Gastro-Art at Restaurant Labyrinth
My journey to the Restaurant Labyrinth began through Instagram, just like any other food journey. I first saw the photo of Chef Han’s twist on my much loved Singapore Chili Crab and made a booking at the restaurant shortly after.
Restaurant Labyrinth can be found at the Esplanade Mall as soon as you exit the lift on the 2nd floor. It was located in the quiet area of the mall which added to the air of calmness and mystery of each food that was presented.
There are two different dining experiences on offer for dinner which are “Discovery” and “Experience”. In the latter, customers will be served 9 courses of gastro-art made in the Kitchen Lab of Chef Han. We opted for the Discovery menu with 6 courses which gave us the additional Hainanese Curry Rice.
Before I delve into the food, I have to commend each staff member, who introduced the different types of food presented to us. They were very professional and friendly at the same time.
6 COURSES DISCOVERY MENU
We started with the Street Snacks of Radish Cake, Dehydrated Pandan with Kaya Butter, Rojak and very smooth Nasi Lemak that was served in the Rantang or metal food carrier. I really like the smooth Nasi Lemak that was served like Chwee Kueh with sambal and anchovies as toppings. The savoury radish cake had a crispy edge and was very fragrant, it looked just like a toasty marshmallow.
The next Amuse Bouche that we had was the most beautiful keropok / prawn crackers that was injected with squid ink. This keropok was topped with mayo chili and beautiful orange fish roe and edible flower petal.
BAK CHOR MEE
Bak Chor Mee is a popular local dishes and I usually love the distinct flavour of the chili and sourness that comes from vinegar. The Neo-Sin’s version was noodle created from the squid skin served together with anchovies in the shape of minced meat and Hokkaido Scallop that looks like a fish cake. It was a miniature version of Bak Chor Mee that you could find in the local street market. You need to mix everything together to get the best flavour. This cute looking Bak Chor Mee was served on a small bowl with rooster on it, a popular bowl that brought out nostalgic feelings of eating street food during my childhood period.
HAINANESE CURRY RICE
The miniature forest with bird ness and quail egg looked very magical when the staff served it in front of me. The green moss looked very delicate and who could guess that it was made from coriander. The white clay that covered the potato was imported from Spain, the ‘black rock’ minced chicken was very delicious and everything was put on the bed of quinoa curry. Again, it’s very important to mix in all the elements to gain the true flavour. This was simply my favourite dish of the night, in terms of look as well as the strong spicy flavour that it gave.
SINGAPORE CHILI CRAB
This was the dish that took my breath away when I saw it on Instagram, so I was very excited about it. The chili ice cream was delicious, even when eaten by itself! It was moreover really delicious when mixed together with the soft shell crab. Presentation of each dish really mattered and it showed from the choice of plates that the restaurant used. This dish was presented on a light blue plate that resembled the sea, covered with mantou sand, some caviar, seaweed and foamy crab bisque.
Hubby was really concerned about the size of the beef when he saw the ‘80g’ next to the menu but he was surprised that the beef was quite big. The Wagyu Ribeye was cooked medium rare, served with gnocchi (onion), satay espuma and rice cakes. The rice cakes in this case was peanut mocha which was skilfully wrapped in banana leaves. The beef was perfectly cooked and with the exact amount of layered fat to make it so enjoyable.
The fish of the day was red garoupa with a hidden lobster claw served in the Teochew broth. This dish really reminded me of seafood gumbo although not as thick and heavy. The broth was quite light, filled with seafood flavour and mushroom. I found it best when I mixed the broth with the cooked tomato that was provided so it gave the tangy fresh flavour onto the mix.
NEW ITEM: MINI APPLE TOFFEE
Chef Han came out from his kitchen and said hi to us. Not only that, he also brought out a surprising new item that will only be released in early April. It deceivingly looked like a mini apple toffee.
Our palate cleanser was a refreshing house-made pinapple sorbet and I joked to the staff that one spoon wasn’t enough to clean our palate (hahaha).
CHENDOL Xiao Long Bao (XLB)
I want more of the Chendol XLB, it was a good start to dessert and the staff was so nice that she helped me take a pour shot by pouring the gula melaka slowly on top of the XLB. For a small item, it was quite rich since it has all the elements of chendol such as red bean, shaved ice and jellies.
The staff playfully asked whether we smoke or drink before he carried out two ashtray filled with a cigar on each. On the other hand, he gave us a glass of Cognac. It was a peanut butter covered with dark chocolate and the Cognac was the refreshing Earl Grey tea.
Now the question on people’s mind will usually be ‘is it worth the money that I paid for’. For me, it was really worth it especially when you consider the creativity, mixture of ingredients, presentation and passion that went into each dish.
I had a very enjoyable night at Restaurant Labyrinth and so excited that they will add some new menu items soon. I went to the kitchen to thank Chef Han for his delicious food and to tell him that he needs to do a pop up dining in Perth… or I should just visit Singapore again.