Special thanks to Nespresso for the invite!
SAVOUR, the first of its kind in Singapore, bringing together the best of the best in the culinary scene with kitchen luminaries like the michelin-starred chefs to those who have made it to the world's Top 100 list or the best of what Singapore has to offer. Sixteen award winning chefs in their own areas put together - already sounds like the biggest alumni gathering!
Being there on opening night was exciting - before the rest of the weekend crowds gets to it. Or some say, the best the chefs have to showcase before the prying eyes of the media and glib tongues of foodies.
Motto meant for foodies like you and me.
Unlike the other food festivals where it is mostly done in dining establishments, SAVOUR has taken it outdoors to the F1 Pit Stop! Risky choice especially without fair weather alternatives.
I have always been a fan of food festivals big and small – anything that celebrates dine and wine, if the appetite, pocket and company permits I will try to go. A great honour to be given tickets to Savour by Nespresso! Big thanks to Nespresso.
It starts at 6pm for the night sessions and end at 1030pm, I had my reservations for even staying throughout but I have to give the organizers credit for providing such a packed and fulfilling schedule of activities that I left the event most reluctantly and wishing it were extended for another hour or two!
The makeshift stalls at the carpark are well spaced out - at least there were no snaking queues or insufficient tables. The stalls were arranged within easy walking distance and great for hemming and hawing over what to eat!
Dishes are priced between $6 to $21 and the organizers probably had in mind the 30 Savour Dollars would not be suffice hence the strategic location of money booths. I definitely fell prey to it.
All geared up to take on Savour 2012!
This has to be the draw of the entire event. How often do you get Michelin starred chefs dishing out bite sized portions at equally morsel-sized prices as compared to their full priced meals in their restaurants?
I spotted Chef Alvin Leung yet again and he was as affable as before, shaking hands so readily.
The chef hard at work.
Bo Innovation, Hongkong
My first brush with them was in Hongkong a year back and it truly was not too high up on the list to attempt since I already had a go at their dinner menu which showcased their signatures. The queues at Bo's were possibly an indication of their value for money portions and taste as compared to the rest.
Portions presented upfront so I know what to expect.
Molecular Xiao Long Bao ($6)
Molecular gastronomy encapsulated in one dish and an award winning one too. These were served on a table spoon, like it was in Hongkong. One slurp is all you need. Once again, I am no huge fan of molecular gastronomy, it's back to the basics of having my cake and eating it - I need to see the meat visually to convince myself that it is a xlb I am eating. Otherwise, the novelty is all that draws.
Har Mei Lo Mein, with har mei oil and powder ($9)
This was priced at $15 online but was reduced on site - double happiness!
Tossed in crunchy roe, har mei powder and har mei oil, this was pretty much like Italian pasta gone Oriental. Loved the flavours, noodle was done al dente and retained its lovely bounce. So good, we had thirds! Possibly because it was one of the more worthwhile dishes around too!
Egg Waffles, with black truffle and vanilla ice cream ($9)
Yet another that was reduced in price on site, these were made freshly at the booth. The egg waffles were somewhat disappointing, lacking in bite but clever usage of black truffle made this smell good. Clever combination of sweet and savoury here. The vanilla bean icecream was amazing! Velvety smooth with an appropriate amount of vanilla beans. Happiness guaranteed.
It has been recognized as Mexico's finest for years and for once I did not spy a single taco or quesadilla on the menu.
Cerdo pelon en recado blanco ($18)
Mexican pig with white spice sauce, alfayayocan bean, red and black radish
I was tricked into ordering this - shown two slices and was served one. Simply braised pork belly done the Mexican way and came with a delicious bean paste. Decently marinated pork belly.
Xu Restaurant Lounge, Vietnam
They specialise in shared meals, using ingredients from North to South of Vietnam to create the ultimate Vietnamese dining experience.
Coconut Braised Pork Belly, with pickled red cabbage and caramelised daikon ($12)
Deemed their signature, I was drawn by the large portion of pork belly as I eyed the other diners tuck into it so readily.This pork belly wobbled with a thick layer of fats and chewy skin. Coconut was barely discernible and meat was somewhat bland. Uninspiring braised pork belly I must add.
I have dined at Gunther's a couple of times and there have been memorable occasions and of course disappointing ones too.
Petit fours to go with their famed apple tart I guess.
Cold Angel Hair Pasta, with Oscietra caviar ($21)
I had the warm pasta the last visit and was rightfully disappointed because it was not the signature cold angel hair pasta. The queues for this was the longest as compared to the other two courses and with charming Chef Gunther Hubrechsen was standing by his stall drawing the crowds in. With portions smaller than Bo Innovation's Har Mei Lo Mein, I wonder if the 60 buckeroo price tag in his restaurant is overpriced. Served chilled, the smooth oodles were well greased and topped with caviar. I was not blown away the way I would have expected. Good not great, oddly.
Once again, yet another place that I have attempted their set lunches and left enthralled.
Polenta Crumbed Foie Gras, with caramelised banana raisin rum ($15)
Foie gras somehow triumphed over their famous beef rib at the order counter.
Wise choice I must say - the polenta crumbed foie gras had a great contrast with the crunchy exterior and buttery soft insides. Caramelised banana raisin rum however was ornamental.
Yay! My favourite bar was having a booth there, I literally ran to the booth in delight. The award winning mixologist, Richard Gillam, was a charmer at the booth, and for once, being a regular at Cityspace did get me some extras!
With soda drinks priced at $3 and cocktails at $6, these are fairly priced. The only relation their drinks had to those offered at the bar was one drink - You Yuzu?
No fanciful tossing tricks to witness.
Stick in two straws and I'm ready to slurp.
Federal 23 ($6)
Zacapa, Equinox Fennel Liquer, Lemon, Eggwhite
This cocktail was the bartender's favourite and I followed suit. Somehow drinking one from a paper cup does discount the experience quite marginally. Not quite my kind of cocktail with the bitter tones. I miss my bubble tea much!
Food portions are generally small and they were not served piping hot unfortunately. Served in plastic bowls or plates certainly did mar the experience quite abit but for the cheaper prices, I cannot complain. Bo's Innovation was stellar for me this time round, strange when it is not on home ground. It could be the fact that Chef Alvin Leung was there to supervise hence the elevated satisfaction.
Air France Booth was open only to invited guests and Chef Alain Passard of L'Arpege was there too. Like most leading airlines, they work with Michelin Starred chefs to promote the country, chef and of course the airline.
He seemed like a comical man during a private interview - He was invited to join the event as he became quite well acquainted with Air France after his flight to Singapore, must have been a business class trip!I had the greatest pleasure of speaking with the Air France PR lady who shared that the whole intent of the booth is to launch their business class service on A380 flying direct to Paris from Singapore. Tickets start under $1k for economy class for a limited period and truly, I am tempted.
Tapas and a select of fine wines were served up - for us to experience flying with Air France and taste their wonderful pre-flight goodies.
Glasses ready to be filled.
They showcased a selection of champagne, red and whites from Bordeaux. Wines purportedly taste different up in mid-air and on land, as with food.
Reds which I found acidic.
Two glasses of white - smooth and so fine!
Never can resist champagne.
Platters like these were served freeflow, like the way they would on Business Class.
Macarons by Acquetos
While these were no Pierre Herme, they were mildly sweet pops of sugar.
Easy to slurp.
Easy to eat.
Absolutely tantalizing range of desserts so bite-sized, eating it was sheer joy. Loved the sponge cakes, pistachio eclairs and all the lovely sugary things.
Loads of cheese mousse used here but they tasted great with the wines served up. Every tapas portion seemed to have a bite of France, be it smoked trout, smoked salmon or cheese.
Particular mention goes to their organic Pili nuts - nuts never tasted this way before! I cannot describe how but not the usual crunchy ones.
The main message for the night.
Fly Air France!
Nespresso Coffee Atelier
Little satchets of door gifts.
I am no regular coffee drinker but the coffee specialist very daringly promised to convert me after the session. Coffee is like wine to me, I hardly appreciate it for the subtleties or nuances, neither does its origin become a case of concern. Nespresso machines have invaded both homes and offices with friends offering them at house parties. Seems like these are the new cordials.
Table laid to impress.
Uber cute glasses.
We had a chance to test out the Pixie and four different capsules. There are 16 candy colours to pick from!
Flavours for the night!
Meet Miss Citiz, my trusty helper for the night!
Insert the capsule and get ready to watch it drip.
Loved the colours.
First, I was taught to gently push away the crema with the tablespoon and look at its colour. I could not resist licking the chocolatey brown foam - intense flavours going on. Following which, take a whiff which is deemed as "The First Nose", and then a deeper whiff known as a "Second Nose". Finally, take a deep slurp of the coffee and let the flavours permeate through every part of the tongue - it did wonders waking me up from the semi-sober state from all the earlier boozing. I never knew that appreciation of coffee is so similar to tea!
I prefer my coffee sweetened and somehow that accentuated the flavours that each capsule had.Their range of flavours are meant to suit any palette - intense, balanced, and flowery fruity.
Intensely roasted, fruity, lightly acidic, full bodied
A tad too bitter for comfort but I guess the real coffee addicts swear by this.
Dulsao do Brazil
Arabica coffee, notes of toasted grain
Rosabaya de Columbia
Columbian Arabica with red fruity notes and winey flavours
By this cup, I was already sweetening my coffee and boy, loved the sudden gush of fruity flavours! Like a pandora's box, it opened up a completely new dimension of flavour to me.
Indriya from India
Full bodied Espresso with Arabica and Robusta from Southern India with spicy notes of cloves, pepper and nutmeg
Once again, the revelry of spicy notes was intriguing.
Particularly loved the surprise they had in store for all of us at the end of the short 30 minute session - DIY affrogato with strawberry coffee! Superb stuff! By the time I left, I was a half convert. Well done Nespresso!
Do register at their booth for these interactive sessions!
This was split into two floors, the second and third with tons of exhibitors participating.
Wine Floor I call it with so many exhibitors!
Stop by any booth and sip away.
Like any? Make your order at discounted prices.
The wine section allowed for complimentary wine tasting as I made my way through the booths. Walking out sober is an irresistible choice especially in the face of tons of bubbly to try!
Always a fan of riesling.
Every glass filled so seriously.
Glass after glass.
Pink moscato! This was as sweet though, more like a rose.
Sip, sip, sip!
Vodka Sashimi Bar that was gaining quite abit of attraction.
The Gourmet Pie Company was getting a considerable amount of attention with freshly made pies. Their pies come in three sizes and the small ones were sold out.
Generous folks from Windowsill.
Windowsill Pies too made an impression with their generous samplings of their Pennsylvania-Dutch pies. I have long read and heard much about it but found their pie bases a tad crumbly and lacking in bite. That being said, the flavours were pretty good - Strawberry Lemon Tart, Pumpkin Tart and Smores to name a few!
I fell prey to cereal, of all shops...lugging back a box at $6. These New Zealand cereal are way different from Post and Marks and Spencer's cereal, these pack a lot more bite and crunch.
Bring Three-Sixty to Savour was ingenious! They replicated the whole supermarket and even doubled up in size! Walking through it was great joy especially with all corners readily dishing out samples to tempt impulse purchases.
Three Sixty shifted!
Organic food corner.
From blue carrots to pumpkin to grapes, oragnic food does taste different. The veggies had a crisp crunch to it and grapes were really sweet!
Promoting tomatoes from France.
Sample all you want!
Vanilla Bean? I like the chewy texture of it.
Iberico ham shaving!
One mighty hoof.
Dangerous work going on.
Iberico ham, my love.
I am half hearted about caviar, not too much of a fan somehow.
Blobs of goodness.
Here's some London loving going on with a scones booth!
The real stuff displayed.
Lather on clotted cream and fruit preserve. The scones were buttery and immensely fragrant.
My favourite went to lemon curd.
Live demonstration of the cheese knife.
The oddball of a fruit and nut block amongst the whole counter of cheeses. For a moment I thought it was black cheese.
Proscuitto ham sliced so fine, these were melt in your mouth awesome!
How about more cheese with sticky balsamic?
Even fresh seafood were on sale!
I would have walked out with a portion of that insanely delicious proscuitto ham, organic grapes and possibly a wedge of cheese had I practiced some self restraint.
The other parts of the festival that I did not have enough time to venture!
My favourite champagne but the lack of time once again!
Loving their huge umbrellas, very frivolously.
I had great fun at Savour, one of the food festivals that I would be more than happy to return to next year. If you have not bought your tickets, please do! Definitely worth a visit and worth the while.
Until 1 April 2012