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Restaurant Labyrinth @ Esplanade

12:00 PM 0 Comments

DSC_0414 I'm not sure exactly when I started being interested in paying Restaurant Labyrinth a visit and then never got down to doing so. What better time than a birthday, right?


Fortunately or unfortunately for me, having a birth date always so close to CNY means some of the magic about the occasion is lost to CNY and the menus are mostly festive catered.


Thankfully, their regular menus are still available and off I was whisked to be surprised by this award winning team.
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This cute as can be table décor, this pestle and mortar sure reminds me of the grand old days where these were useful for grinding herbs!




Snacks from the Streets

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Bak Kwa scone with hand churned butter served alongside a medley of close to heart favourites. The team reinterpreted

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Panfried radish cake, rojak fritter and chwee kueh in the style of nasi lemak. Each was just so outstanding, it was a party in my mouth and these elements reminded me how much of a melting pot of cultures my little red dot is. DSC_0435 That moment of eureka when my rojak fritter gave, the pop of peanut sauce was both a surprise and familiarity. Chwee kueh too looked like any ordinary rice kueh turned out to be ketupat inspired, and topped with a dollop of ikan bilis belachan. So small, so tasty.


All the foods I grew up with and it truly, felt just like home at Labyrinth.

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Dumpling
"Chicken Rice"

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All the elements of chicken rice in a single morsel, this was beginning to taste a lot like molecular gastronomy. I love that chewy dumpling skin, every bite brings out more flavor in the morsel and before long, it felt like I consumed my plate of chicken rice complete with chilli and ginger garnishing. Pwoar, if I may add.

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Hokkaido Scallop
"Bak Chor Mee"

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Of all the list of hawker foods, bak chor mee reigns supreme and I had high expectations of this. Squid noodles, anchovy powder and seared Hokkaido scallops made my bowl of bak chor mee shine like a hawker gem - wordlessly satisfying and I cannot help but muse "why portion so small!"

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Tiger Prawn, Umami
"Har Cheong Porridge"


Har Cheong Gai I've eaten, and this porridge version sure had a play on both words and flavours. This was in actual fact tiger prawn risotto.





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Japanese Soft Shell Crab
"Labyrinth signature chilli crab"




Top marks for creativity and this is probably most signature of Labyrinth. A deep fried soft shell crab and a chilli crab icecream with contrasting textures and temperatures. In a strange yet very magical manner, with eyes closed this is chilli crab.


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2 Cut Indonesian Pork
"Char Siew Rice"


Good effort on the rice krispies, pickled fruit and trying to replicate a deconstructed char siew rice yet I would have preferred the real deal anyday with the char, sticky sauce and steaming hot rice.



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Black Angus Short Rib


Sous vide made this predictable and somewhat boring even. It was one of those dishes that could have been presented before in another restaurant. No surprises here.



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Clam Leaf Snow
"Ice Kachang"




Shaved ice with fruit and wafer shards made this palatte cleanser such a prettyful sight.



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Cristal De Chine Caviar and Kaya
"Kaya Butter Toast"


I did not get the purposes of caviar in my dessert - and that's when the confusion really seeped in. Why did my mains have dessert elements and dessert have main course elements.



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Petit Fours of butter in pandan shells and a really dry kueh baluhu. I am guessing the reason for including a wedge of butter is to bring things a full circle - we started and ended with hand churned butter.
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Impressed or not, remains a separate story altogether.






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Thanks to the staff who bothered enough to buy me a cake though they do not bake their own - Happy Birthday once again to me!



The $118 menu is a permanent stay and for returning customers, I'm not sure what other surprises could be in store apart from the ingredients being replaced with the equivalent. That said, while I thought it was promising at the start, the mains somehow took a nosedive and rendered a meal less spectacular than it started out.


Michelin starred or not, I applaud the guts of Chef Li putting modern sin cuisine on the table. It is not easy getting creative with food that we Singaporeans have known all our lives to be cheap, affordable and tasty. For sure there were moments that I'd pick the reinterpreted over the original but by and large, the surprises were lacking at the more impressionable parts of the meal.


Restaurant Labyrinth
Esplanade

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

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