I attended the inaugural Savour Singapore gourmet fair held at the F1 Paddock and Pit Building near the Singapore Flyer last night.
This is how the event worked – Each admission ticket came with Savour dollars which could be used to purchase sample portions of dishes by 16 local and international celebrity chefs. The ticket also included admission on a first-come-first-served basis to various masterclasses, cooking demonstrations and culinary workshops, which I am unable to comment on as we decided not to attend any. There was also an exhibition of gourmet products.
The place was surprisingly less crowded than I’d expected, nowhere near the crowds at your River Hongbao Chinese New Year carnival or even perhaps your friendly heartland shopping mall during the weekends, so it was pretty easy finding a standing or sitting spot at one of the ample tables scattered around.
Before going, I’d done some research and identified a few must-tries. Naturally, those included dishes from 3 Michelin star Alain Passard’s french restaurant (with an emphasis on vegetables) L’Arpege in Paris and 2 Michelin star Alvin Leung’s innovative chinese restaurant Bo Innovation in Hong Kong.
To cut to the chase, I left the event feeling slightly disappointed about the quality of food. In all fairness, I am no gourmand so perhaps my tastes veer towards the bourgeoisie. Also, I highly suspect that the quality in the actual restaurants would be better when food is not prepared in a seemingly factory assembly line manner. To further caveat, these are really just my personal opinions and observations so I could be wrong, or just belonging to the minority.
This is what I had:
1. Alain Passard’s L’Arpege in France (3 Michelin Stars, S. Pellegrino World’s 19th Best Restaurant 2011) – Chaud Froid of Egg with maple syrup and xeres vinegar: I was hoping to be blown away (Who wouldn’t when you pay S$18 for an egg?) but found Passard’s signature dish served in half an emptied egg shell mediocre at best, tasting like an ordinary poached egg yolk topped with a sourish creme fraiche emulsion.
2. Alvin Leung’s Bo Innovation in Hong Kong (2 Michelin Stars, S. Pellegrino World’s 64th Best Restaurant 2011) – Molecular Xiao Long Bao: I popped the bite-sized Xiao Long Bao into my mouth and eagerly bit down onto the thin skinless ravioli outer coating. The juice which filled my mouth did not bear any resemblance to the Xiao Long Baos I’d eaten and tasted more like a mildly-seasoned corn starch soup. All in all, it left me feeling bewildered.
3. Alvin Leung’s Bo Innovation in Hong Kong – Har Mei Lo Mein with har mei oil and powder: This dish of dry noodles coated with the oil and grounded powder of dried shrimp was decent and savoury enough, probably one of the better dishes I tried.
4. Gunther Hubrechsen’s Gunther’s in Singapore (S. Pellegrino Chef of the Year 2009 and S. Pellegrino World’s 84th Best Restaurant 2010) - Cold Angel Hair Pasta, with Oscietra caviar. A self-explanatory dish which was pretty good, although I found the use of truffle oil to be a little heavy-handed.
5. Sasha Kutuzova’s Buyan in Singapore – Medovik Russian honey cake. This dessert tasted like a normal layer cake sandwiched with honey and condensed milk and didn’t leave much of an impression on me.
6. Tatiana Szeles’ BOA Bistro in Sao Paolo – Chocolate Brigadeiro Truffle candy with cupuaçu. I found Szeles’ gooey liquid take on this classic Brazilian dessert to be quite refreshing and interesting, with a topping of nuts and some kind of fruit.
Would I attend the event again if it returns next year? I’m not sure, really. Perhaps if I get a free ticket or some of my favourite chefs are present. Otherwise, I may just save the money and have a comfortable sit-down meal at a decent restaurant instead.
Savour Singapore 2012