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Zén-sational : The Dining Room

Updated: Jan 20, 2019


Chapter 2


Following up on the first post, we took the elevator up to the second floor to start the meal proper. You could also walk up the stairs. It's high-heel friendly and don't worry about unfinished drinks. A friendly server will bring them right up to where you are.


If you're curious as to what I wore to possibly the most expensive restaurant in Singapore, it was insanely casual. T-shirt, blazer, cotton skirt and pink suede sneakers. There was maybe a touch of lip gloss on me, and one of my favorite handbags which the extremely helpful general manager, Aaron Jacobson, helped schlepp it wherever we were in the three-storey shophouse. I have to say that my view and expectations of fine dining did a flip the moment I turned the knob on that front door. I did not expect loud (not noisy blaring) music tracks especially soft rock and popular genre from my time (don't ask when!). And the absence of top-to-toe judgment on what I wore which I am a target of sometimes at overseas establishments for a far cheaper meal ticket. The best part for me was I didn't have to pretend or act like I'm someone else because I do like to laugh out loud, throw a sick joke now and then, and ask "what's this" when it's rather obvious to everyone at the table what it actually is.



Starter #1

Starter #1

Red deer tartare from New Zealand, Zén prestige caviar, finger lime, argan oil, shiso, freshly grated lime zest


It's pretty common to have game meat in Sweden so we got a good taste of it with the deer tartare that's slathered with the restaurant's very own brand of Italian caviar. Less than 5% of caviar in the world bears a golden hue, and yes, this one does, and is preserved in their secret recipe.

Starter #2

Starter #2

Marron from Australia, puffed koshihikari rice, house recipe yuzu kosho, butter ginger emulsion, sansho (kinome)


Yuzu kosho is one of my most favorite condiments on this planet. You will notice that very little carbs are presented in the savory dishes. This plate is an exception, and even so the puffed Japanese rice was light and airy.

Starter #3

Starter #3

Chawanmushi using free range local eggs from Singapore, grilled eel over binchotan, sake-washed ikura, bafun uni from Hokkaido, house recipe pork broth aged for more than 100 days


Fall in love already. Firstly, chawanmushi. Secondly, unagi. Thirdly, plump and creamy bafun uni. Silence fell upon me.

Starter #4

Starter #4

Monkfish in beurre blanc made from vin jaune, oxidised wine from Jura in eastern France, ankimo, sprouted walnuts, white truffles from Alba


The sauce and WHITE TRUFFLES FROM ALBA! We may be at the tail end of truffle season, hence a solid reason to heap them over the fish.


Talk about decadence and feeling all kinds of rich. The 24-seater restaurant felt so intimate. Our table for two had a wooden counter attached to it so that all our a la minute dishes could be finished off in front of us and served fresh.


As you can see here, the ingredients line-up is nothing short of spectacular. And we hadn't even gotten to the mains!

Main Course #1

Main Course #1

*PREVIEW* Yukimuro (igloo) 60-days aged beef, kabu or turnip (many variations), wasabi


So I've come this far in the meal, and I did notice that the portion control on every plate was excellent. I felt satisfied without keeling over. It was also a nice surprise to try a dish that's not on the actual menu yet, but is scheduled to be included by end month. Japanese wagyu beef that has been aged in a snow house for 45 days, and aged a little more when it arrived here, is paired with many variations of turnips - fermented turnips (sliced and rolled), white turnip puree finished with wasabi, and dried turnips infused into the beef jus, and a little squeeze of lemon in that jus. The flavors are intensified when the beef is aged for approximately 60 days (once it hits 90 days, it's just funky), but paired with the fermented turnips or kabu, the latter comes on too strong with the acidity. But the gorgeous meat slices just melted in the mouth and their beefy boldness worked well with the creamy turnip puree spiked with wasabi.

Main Course #1 / 2

Reminding me of the restaurant's Swedish roots is the prelude to the dish, a display of a dozen hunting / steak knives with handles handpainted by a Swedish artist. I was free to choose any which one to wield and conquer when the meat arrived.

Main Course #2

Main Course #2

*SIGNATURE* French Toast "grande tradition", consomme a la truffe


I've never been to Frantzen, but they tell me that this is THE SIGNATURE dish that both restaurants share in Sweden and Singapore. Check out this video HERE. Sourdough bread dipped in cream, egg, truffle oil , and balsamic vinegar. Then pumped with caramelized onions, Vacca Rossa parmesan curd piped on top, balsamic vinegar aged in a juniper cask for 35 years. and a blizzard of Perigord black truffles. Need I say more?


Main Course #2 / 2

Main Course #2 /3

It had really begun to sink in that the warm hospitality, exquisite tableware, amazing produce, convivial atmosphere and well-orchestrated menu are carving a new standard of world-class fine dining in this country.


Next up, dessert.


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