Matching Sofitel So Singapore’s practice of delivering the unexpected, Xperience serves up a tantalizing menu in chic designer surrounds.
Honeycomb shaped grey and beige tiles, and pale wood, pave the floor lifting the décor from the ground up with interest and a light cheeriness. The beehive structures are mirrored in the shelving in the winecellar, wall designs and further into ceiling panels. Mauve striped chairs are rimmed with gold, and tables are glass topped encasing a mosaic of transparent beads. Shiny surfaces and gold trimmings, along with chain mesh cushions give additional glam. Fresh vases of flowers and mod cutlery adorn tables with voguish elegance. It’s snazzy, fun and stylish.
|In Bed with the Chef – chef’s table|
The menu itself resembles a homemade collation of favourite recipes. Divided into flavours and textures – Crunchy, Zesty, Smoky, Spicy, Silky, Saucy, and Juicy – don’t expect to find anything ordinary here. There are no starters, appetizers, or main courses, all can be customized according to your desires. Choose your creation and request your size, XS, XM, or XL. Cooking tips are jotted around the edges featuring suggestions for cutting and storing vegetables, a little history behind dishes and preparation and adornment advice. Bonding local flavours with European cooking techniques, French chef, Anne-Cecile Degenne, has found an exciting fusion of the two. We’re here as we’ve heard some wonderful things about laksa and risotto, and decide the well-dressed crowd filling the room must have caught on to the same rumour too.
The restaurant manager is quick to discern our wine proclivities and soon has a glass of Chablis 2012, Simonnet Febvre in my hand, and a flute of Champagne Brut Ruinart Reims from France in hubby’s. Fine bubbles leave the mouth wanting more in hubby’s drop, and my white proves aromatic, round and crisp.
|Champagne Brut Ruinart Reims|
|Chablis 2012, Simonnet Febvre|
Chinese dim sum with a French twist is the first dish to excite us in the Foie Gras and Truffle Siew Mai ($15, $30, $45). We bite in. The initial taste is the thin wrapping – a taste of familiarity. Our teeth sink in further and the inners envelope our mouth. The richness of the ingredients – smoked duck, ginger, foie gras and truffle – fill our palates with pleasure. The dumplings sit in a clear broth and we want to slurp that up too – politely of course.
|Foie Gras and Truffle Siew Mai|
Next round Mexico is the canvas for local savour. Chipotle Chili Crab Tacos ($12, $24, $36) wrap a truly Singaporean delight – chili crab – in soft flour tortillas. At first we’re confused, but then quickly hooked. The typical rich oily taco filling has been replaced with wadding that’s clean and fresh. The addition of shredded red cabbage and kaffir lime dressing enhances its vibrancy. Chipotle chili maintains the zap of the traditional plate but elevates it with a smoky Hispanic infusion.
|Chipotle Chili Crab Tacos|
The star of the menu – Lobster and Scallop Laksa Risotto (XM$39, XL$62) – follows and is the attraction that drew us in the first place. A scallop, prawn and peeled lobster claw and tail, protrude from the surface of a mound of amber al dente rice. Fried laksa leaves are also planted in the crown, and daubs of coconut and lime foam froth across the top. It’s the full wallop of flavour representative of the best of the street broths, combined with the firm texture of risotto that turns out a tremendously satisfying dish. While the lobster might be the protagonist, the scallop plays an award winning support role: deliciously caramelized around the edges, the core is succulent. The addictive bite of these Nyonya flavours continue to tingle the tips of our tongues long after we finish.
|Lobster and Scallop Laksa Risotto|
Dessert claims a pretty plate of white and yellow with Lemon and Marshmallow ($15). It resembles a deconstructed lemon meringue pie, but tastes even better (if that’s possible). The customary intensity of sweet lemon curd, almond crumble and meringue are lifted with sorbet, fresh raspberries and ginger jelly, making it easy to finish and a fresh conclusion.
|Lemon and Marshmallow|
Reasons to visit: stylish and vibrant location; Lobster and Scallop Laksa Risotto (must eat!!!)
Xperience Restaurant Sofitel So Singapore
35 Robinson Road
Open 6:30am – 22:30 pm