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Old 26th February 2020, 08:02 PM   #1
yflyer
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Default Singapore Dining - Corner House @ Singapore Botanic Gardens

Earlier this month, Mrs yflyer and I dined at Corner House, located within the lush grounds of the Singapore Botanic Gardens. This restaurant is helmed by Chef Jason Tan, and serves contemporary cuisine which Chef Jason has termed Gastro-Botanica.

The restaurant is housed in a 2-storey colonial-era bungalow, not far from the Botanic Gardens' Visitor Centre.



The bungalow used to be the residence of E J B Corner, the Assistant Director of the Botanic Gardens from 1929 - 1945.



This was a beautiful setting for a restaurant, quite unlike most other restaurants in Singapore, which are situated in modern buildings or perhaps restored shophouses in conservation areas.

The house was only a short walk from the visitor centre, but it was raining when we arrived, so the restaurant offered us a buggy service to bring us from the visitor centre to Corner House, which was a nice touch.

Our table was on the 2nd level of the bungalow...



The main dining room...



The nicest tables were in the glass-enclosed verandah area, with great views of the surrounding foliage in the early evening, before it got dark...



The restaurant opens at 6.30pm in the evening so an early dinner is quite possible, and better to appreciate the surroundings...



Corner house offers set menus only, with a choice of several tasting menus for dinner, a lunch tasting menu, as well as a less elaborate business luncheon menu.

We went for the Corner House Experience dinner menu, with the accompanying wine pairing...



We chose the Experience menu (Advance pre-order required), as this was the menu that showcased Chef Jason's signature dish, Oignon doux des Cevennes, which was a dish featuring an onion prepared four ways...

Last edited by yflyer; 28th February 2020 at 08:41 AM..
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Old 26th February 2020, 08:26 PM   #2
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Bread to start: a slice of baguette as well as a mini croissant made with 5-spice powder...



Very fine butter, as well as sea salt in a gold vegetable bulb-shaped jar...



3 amuse bouche courses to begin...



These tiny bites were delicate and delicious...

Fingers of toast with cheese...



Fish roe on a crisp fish cracker...



Sweet liquid-filled glutinous coconut balls which burst in your mouth...



Another round of two amuse bouche courses, also keeping with the spherical theme...

An amazing white chocolate ball filled with foie gras infused Grand Marnier...



There were three of everything because we were a party of 3 diners...we also had our younger daughter, Miss yflyer no.2 joining us for dinner that evening.

Rose flavoured aloe vera spheres...



Most of the other tables that evening were set for couples. This was a perfect setting for a romantic dinner, and we were there close to, but not on, Valentine's Day...

Last edited by yflyer; 27th February 2020 at 09:36 PM..
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Old 26th February 2020, 08:41 PM   #3
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The first wine was a Rose Champagne from Guy Charlamagne...



This was delightfully crisp and delicate...



The table was then laid with a mother of pearl spoon (An important detail to some on SQTalk...)...



The next course came on a bed of dry ice...



A course of gold-flecked eel and Kristal caviar...



...with the dark amber-hued caviar tasting wonderful: with a subtle, nutty flavour and almost buttery texture that left me wishing for more than that tiny portion.

Chef Jason's choice of Kristal caviar was notable as well. This was a premium caviar from sturgeon bred in China. China has become an increasingly popular source of high quality caviar, with Chinese caviar now apparently served by many top chefs, including big names such as Alain Ducasse or Thomas Keller.

The next wine was a white Burgundy made from the Aligote grape varietal...



This was a very fine wine...



I was happy to see more caviar on the next course, which was a tuna tartar made with Nagasaki toro...


Last edited by yflyer; 28th February 2020 at 08:15 AM..
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Old 26th February 2020, 08:54 PM   #4
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A bracing, refreshing Sauvignon Blanc from Martinborough, NZ, was next...





We sipped our Sauvignon Blanc while reading through a beautiful booklet, "The Onion Revealed" which described Chef Jason's signature dish...



This was no ordinary onion, but a prized Cevennes onion grown in France...



This dish was prepared four ways...





A dehydrated slice, lightly salted, and also onion confit on filo pastry...



A whole onion, hollowed and baked and filled with onion puree and confit, served with a 62 degree sous-vide egg and black truffle...



Delicious!



And finally Earl-Grey infused onion tea, topped with an emulsion of onion confit and cream...



...with this final 4th preparation apparently taking 2 days to prepare, with 3kg of onion apparently yielding just 200ml of the onion tea...

Now that's what I call a signature dish! Very memorable!

To be continued...

Last edited by yflyer; 28th February 2020 at 08:37 AM..
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Old 27th February 2020, 07:45 PM   #5
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The next wine was a Lake's Folly Chardonnay from Hunter Valley in Australia, from their 2009 vintage.



This was an impressive wine, which tasted full bodied and complex...



The wine was the perfect complement to the next course, which was uni (Sea urchin) with riso, a rice-like pasta...



Sea urchin is one of those foods which one either loves or hates -- nothing in between. For our table, we devoured all of it, savouring the intense flavour of the sea in each bite of uni. We could have eaten a lot of the uni (And riso!)...
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Old 27th February 2020, 07:57 PM   #6
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It was on to the red wines now, with the next pairing being a Burgundy from the Nuits-Saint-Georges appellation...



This was a Premier Cru, Les Proces, from Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux, vintage 2012...a very nice wine...



The next course was New Zealand blue cod "crispy scales"...



The fish was silky smooth and the crispy scales were edible...a dish as delicious as it was pretty on the plate...

Last edited by yflyer; 27th February 2020 at 09:53 PM..
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Old 27th February 2020, 08:16 PM   #7
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It was now time for a heavyweight Bordeaux red to go with the final course of A4 Toriyama Wagyu...

This was a Pauillac 2013, more precisely Le Pauillac de Chateau Latour, which was the 3rd wine (not even the 2nd wine) of the esteemed Chateau Latour, from "younger vines, and less prestigious terroirs in the vineyard", according to Latour website.



But what do you know? Even their 3rd wine tasted superb...beautifully balanced...not quite their First Growth, or even Le Forts de Latour, their 2nd wine, but a wine that I think would impress many wine lovers...



The final course of Wagyu came artfully arranged on a plate that was mostly empty (!), but then this wasn't Morton's Steakhouse, and the small slice of A4 Toriyama Wagyu steak was about the right amount of heaven to end the meal.



The generous marbling of fat within the steak meant that a small portion was all that was needed to satisfy. Mrs yflyer certainly looked like she was in rapture as she ate this course...

Last edited by yflyer; 27th February 2020 at 08:22 PM..
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Old 27th February 2020, 08:37 PM   #8
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It was now time for dessert...

By then, it was dark outside. A couple behind us were celebrating a birthday, other couples were conversing in hushed tones...



A sorbet of soursop was served as a palate cleanser, and this came with watermelon, rose and rambutan...



Liquid nitrogen was used to create a frozen granita topping...




Last edited by yflyer; 27th February 2020 at 09:38 PM..
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Old 27th February 2020, 08:38 PM   #9
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A 2009 Sauterne from Chateau Rieussec was served...



This was superb...an ambrosial nectar...



The dessert of cocoa pebbles must have been one of prettiest plates that had ever been set before us...



Chocolate pralines disguised as rocks, with the tangy sweet taste of passion fruit and banana adding contrast.

All three of us turned on our camera lights to better examine this miniature garden, with everything on the plate edible! Thumbs up!

Last edited by yflyer; 27th February 2020 at 09:50 PM..
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Old 27th February 2020, 09:00 PM   #10
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We ended our journey through the Gastro-Botanical gardens with Petit fours...



Jackfruit (!) mochi...



I am not a big fan of jackfruit but the "nangka" flavour was quite subtle, so this was actually quite tasty...

The salted egg macaroons were good!



And to end, Canele...



We were also presented with our copies of "The Onion Revealed" booklet, each signed with a personal note from Chef Jason Tan, which was a really nice memento, along with a small tin of delicious cookies which we devoured over the next few days.



What a stunning meal...

Last edited by yflyer; 28th February 2020 at 08:35 AM..
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Old 27th February 2020, 09:27 PM   #11
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Overall, this was a wonderful, wonderful meal.

The cuisine was right up there with some of the most inspired meals we have had: Imaginative, refined and impeccably executed.

Service was top notch -- friendly, attentive and very personal. The all important pacing of the meal was spot on, with no rushing of courses, or long waits. Dinner was about 2.5 hours from start to finish.

I was also extremely impressed with the wine pairing: these were quality wines, very intelligently chosen, which matched the cuisine very well.

The only quibbles we had were very minor, and I am only mentioning these because we found the meal otherwise to be a near perfect experience overall: Mrs yflyer found her dehydrated onion slice just a little hard to chew. I could not help noticing that two courses had caviar one after the other. Nothing wrong with that, but contrast this with Thomas Keller's approach at his Napa Valley restaurant The French Laundry, which is the other extreme: Once an ingredient is used in a dish, it is never used again for the rest of the meal. On the other hand, there is no such thing as too much caviar...

In my view, this is one of the best restaurants that Mrs yflyer and I have dined at in Singapore, and Chef Jason is a real star, with a very clear vision, and inspiration, for the cuisine he wants to achieve, together with the ability to execute and realise this vision with his wonderful team, both in the kitchen and out front.

We will be back!

Last edited by yflyer; 28th February 2020 at 08:20 AM..
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Old 28th March 2020, 10:39 AM   #12
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In the past week, the local press announced that Corner House will be getting a new chef, David Thien...

https://www.straitstimes.com/lifesty...-gets-new-chef

...and that Chef Jason Tan was leaving Corner House to setup his own restaurant in Tras Street...

https://www.straitstimes.com/lifesty...in-tras-street

Congrats to both! Once this Covid-19 crisis comes to an end, I am looking forward to the opportunity to check out David Thien's new menu at Corner House, as well as Jason Tan's new restaurant, when the new place opens.
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Old 4th August 2020, 03:10 PM   #13
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Very late, but as usual, a superb read. Thanks.
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Old 5th August 2020, 09:18 AM   #14
yflyer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jani View Post
Very late, but as usual, a superb read. Thanks.
Thanks, jani! While travel is still out of the question, at least restaurants are now open again in SG...
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