and a savoury edge.
What took us by complete surprise though was how after we had eaten only half of it, a brand new Pineapple Tarte Tartine was brought out as a replacement. But even in my gobsmacked state, I was only too eager to dig in for seconds. Because when it’s eaten fresh from the oven, the scrumptiousness was at its peak.

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Can't cook to save my life but boy, can I eat! 😄 (I pay for all my meals unless otherwise stated)

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