You won’t ever be bored dining at Caviar. Caviar changes its menus according to the freshest product of the season, and it has launched its latest summer menu that is available from 18 July to 30 September. The new five-course Gifts of Summer Menu ($228) incorporates new dishes that incorporate the freshest of this season’s flavors, and is supplemented by perennial favorite dishes that are a hit with all fans of Caviar, available on an a la carte basis.
Helming the fort at Caviar this season is sous chef Joshua Hariharan, whose career has been forged from stints from some of my favorite places here in Singapore: Salted and Hung, LeVeL 33, and Cure. Chef Joshua’s repertoire of skills and experience is obviously influenced by his stints and I detected quite a lot of familiarity of flavors (in a very good way!) when I tried the menu.
Beef Tallow Brioche and Rye Bread
I didn’t really think the rye bread was very different from the other versions I’ve tried, but it went well with the caviar butter that was provided. But, the beef tallow brioche immediately grabs you by the senses and tells you that everything tonight is just gonna be great. I love creamy beef tallow that have a healthy dose of chargrilled flavors and this brioche is just slathered in that. Gorgeous.
Foie Gras Toast
The first appetizer on the menu was an indulgent foie gras ‘snow’ toast on pain de mie. The curing techniques using brandy, port wine, pink salt, and lemon was reminiscent of Salted and Hung and Chef Joshua clearly has used this experience to a huge advantage. This was as much fun to eat as it was to decipher the layers of flavor hidden in it.
Artichokes are not very familiar to us folks in this part of the world, but I loved this root vegetable with its earthy and robust flavors. Chef Joshua chose to make an espuma out of the roasted flesh of this vegetable, lightening up the weightiness of the earthy flavors, but still retaining the artichoke’s own skin for a nice presentation. I even enjoyed popping a peppercorn or two along with eating the espuma for a different angle on its flavors.
Cod Fish Croquette
To be honest, this is to me the least complex of the 3 starters. Nonetheless, still thoroughly enjoyable. I can't imagine you not enjoying crispy fried black cod done expertly, with a dollop of fresh uni on top. Simple to eat, and elegant in taste. Perfect with some champagne.
I cannot remember if I ever had blue prawns. I had eaten some exotic seafood before but this has to be one of the most fascinating prawns I have ever eaten. These are blue prawns from New Calendonia, and they taste almost fruit-like in sweetness. This is served with pickled apple marinate, banana flower shallots, and dried advocado. The dollops you see are advocado puree, prawn cream, Egyptian flower puree, with Polanco Siberian Grand Cru caviar. Mango and Chili Kombucha give this dish a piqant and acidic finish. This has flavor complexities that require you to decode in several bites and I wish there was more for me to chew and ruminate on the flavors!
Sakoshi Bay Oyster
This is an oyster that I am familiar with, having seen it in some Kappo-style restaurants. Chef Joshua’s take on this is think enhance its thick creamy flavors and use a broth to do so because of its thick and supple textures. The broth has potatoes, leek, and full cream; augmented with smoked sturgeon, cured salted lemon, and sea asparagus. Creamy, briny, and brilliant.
We continued this seafood journey with Japanese flounder that is first poached, and then grilled. Topped with puff buckwheat for an interesting juxtaposition to the suppleness of the flounder. Caviar, fresh uni and also uni custard, and finished, with a chowder of apple cider, mussles, and dill oil. Incredible amount of flavors and I feel a little overwhelmed with the flavor direction I was being pulled at. This needed a good white to snap my taste buds into focus and it was really super enjoyable after that.
Hokkaido A4 Wagyu
Expertly broiled Japanese A4 Wagyu with a thick beef bone marrow crust. This was the elevation from that beef tallow brioche and I was glad this rounded off the main courses that we had. This dish was a roar of beef-y flavors, kinda like listening to full blooded heavy metal in a sea of insipid pop tune. The accompaniments of roasted banana flower shallot stuffed with pulled beef, and beef jus glaze with pickled mustard seats, charred cauliflower marinated in beef garum could’ve been stronger in flavors, could’ve been crunicher, but I didn’t mind. Metal is metal.
Now, by ending the main course on such a high, to start your engines again with such a delicate dessert of chia seed jelly and pickled starfruit, with yuzu and pear sorbet and yogurt meringue, required quite a shift in gears. I understood what Chef Joshua was trying to do, but for me, this was a step quite far.
Marshmellow with French Caviar De Neuvic Baeri