Published on Monday, 17 April 2017 00:00
Written by Cheryl Teo Kai Lin
A bespoke feast tailored exactly to an individual’s preferences with an artful approach to its presentation is what Chef’s Table offers as a unique and memorable dining experience, perfect for romantic dates and for celebrating special occasions to create lifelong memories.
Numbered 61 along the stretch of shophouses on Tras Street, Chef’s Table has a minimalistic sleek exterior; a white-washed shop-front with a crystal-clear glass door that gives passersby a peek into the wondrous kitchen of Chef Stephan Zoisl, where he works his magic.
The interior is cozy and homely, yet sophisticated and chic with an open concept layout and a full view of the kitchen that conveys the illusion of stepping into a giant kitchen in someone’s extremely posh house where you are the dinner guest.
Cookbooks, bottles of wine and pots of herbs line the wooden shelves located on the left, giving a domestic vibe to the restaurant, while on the right, a seemingly weather-worn, rainbow-hued brick wall adds a spunky character to the place.
The seating arrangements only feature high tables with comfortable cushioned high stools. This is integral to the dining experience as each course is personally served by the chefs themselves and they will like to explain each item in the intricate dish with their guests at eye level in a comfortable conversational manner in order to make their guests feel welcomed.
The extraordinary gastronomical concept starts off with a list of 28 key ingredients with the choice of a 4-course meal priced at $98, a 6-course meal priced at $128 and an 8-course meal priced at $150, with an option to make it a savory feast for just an additional $10.
Run through the list of ingredients provided and simply circle the items that you would like to be featured in your feast and strike off those that you would refrain from. You can also ask the extremely accommodating staff to run you through the ingredients and recommend items.
Some of the ingredients available to us during the day of our tasting included highly prized prime choices such as foie gras, hamachi, hokkaido scallop, lobster, wagyu beef, iberico pork, barbary duck, and maguro just to name a few. The list of premium ingredients is changed on a day-to-day basis depending on the freshness and availability of seasonal produce.
Chef Stephan only showcases the best seasonal ingredients obtainable, so you can rest assure that the quality of your dishes are of utmost superiority. After selecting your favorite ingredients, the chefs will then start concocting a very special and palatial feast exclusive to your tastebuds. Just sit back, relax, sip at your wine and allow Chef’s Table to whisk you away on a magical gastronomical adventure full of delightful flavor sensations.
Our first course was a beautifully constructed carpaccio, blooming with a kaleidoscopic range of colors, tastes and textures. This edible little flower garden was both aesthetically and gastronomically charming. It featured three slices of hamachi (yellowtail) sashimi doused in tare sauce and parsley oil with dollops of avocado purée scattered sparingly around, and garnished with dehydrated sago seed crisps, pickled cucumbers, cucumber flowers, and pea blossoms.
Tare sauce is a thickened sweet soy sauce typically used for grilling in Japanese cuisine, however the light drizzle of the parsley oil thinned out the tare, incorporating a very mellow, sweet and refreshing buttery composition that complements the sashimi, allowing the natural flavors of the hamachi to shine through.
The yellowtail itself was harvested at the peak of its growth, which is from December to February, when the fish gorges itself on seafood to store as much fat in their flesh as possible for energy to bear the cold waters. The hamachi served at Chef’s Table carried an extremely high fat content, its flesh was a translucent whitish-pink, and was so incredibly soft, succulent and creamy that it melted from the heat in our mouths to a deliciously sweet viscosity. The avocado purée intensified the creaminess of the fish while giving a refreshingly green after-taste to balance out the richness.
The dehydrated crisps of sago seeds, that resembled styrofoam, gave a much needed contrasting crunch to the dish that rapidly disintegrated on our tongues, while the edible flowers yielded a floral-sweetness that cleansed the palette.
Foie Gras Cannelloni
This has got to be one of the most innovative and unique ways to enjoy foie gras, and also what we would assume to be an extremely painstaking task to assemble. Foie gras mousse was whipped to a light and fluffy consistency and encased within a thin layer of nashi pear, sliced as fine as a piece of membrane.
The foie gras mousse was rich and creamy, yet airy and delicate with a velvety texture. The fragile nashi pear membrane still had the crisp, juicy crunch of pears despite its thinness, and a fruity sweetness which lightened the creaminess of the foie gras mousse. Beetroot reduction and coffee powder topped the foie gras cannelloni, which gave the dish a bitter-sweet, cherry-like tannin almost similar to red wine. Sugary beetroot meringue served along the side administered a surprising pop of sweetness.
Tantalizing braised in brown butter, a thick cut of halibut seductively laid on a bed of creamy parsley risotto, in a bath of saffron sauce, beckoned us to partake in its delicious snowy white flesh. The halibut was saturated in its own juices as we dug into it, it was immensely tender and moist with roasted nutty flavors as a result of being braised in brown butter. The flesh broke away in large, buttery flakes and despite its firm texture, the delicately sweet fish had a melt-in-the-mouth effect.
The halibut steak was topped with Oscietra caviar, one of the most expensive types of caviar in the world produced by a special Russian sturgeon species. These prized black pearls delivered a crisp texture with a nutty and buttery pop of flavor. They burst in our mouths with creaminess and a salty hint of the sea, perfectly complementing the mild flavors of the halibut.
The saffron sauce created a wafting perfumed aroma around the dish, with a mellow honey-like sweetness that went along with both the fish and risotto. The parsley risotto was a nice touch that set the ideal balance for the dish; the ever-green and refreshing after-taste of the parsley prevented the creamy risotto from overwhelming the tastebuds.
Black chips that paneled the sides of the halibut were an ingenious mix of squid ink and potato that added a light crispy texture when crumbled into the risotto with a slightly briny zing.
The fourth course was a sexy marriage of two different types of lamb. Packed with an explosion of hearty, full-bodied flavors, this comforting dish featured a fried lamb shoulder ball, lamb sweetbread, tomatoes, olives, artichoke, celeriac cream and okinawan spinach.
The fried lamb shoulder ball had a thin and crispy exterior, while the minced meat inside was soft and moist with a rich, earthy taste. The chunks of lamb sweetbread were actually the ones that stole the show. Sweetbread is not actually bread, the lamb sweetbread in question here is an organ meat from the thymus gland and pancreas. The little white nuggets of lamb sweetbread burst with the natural savory, floral, earthy, nutty, and sweet juices that was stored in its flesh. They topped the charts at being some of the most delicious offals we have ever eaten, comparable to pan-seared foie gras. It had a sweet and creamy flavor with an exceptionally silky, tender and moist texture that rapidly dissipated on the tongue with barely a chew.
The tomatoes, olives and artichoke provided a zesty, briny and tangy sourness to the hearty dish. The celeriac cream was a sublimely rich sauce that added a velvety creaminess to the dish, while the okinawan spinach was deep-fried to a crisp and seasoned with salt.
Beef Flank Steak & Braised Beef Cheek
These two different cuts of beef were chosen for how each of them tasted worlds apart from each other despite being derived from the same animal.
Flank steak is a cut from the abdominal muscles of a cow. The meat from a flank steak is fibrous and carries tons of intense beefy flavors. The flank steak served at Chef's Table was imbued with globs of beef fat running through the grain, reminiscent of a well-marbled sirloin.
The beef cheek was braised for 48 painstaking hours, which resulted in a divine melt-in-the-mouth texture, the meat simply disintegrated on our tongues like a mouthful of extremely delicious and flavorful beefy butter that is slightly viscous and sticky from the abundance of collagen found in the cheek portion.
Slices of springy king oyster mushroom are paired with the beef. They exploded with juices as we bit into them.
The light sauce spooned over the two portions of beef were made from red wine and beef stock, delicate, yet extremely full-bodied and savory in profile.
A dollop of roasted cauliflower crème is served by the side; rich, creamy and packed with a huge peppery kick, which added a whole new flavor evolution when eaten with the beef.
Chocolate & Raspberry
The marriage of chocolate and raspberry have always been a thing of wonder. The harmonious bitter-sweet taste of chocolate pairs so perfectly with the sharp tanginess of raspberries like two matching pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. This decadent dessert is composed of a fluffy chocolate sponge cake, chocolate ganache infused with earl grey tea, chocolate meringue crisps, raspberry sorbet, raspberry foam, and fresh raspberries. The sweet, bitter, sour, fruity, fresh, aromatic, and malty medley of flavors of the gourmet dessert ended our night on an extremely gratifying note.
Address: 61 Tras St, Singapore 079000
Hours: Tues – Sat 6pm – 12 midnight
Tel.: +65 6224 4188