Although only really the second day of the trip, this was the big one in terms of meals out and boy did it deliver!
From the moment I found them, which took a question to a nearby restaurant, everything was spot on, the service, food, wine, surprises and general sense of being looked after.
It will be hard to go through in detail the various dishes and wines, so the descriptions may be a bit short, but there was not one thing I could say needed to change or be improved.
Zen is the Singapore sister to Frantzen in Stockholm, which I went to last September, and the theme carries from Sweden over to Singapore, but things are done in a more Singapore way.
The only real decision I had to make all evening was which champagne to choose, which was actually quite easy, the one I did not know and therefore not tried before and what a perfect way to kick off.
This was accompanied by a delicious array of snacks, some of which I have had at Frantzen and they definitely were equally as good.
- Beer Poached Crustacean, smetana & wild trout roe
- Vendance roe from Kalimna ‘Raraka’
- Celeriac, nutmeg & black truffle
- Green asparagus, spiced brilliant Savarin
- Onion Veloute, almond & liquorice
I will not go in to too much detail on the experience, but it is fantastic to speak to the chefs, including a good long chat with the head chef, Tristin Farmer. Such a good time and that was all before the meal actually started!
I was then led upstairs to the main dining area by Yelicia, who was looking after me, along with the rest of the team, for the evening. Getting settled in to my table I was full of expectation for a great dinner and I was not disappointed in the slightest!
I was really looking forward to seeing how the Singapore influence would play out on the Frantzén food, but also how the wines would be paired with the dishes.
Kicking off with the Crudo: Zen prestige Caviar, red Deer, Arman Oil & Shinzo was paired with Sake, which I love as a food pairing. This was Gohyakumangkou, Tengumai, Ymahai Jikomi, from Ishikawa. I really know nothing about Sake but love experiencing it. This was incredibly complex on both the nose and the pallet, unique and quite creamy on the pallet, what a way to start.
Next up was Marron, “Miyazaki” Style, with butter emulsion and sansho. This came with the stunningly good pairing of the Lucien Le Moine, Corton Grand Cru, Bourgogne (2008). The Chardonnay worked perfectly with the dish, but especially the smokey element of it.
The Kinmedai, Koshikari Rice, Sea Urchin, Matsutake, Vin Jaune was something new. Not sure I have tried anything that included Sea Urchin before and it was delicious as a dish, but what really made it was the paired Orange Wine, J&F Ganevat, Le Zuane a Dedee from Jura (2015). I am a big fan of orange wine and always enjoy trying them, but this was the best ever I have had. A very interesting combination of Gewürztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc, which is not one I have come across (knowingly) before.
Next came the Chawanmushi, King Crab, Ramson, Foie Gras & Pork Dashi with another Sake. So different to the first, with a hint of bakers yeast on the nose, but it was very complex and utterly delicious, the Omachi, Amabuki, Junmai Gingo Himawari from Kyushu
And then the first meat dish, for which I had chosen my own design of knife to use. The Quail BBQ, Fermented & Poached Kabu and Wasabi was amazingly good and paired with a superb Pinot Noir, the Domaine De L’Arlot, Nuits St George (2008)
Then a dish I have had before in Frantzen, the French Toast “Grande Tradition”, Consomme a La Truffle. This is something I could have on a very regular basis and just love the decadence of the truffle, but it is just so delicious, especially with the Verdelho, Barbeito 10 year Old Reserve Madeira, heaven!
It was now time to start to move in to something a little sweeter with the Sea Buckthorn Sorbet, See Lettuce, Blue & Green Tea with the best Tokaji I have had, Harslevelu & Furmint – Hetszolo – Tokaji 5 Puttonyos – Tokaj (2008)
Then it was time for some fun and fire with the Salted Hokkaido Milk Ice Cream, Wild Strawberries, Waffles. Really good to see some flambé action.
What a delicious end to the meal especially with the second portion of waffles! But wait, this was not the end, there was more, but before that it was time to head to the Living Room for a bit of a chill out.
It was great to have a bit of a nose at the wine fridge and drool a little over some of the bottles. This was before the night got even more special.
But before the special treat for me there was time for another first, an aged Grappa, where has this been all my life? Grappa can be a little harsh, to say the least, but this was amazingly smooth and delicious.
This was followed by another Sake, the Hitomibore – Katsuyama – Yodan Jikomi – Miyagi, which was delivered with a special treat for me, a lovely little birthday cake. Such a good surprise and having this with a selection of sweet treats, which included the Haruke Golden Apples & Cloudberry Cobbler, Tonka and then finally the selection of sweets, Kumquat, Yumenoka Strawberry, Grilled Pineapple, Musk Melon, Cherry. This was in addition to the Pistachio Macaron, Matcha and Shiro Miso!
Wow, what a meal, what an evening and what a great place. Not only with the food and drinks, but the people. Starting with the good long chat with Tristin to sitting down at the end and shooting the breeze with Aaron (the Wine Director and GM) and Yelicia who had been great with all the food and drink, as was everyone else.
Could I have asked for a better night? No. Did I leave with a huge smile on my face? Yes! I suspect that on the walk back to the hotel people were wondering what I was so happy about, a huge grin on my face.
Mr Smith dined on the 20th February 2019
41 Bukit Pasoh Rd, Singapore 089855
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