★ Corner House

My last visit to Singapore Botanic Gardens was eons ago and it was for a dinner in the EJH building (formerly housed Au Jardin). I’m back in the same building again for dinner but the place has since changed hands in 2014. The 2-storey bungalow is now occupied by Corner House, co-own by Renny Heng and Chef Jason Tan. The restaurant made it’s entry into Asia 50 Best Restaurants 2016 and is ranked #17.

As the building was designated as a conservation unit, the layout of the restaurant in the black-and-white bungalow remained largely the same as my previous visit. We were shown to our table at the verandah on the 2nd floor.

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We opted for the Discovery Menu Experience with a wine pairing. Started with a lovely selection of bread and a House-made fish cracker served with creme fraiche & tobiko, followed by Oyster leaf with kam quat and Pickled cucumber with Coconut Sphere. Oyster leaf is undoubtedly one of the newer ingredients often making an appearance in many fine-dining establishments and I love the taste and texture of this unique veg.

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The pickled cucumber was refreshing and appetizing. The last snack before we commence our meal proper was Uni tartar. The beautiful bright orange dish was really fresh and filled with umami goodness.

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Carabinero prawn Variation of best season tomato, vintage sherry, Kristal de Chine caviar paired with Rose was the first course, listed as the stand-out dish of this restaurant by Asia 50 Best Restaurants. The tomatoes were served in different ways with the firm and sweet flesh of the carabinero prawn. The colours pop when plated on the black matt-surfaced serving dish.

The next course was Interpretation of my favourite vegetables Oignon doux des Cevennes. The top quality sweet French onion was done in four ways. There was even a small leaflet presented to explain the various ‘iterations’ of onion which we will be having. This was paired with Sauvignon Blanc.

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Starting with Baked Onion Cup sweet onion purée with sous-vide egg topped with grated black truffle – served in an “onion cup”. The puree was creamy, smooth and rich. We finished every drop of the delectable onion essence~ look at the empty onion cup!

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Next was the Onion Tart Wafer-thin onion tart crowned with onion confit and Parmesan and the almost translucent Onion Chip Thin slice of onion dehydrated for 24 hours then lightly salted.

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Ending with Onion Tea Onion tea with an emulsion of onion confit. Earl grey infused onion tea is poured into the emulsion of onion confit and cream.

After finishing the Onion dishes I was in awe and amazed by the way it was prepared, without prior knowledge that this was the Chef’s Signature dish! It was only later that the staff told us that they had to collect the leaflet to let Chef sign on it before presenting it to us again before we leave the restaurant.

Cuttlefish Chorizo de Iberico, harissa, lemon, fennel, yellow mustard seed paired with Saint Peray “Harmonie”, Domaine Alain Voge, Cornas, France. The thinly sliced cuttlefish resulted in a texture which is different from the stereotyped texture of the mollusc. It has a slight light and airy crunch instead of the chewiness that we usually associated them to be.

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Maine lobster Riso, squid, cider crustacean, bottarga, burnt leek The aroma of the burnt leek added touch of smokiness (akin to “wok hei”) to succulent flesh of the crustacean. Paired with Meursault 1er Cru “Goutte D’or”, Domaine Buisson Charles, Côte de Beaune, France.

French turbot Obsiblue prawn, romansco, ginger, beurre noisette, soya, poultry essence Paired with Pinot noir. The fish is probably my least favourite dish for the night. This dish was prepared Chinese-style, with ginger and soy sauce. The flesh was slightly too mushy for my liking.

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The next protein dish was  Organic lamb “Rhug Estate” Black garlic, beetroot, horseradish, natural jus and was replaced with beef for non lamb eater. We had one of each, the dish was paired with Domaine De Fontbonau, Côte Du Rhône, Southern Rhone, France. The beef has good marbling while the lamb was juicy and tender.

“Chef-inspiration” pre-dessert Sorbet infused with pink guava topped with olive oil caviar.

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Dessert was a local-inspired dish made using Asian ingredients. My kaya toast Pandan, coconut, gula melaka, muscovado sable and pineapple paired with Sauternus. 

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The petits fours are equally representative of Singapore or Asian unique ingredients and cuisine such as Salted egg macaron, Dark Chocolate, Rosemary Madeleine and Jackfruit mochi.  The salted egg macaron and Jackfruit mochi was particularly memorable for me.

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That’s not all, after settling the bill we were presented with 2 take-home gifts. The cookies were so well made that I think they could retail them. Finally just before we leave the restaurant, Chef Jason Tan was at the foyer to present to us the signed copies of the booklet introducing his signature dish Oignon doux des Cevennes. From our short conversation, I felt that Chef was a humble and down-to-earth person despite his accomplishments.

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