It’s my birthday! Lena wanted to treat me to something special, so we decided upon Chef’s Table by Chef Stephan Zoisl. Located at the shophouses on Tras Street in Tanjong Pagar, it has a very unique concept.
The place is small and quaint, and it has an open kitchen. You can see all the work that is going on with your food. Now what is so interesting about the concept? Here’s the deal:
They give you a list of 28 ingredients. Some are in stock and some are not. You choose what you DO NOT want as an ingredient in your food. Just knock off what you don’t want.
For example, I didn’t want, in some case because I didn’t like it, Foie Gras, Olives, Blood Sausage. Lena didn’t want Lamb, Blood Sausage, Onion and Chocolate (because she didn’t feel like it that day).
The chef then creates your dishes based upon the ingredients that you have kept on your option list.
Pretty cool isn’t it? Now, as we came to see, there were pre-determined dishes. And if it just happened to have an ingredient you didn’t want, it was replaced, but the framework of the dish remained relatively the same. I’ll expound on that a little more later.
The other choice you have to make is whether or not you want 4, 6 or 8 courses in your meal.
For light eaters, 4 is enough. 6 is a good number and if you’re a big eater, go for 8.
The prices are S$98 for 4, S$128 for 6 and S$150 for 8.
Lena went with 4 and I went with 6. Which is great because most places make you get the same thing if you want a “degustation” menu.
Our first dish was Smoked Mackerel with pickled Rhubarb and another pickled item. Along with Roe, Oyster Leaves (that taste like Oysters!), Kohlrabi slices and puffed Sago.
How I remembered all of that I can’t tell you. Because the other great thing that happens here is that Chef Stephan will come to your table with the dish and explain to you what it is and what is in it.
It’s pretty awesome that way, sort of like being on a cooking show like Top Chef where they chef explains the dish to you.
Any way, back to the dish. The mackerel was smoked nicely, but what made the dish was the surrounding items. The rhubarb was fresh, the oyster leaves were great, the kohlrabi was a nice touch. It all blended well together.
Burrata, chopped up, garnished with Caviar (yellow!), Iberico Ham and Pork. So creamy and the cheese cuts the saltiness of the Ham. The next course we both had. It was a Lemon Sole on potatoes with potato pearls and a Lobster and Crab sauce with some Sea Asparagus and crispy leaves. I was less than impressed with this one. Fish was nice but the sauce tried to be Chili Crab-ish. I am not usually impressed when a chef gives the dish a “local” dash and that dash winds up being chili crab. It really has no reason to be on this menu. The next dish was all mine. Trout on Pumpkin with Tete de Veau (Veal Tongue), Fennel, Pickled Pumpkin.
This dish was fresh and quite a nice texture between the fish and the tongue and pumpkin. What is interesting here is that when we looked at other diners, this dish was with beef and not trout. So it was interesting to see the difference. We wondered why until we go the next dish and looked at the other diner’s dishes.
Our next dish, which we both got, was Beef Two Ways. A grilled Shoulder Tender and then a braised tender. With Celeriac Cream, Roasted Celeriac and Mushroom, a garnish leaf with a Wasabi-like kick to it and finished off by Chef Stephan pouring a Red Wine sauce on it at tableside.
The tender was so tender, it was amazing. The braised beef was a little jalat, but still very flavorful. Really a great dish.When we looked over, we saw that others had this dish with Duck and Foie Gras. Then we realized how things were different based upon your DO NOT wants. I didn’t want Foie Gras, so Chef changed up the proteins in the dishes but kept the frameworks intact, knowing what proteins would work where.
On to dessert!
Since Lena did not want chocolate, she got a Raspberry Macaroon with Raspberry Sorbet, fruits and Raspberry Sauce and Yuzu Sauce. Wow, the flavors were sharp and fresh. So awesome.My dessert was Chocolate Sponge with Chocolate Cream, Cherry Chocolate Ice Cream and Cherries. It’s not so chocolatey and more creamy. A really perfect Chocolate dessert for those who like chocolate, but don’t love it. And then Chef came out with the last item! Birthday Cake! I definitely want to go back as the ingredients change all the time and things will be different all the time. It’s a creative way to eat, a great dining experience and very personal.
Try this out for sure!