A surprising marriage of Spanish, Japanese and local inspirations
Claim to fame: The swank wine list: 13 000 bottles and counting
Reason to go: The flair of luxe delicacies fused with local flavors
To look out for: The MiniGastro Bar Menu offers lighter bites for those not looking for a full-on feast
Back on top after a few lows, sommelier and fine-dining veteran, Ignatius Chan’s eponymous restaurant is once again gaining ground. His latest installment gets its edge thanks to Spanish-Australian chef, Aitor Jeronimo Orive, who paid his dues at Mugaritz, Nerua and Fat Duck lab.
Taking his cues mostly from Europe (where he trained), Japan (where Chan visits religiously for gustatory pleasure) and Singapore (where he now lives next door to a wet market), Orive is charting a new direction for Iggy’s seasonal cuisine, fusing top-end gastronomic delicacies with inspirations he finds locally while quietly weaving in pieces of his heritage. The smoked loin and belly of Hokkaido tenjo buri (wild yellowtail), in season briefly throughout November and December, finds its way into a mound of tartare precariously balancing pearls of Kaluga Queen caviar topped with tongues of raw sea urchin, offering a luxurious taste of this fatty fish at the dawn of winter. Carnarolli rice from Italy is cooked with spinach and kang kong (local water spinach) and served with steamed julienned bitter gourd, pickled sweet and sour mustard greens and sambal (chili paste) tossed with wing beans, offering a green course with an unusually delicious flavor repertoire and a burst of the most bewildering refreshment. If roasted foie gras makes an appearance, it may manifest itself in the most unlikely yet riveting fashion––completely bathed in an ethereal-sweet broth of lap cheong (Chinese waxed meat). The most potent signs of how well Orive has assimilated into the Lion City are on full display during the snacks course prior to the meal; a sphere of “Singapore Sling”, a meringue sandwich of “Roti John” and perhaps his Scotch egg-take on “Curry Puff”. In case you don’t have a huge appetite, the Mini Gastro Bar Menu is worth a glance for the bucatini with braised oxtail, Parmigiano-Reggiano and truffle shavings.
Set in a minimally embellished, black-bathed space on the third floor of Hilton Hotel Singapore, Iggy’s offers three distinct spaces: a 24-seat main dining room with a picture window of the kitchen action, a bar counter that takes up to eight guests and a private dining room that accommodates 14 people. And while the interior is inviting, Iggy’s greatest pride and joy is its wine collection, a stock of 13,000 bottles and 350 labels of predominantly Burgundy wines, personally curated by Chan.