Gussied up veggies in a garden setting
Claim to fame: The highly prized, sweet Cévennes onions from France, done four ways
Reason to go: The lush Botanic Gardens surroundings, a perfect backdrop for the aptly named gastro-botanical cuisine
To look out for: The epic salad, showcasing 40 different types of vegetables of contrasting flavors and textures
At a time when restaurants are pushing premium meats and pristine seafood, it takes guts to conjure up a “gastro-botanical” menu that puts the spotlight squarely on vegetables, yet this is exactly what chef-owner Jason Tan does at Corner House. His well-executed tasting menu-only establishment emphasizes personal favorites such as the Cévennes onion.
Tan’s meal is partially a meditation on said onion, served four ways: baked onion cup, sweet onion purée with a sous-vide egg in a hollowed onion topped with Manjimup black truffle; onion tart, a wafer-thin filo pastry crowned with onion confit and Parmesan; onion chip, a sliver of dehydrated sliced onion; and onion tea, Earl Grey-infused onion tea with onion emulsion. His pièce de résistance is a visual as well as a gustatory masterpiece, an assembly of more than 40 types of seasonal vegetables including cucumber flower, salt-baked yellow beetroot, charred romanesco, ice plant and Barigoule-style artichoke, each prepared separately before being painstakingly plated to deliver a maximum of flavors and contrasting textures. Vegetables sometimes take a back seat to similarly stunning effect; at the vanguard is the recently introduced dish of Brittany cuttlefish strips that arrive on a shallow pool of toasted buckwheat-flecked riso pasta with seaweed and black truffle floss. Be it snacks, seafood, meat, vegetables, dessert or even petit fours (on that note, don’t miss the salted duck yolk macaron), Tan has built an impressive repertoire of courses backed by faultless kitchen execution.
Further articulating the green-theme, Corner House is set in a double story colonial building completely surrounded by lush foliage, nestled in the heart of the Singapore Botanic Gardens, the city’s only Unesco World Heritage site. The ground level houses a built-in wine cellar with a predominantly French wine list, the majority of which are distributed locally by Tan’s business partner.