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SAVOUR 2013: Celebrate the delicious!

Special thanks to Dixie and Nespresso for the invite!

roll the carpet

Into the second year, SAVOUR promised to be a celebration of the delicious and I was all hyped up since the media launch. Like a school kid waiting to watch One Direction take the stage, I was waiting for SAVOUR to unfold.

Let me take you on a virtual tour of the tasting grounds. 

crowd

Stalls set up.

 band

A band to ring in the hunger pangs.

champagne!

Some champagne?

The main aim this year was to attempt those that I made a pass on last year and a greater emphasis on the restaurants that I may not have the moolah to fly half a continent for - well, mountain finally came to Muhammad and I shall resist no further. This was going to a gastronomical trip around the world.

nespresso

Famed wall of capsules.

host

First up, I was whisked off to attend the official launch of the two new Limited Edition Trieste and Napoli Grand Crus. Nespresso pays homage to Italy's diverse coffee culture.The journey took me on a journey beginning from Northern Italy's Adriatic coast, down to the South, passing through the cities of Trieste and Naples.

vespa

Jump onto the vespa for a tour!

serenaded

Seranaded by tunes on the piano.

nespresso capsules

How about the ceiling of capsules too?

models

These arrived in grandeur with models on Vespas - so very Italiano!

capsules

I've not been to Italy and this was interesting taking a trip through cups of brews since Italian coffee is world renown - both were fragrant with Napoli having a darker creme than Trieste from the longer roasting period.

napoli

Trieste exudes fragrances of hazelnuts and hazelnuts in comparison to the woody and smoky aroma of Napoli.

pineapple vodka

We were also treated to an alcoholic concoction of pineapple, vodka and nespresso shots - a tropical one! Canapes were provided by Keystone Restaurant, another restaurant that has been lurking on my to-try list for quite some time now.

salmon mousse

Salmon Mousse

These were too sweet and crumbly.

foie gras

Foie Gras

The foie gras paste was delicious but lacked some texture amidst all the mush.

risotto ball

Risotto Balls 

I'd call them Risotto Lollipops, cheese rice breaded with a crunchy shell and jabbed with a sliver of iberico ham - I loved the contrast!

suckling pig

Suckling Pig on Charcoal Toast

The charcoal toast had me at hello but it was too soft to hold up the chunk of fatty suckling pig which is more braised than barbequed.

mushroom truffle

Mushrooms and Potatoes

Simplicity always works and this creamy combination was delicious.

brownie

Brownie

Moist chocolate brownie and cream to end of the tapas meal!

The organizers brought in a different range of chefs and restaurants this time round though retaining a clear favourite like Bo Innovation and a number of local restaurants like Gunther's, Forest and Osia.

booth

There was an airconditioned area set aside for eating in comfort.

interior

Like minded folks!

The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français, South Africa
#57 World's 100 Best Restaurants 2012

I know little about South Africa save for safaris, Johannesburg and slums along the airport highway.

beetroot

Beetroot Sponge, Wild Rice and Macadamia Salad ($10)

I thought the wobbly orb to be poached egg coated with beetroot powder but it turned out to be a beetroot marshmellow sponge - the tartness of beetroot well encapsulated in this appetizer paired with juicy greens and pine nuts.

beetroot sliced

The baobab yogurt provided a tangy dimension to bring this colourful appetizer to another level - salads, are not simply tossed together, neither are they merely for the health conscious.

scallops

Seared Scallop and Dill Vichysoisse ($10) 

I belittled the tiny scallop, tiny as compared to the usual Hokkaido scallops that are used to wow in portions. The morsel was seared beautifully, the pink and bounce were unmistakeably well executed. The rest of the ingredients were sheer magic - Dill Vichysoisse, Barley and Squid Ink Crumble, stole the show with the fireworks that were created. Squid Ink crumble was crunchy and definitely brought out the best of squid in every mouthful - a feat that no squid ink dish attempted thusfar was able to achieve.

Sjömagasinet, Sweden
Swedish Chef of the Year 2012

Once again, little is known about Sweden apart from IKEA, swedish meatballs and Tiger Woods' estranged ex-wife.

cod

Cod with Egg of Quail ($12)

Granted the cod was fresh and flaky, but it tasted not too far off from the Swedish anchovies sold at IKEA. The breaded croquette was doughy and prawn sauce was not too complementary either. Probably the ingredients used and this ended up a tad sour so was a miss for me.  

Mirazur, France
2 Michelin Stars, #24 World's 50 Best Restaurants 2012

Located in Menton on the Cote D’Azur Mirazur is off the beaten tourist belt with a restaurant overlooking the sea. I had the privilege of chatting with friendly Chef Mauro Colagreco who has plans to open a restaurant in Shanghai near Three on the Bund.

hibiscus

Hibiscus and Cherry Soup with Red Fruits ($8)

Described as a berry fruit soup, this was not just a fruit soup. The hibiscus and cherry soup with a dollop of sticky caramel was well balanced and refreshing. The berries and icecream were a wonderful addition too.

Astrid y Gaston, Peru

#35 on World's Best List 2012

With ingredients mostly sourced from Peru, the server excitedly bantered on about the dish claiming that she was not a "fish lover" and can barely finish "fish and chips" but found this really "good". Peru is in America, that is all I know. Okay, I lied - I thought it was in Venezuela. SAVOUR really brings more clarity to parts of the world, at least geographically I am clearer of where is what. In my defense, I took history!

fryed fish

Hot and Cold Combination: Fryed Fish with Milk, Chocolate and Andean Grains Chupetes and Jales de Pescado with Iced Dulce de Leche Lollypops ($18)

Two dishes in one, I loved the idea! There was the option of getting the mains first and dessert later but most customers tend to forget the latter and someone in the kitchen gets lucky.

It was an literal jawdropping moment when the chunk of fish was served up - portions are really generous to pass off as a tasting portion! (Please, keep things this way and not shrink them next year!) Flaky fish filet encased in a incredibly delicious batter so light, I am sold. Like the girl over the counter, I love my fried fish now even if it has to be spelt "fryed". Loved the thick cut chips that reminded me of casava with the tapioca texture. Best part of this goes to the appetizing onion-chilli garnishing that did wonders.

chocolate

Dessert was well, an expensive rice krispy cereal treat dunked in milk. To give them credit, it was really good though I would be floored to be served it in a restaurant.

For once apart from Iggy's and Andre, I concur with the World's Best list. 

Pollen Street Social, UK
1 Michelin Star

Jason Atherton is a name that we are no stranger to with Esquina, Keong Siak Snacks and Pollen creating gastronomical waves locally. Many have raved about Pollen Street Social and I was thrilled to get a bite of his culinary magic.

oxtail

Slow Cooked Angus Ox Cheek Braised in Burgundy Horseradish and Potato Puree, Roasted Carrots and Bone Marrow Crumb ($14)

The ox cheek had amazing flavour and texture, firm despite being braised  and I would in a heartbeat order it again at the restaurant. The mash was creamy, carrot exceptionally sweet and portions are considered generous for the price!

Arbutus, UK
1 Michelin Star


squid mackerel burger

Squid and Mackerel 'Burger', Salad of Sea Greens, Moroccan Lemon Peel ($12)

These were flying off the counter. It was a squid and mackerel patty, for a lack of a better word. A loose patty made eating quite a mess since it fell apart the moment I stuck my fork in it. Tasty but the thought that lingers is - michelin star worthy? I'm not quite sure. 

Bo Innovation, Hongkong
2 Michelin Stars, #15 Asia's 50 Best, #52 World's 100 Best Restaurant

I am a fan of Alvin Leung, truth be told. Spotting the chef once again brought back lovely memories. Granted he is an ingenious chef, especially since molecular gastronomy tends to be a hit and miss. The hongkonger was head over heels over his creations and for that flicker "proud to be hongkonger".

xiao long bao

X-treme Long Bao ($6)


The signature found a spot in the offerings this year again though I was looking forward to the Lo Mein again. Possibly the most expensive xiao long bao alive but definitely worth every cent for the oral pleasure derived.

cha chan tang

Cha Tang Dessert ($10)
Butter toast icecream, condensed milk foam, peanut butter and apricot ice, kaya marshmellow, "ying yang" hot milk tea and cold coffee

This is hongkong in a dessert. Instead of going the usual mango-overhyped wafflet or polo bun or egg tart manner, he made one out of peanut butter, kaya and coffee. Unassuming flavours but paired so beautifully, he would make a good dessert chef. Kaya marshmellow was plain amazing, the Hongkonger treats it like a fiend (Texture is weird, colour is funny..looks like phelgm in his defense and I muse). The icecream and coffee were mastered quite perfectly and even if it were no home brewed coffee with beans from some obscure part of the world, it was homely goodness.

Mikuni, Singapore

No stranger to the Japanese scene, I am eyeing a dinner there soon!

sakura belly

Sakura Pork Belly Shio Gama Yaki ($10) 

I had this at the media launch and was thrilled enough to do a repeat. Albeit lacking in the pomp and fuss initially presented but the flavours were still spot on, the delicate balance of shio in this tender number was simply oishii. Or if Chef Moon does not mind - 마시! (Mashi in korean means delicious). Topped of with sake, it was all just complete.

Forest, Singapore

Chef Sam Leong lends support once again with his ever popular booth showcasing oriental delights.

baby abalone

Braised Baby Abalone with Chicken Glutinous Rice ($18) 

I missed out on their flavourful pumpkin rice last year and made this one of the first few items to try lest I ran out of dollars or stomach space. While some would wave this off as another lotus leaf glutinous rice dish, I thought this is one of the better ones attempted. Soft flavourful rice with a chunk of ingredients like chicken, dried shrimp and salted egg. Topping this off with baby abalone was the icing on the cake. I am already interested in heading to his restaurant for a meal!

Gunther's, Singapore
#43 Asia's Best 50 restaurants

The affable chef was all out to draw crowds to his booth which needed no extra introduction.

caviar

Cold Angel Hair Pasta ($18)

So iconic of the restaurant, not featuring it would be cardinal sin. I can never forget the meal that I forwent this for other dishes,  lesson learnt to always go for the signature.

angel hair

Perfumed with truffle, this cold dish is excellent. Pasta has a lovely texture and flavour, this is perhaps the cheapest way of having this without causing a dent in the wallet.

gunthers

Chef proud of his creation.

prawn

Roasted Carabeniro Gambas ($18)

An adventurous showcase at SAVOUR, this is an exclusive dish and cooked on the spot as the Chef urged diners to try. Larger than langoustine, this tasted like one with the crystal flesh. Pretty much tasted like Chilli Prawn.

fiji water

We swung by Tuckshop to grab a reasonably priced bottle of Fiji Water ($4) and was privileged to be introduced to the latest Vodka brand to hit our shores.

set up

DQ Vodka hails from Sweden and is a new kid on the block, up against big boys like Absolut or Grey Goose. It comes in two sizes - large and vials. The large have a mechanism that runs through the center of the bottle keeping the drink cool.

dq vodka

The vials are great for party poppers - open and bottoms up instead of having to sit through an entire glass. DQ has a fiery finish, it lingers on for quite a decent amount of time despite having a smooth finish.

Having eaten and drunk our fill it was time for a tour of the other floors. Within the floors of Savour Gourmet, there were corners like these to showcase products. 

barilla

Barilla corner!

pasta

Oodles to slurp.

absinthe

Absinthe corner for a taste of their offerings just in case you missed restaurant week!

gourmet market

Jason's Kitchen always gets me all excited and this time round, the samples were still generous but favourites like Spanish Ham were clearly missing from the repertoire.

salami

Cured meats.

salad

Salad.

cook on the spot

Complimentary searing of beef.

beef

Spot the lovely pink.

kurobuta ham

Kurubota pork ham that was not salty at all!

samples

Smoked salmon.

salmon

Some for takeaway?

jasons gourmet kitchen

Jason's Gourmet Kitchen for cooking demonstrations.

I skipped the SAVOUR Wine floor after being boozed out, a decision I completely regret since there were a number of established wine labels and bakeries too! Baker and Carpenter for one.

What I loved:


Well ventilated and cooling area to dine! Hooray to that instead of sharing bar top tables with strangers and jostling to balance the plates. I finally got to eat in comfort, as I would in any of their restaurants.

The servers all took the initiative to note your name on each order cheat to prevent confusion but then again, this system could work against people who have more common names.

Food was all served piping hot as compared to lukewarm moments last year. 

Very organized clear and trash system with ready helpers all around. I went on the first day so hopefully this gets sustained through the horrific weekends.

What I didn't:

Too little time to cover too many things - a happy problem truly. It is such a mad rush to try most of the dishes and still make an attempt on a workshop or twirl of the SAVOUR Market.

dollars

Never enough SAVOUR dollars to spend - yet another happy problem for the organizers. Standchart did a lovely tie up for additional 10% top up of vouchers so that's brilliant for cardholders!

nespresso

SAVOUR 2012 was an eye opening experience, 2013 is bigger, better and definitely worth a visit. Organizers have sought to improve on the experience since last year which is  a heartening gesture. Until 2014, celebrate the delicious I shall!

savour

Tickets are available on sistic and word has it that just the passes are already sold out and left with the premier ones.

A foodie born to eat, shop and travel. Forced to work.

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