The Number One rule in my life (as should be the number one rule in your life), is to put everything on hold, cancel all plans, fly back to Dubai, breach your contracts, quit your job, and do whatever it takes to NEVER miss an opportunity to dine at The Experience by Reif Othman. If you’ve ever had a meal there, you’ll understand, and if you haven’t, then (a) you haven’t truly lived and (b) you need to just take my word for it and (c) make a reservation already, geez.
When I was invited to the Chef’s Konnect – Singapore Sling Part 1, brought to us by WGkonnect, Monviso, Lavazza, IRC, Rational and Promar, I was fleet of foot to accept. You need to understand, I didn’t even check my calendar, because nothing could possibly be better than this!
The Singapore Sling Part 1 was the coming together of two avant-garde styled chefs, to take us on a culinary journey that would combine the cooking styles of Reif Othman and Rishi Nolendra into one cohesive, harmonious menu. Each course was alternated by each chef, but the meal was in no way disjointed and came together beautifully.
I walked into the loft-like space housing the famous U-shaped, 12-seater dining table, giddy with excitement, and beaming with pride at the sight of Monviso water bottles (who I am proudly the brand ambassador for, for the next one year).
My heels clicked with joy when I saw the bread baskets and the nori butter that is as iconic to The Experience as the caviar (which you’ll read about later) is.
The meal started with a course by Rishi Nolendra, arefreshing oyster topped with smoked tomato granita! I’m no fan of oysters, but this one went down easy! Smoked tomato granita! Who would’ve thought!
The next course was the (possibly everyone’s most favorite item at The Experience by Reif Othman), was the mind-blowing caviar course. I’ve talked about this before, but this French caviar is exclusively available only at The Experience by Reif Othman, and I can assure you this might just be the absolute best caviar you will ever have! Nestled atop buttery smooth cauliflower puree, and topped with the sparse sprinkling of puffed rice, this little tin of absolute bliss will make your eyes roll to the back of your head with every single spoonful.
We then enjoyed a delicate crab salad with pickled squash tarragon, and crab broth, courtesy of Rishi Naleendra. The crab broth had so much depth, and they layers on layers of flavors were truly stunning. From the sweet pulled apart crab meat, to the bursts of freshness from the finely chopped mint, to the rich sweetness from the squash and the cream, this was one hearty soup.
The next plate was called “Ocean”, and presented on a blue hand-blown glass plate, we had an assortment of delicacies from -you guessed it- under the sea. I started off with the seaweed and yuzu toro tartare, followed by the scallop with capellini noodles, and worked my way up to the langoustine and charcoal-leek-spring onion crisp with a roasted Romanesco and almond cherry vinegar sauce! This plate was a pure celebration of good ingredients, with minimal guise of spices but optimum marriage of flavors.
While we were savoring one delicious course after another, a very familiar and pleasant face walked in, creating quite the excited (albeit hushed) commotion. It was none other than Chef Heinz Beck! This is my second time meeting him in person, and is so incredibly humble that you could never tell he has 3 Michelin stars uncle his belt just from meeting him alone. Chef Heinz Beck took a seat at our table, as we all scooted over to make room for an extra chair. It was definitely an “I need to pinch myself” moment.
Next up, we had some Seabass, with caramelized onions, the best (cherry vinegar) pickled onion I’ve ever had, baby leeks, asparagus cooked in bonito butter, and puffed Japanese rice seasoned with algae! I mean, come ON.
I don’t know if you picked up on this yet or not, but this was largely a seafood meal. Staying true to it’s course, we had another fish course, but this time it was seared Snapper, nestled atop cod espuma, served with white asparagus sous vide in milk for an hour. After the course, there we prawn crackers to finish. I have a mental note to get my hands on a large supply of those prawn crackers, one way or another.
The final entreé turned out to not be entirely seafoody, and it put a wide smile on my face because it was none other than seared Wagyu in beef and dashi broth- THE beef and dashi broth whose recipe I have been chasing Reif for. I must get my hands on that recipe if it’s the last thing I do on this planet.
The palate cleanser was easily the BEST palate cleanser I have EVER had. Chef Rishi presented us with a quenelle of Sudachi yogurt, with yuzu koshu sorbet and mandarin. This was SO incredibly refreshing, perfectly balanced on the sweetness scale, and I would have happily had an entire scoop of this and called it dessert.
At the very end of the meal, there was a phenomenal dessert preparation showcasing Lavazza coffee in now one, but six different dessert preparations. It was “plated” directly on the table very much like what was masterminded at Alinea by Grant Achatz, but has also taken Dubai by storm over the last couple of years. Personally, I’m really not a fan of eating directly off the table, and prefer my plates, but oh well. My favorite parts of the dessert “table” were the coffee ice-cream and the coffee ganache.
This was epically one of those nights that make me feel so truly humbled, blessed (excuse the cliche, cringeworthy, overused hashtag, but I was in the presence of THREE chef’s who boated Michelin stars, and a fourth who really be part of the same club but geography is holding him back). This was one of those nights that make me feel like I’ve “made it”, and reaffirm my decision to do what I do, and to keep eating, blogging, and getting fact, because yolo, am I right?