SINGAPORE (July 9): Discover delightful facets of European cuisine with these seasonal specials.

German spring

Chef Benjamin Halat’s new eight-course tasting menu at Curate is a contemporary interpretation of classic German dishes. It comprises three parts: Brotzeit, Abendbrot and Nascherein, which loosely translate into “snack time”, “dinner” and “sweet things”, respectively.

The first part is presented in a picnic setting, replete with a basketful of goodies to be spread out and enjoyed from a patch of carpet grass at the table’s centre. Popular German snacks such as Krabben Brötchen and Leberwurst Brot — shrimp sandwiches and liverwurst on bread — have been turned into artful canapés to match shot glass-sized mugs of lemon verbena beer.

Radi & Rauch (pictured, left) is a fish daikon roll dressed in spring flowers and smoked briefly with charcoal for a theatrical touch. Meanwhile, Scheweinshaxe & Sauerkraut is the chef’s take on Germany’s iconic dish in the form of a crispy pork knuckle praline, together with a dish of clear sauerkraut jelly infused with dark beer and parsley emulsion. 

Brotzeit ends with Almdudler, a herbal lemonade that chef Halat himself enjoyed as a young boy during family hikes in Germany. His version, however, features over 40 types of roots, flowers and herbs, nearly half of which are collected from the Alps.
The decadence of Abendbrot is foreshadowed in Forelle Mullerin Art, a fillet of trout poached in pine needle-infused butter and topped with almond cream, crumble and gel. This is followed by Spargelzeit featuring a single stalk of white asparagus dressed in asparagus cream, puffed buckwheat and salted egg yolk with a French Gillardeau oyster on the side. Whetting the appetite is Russisches Ei, an incredibly fluffy egg soufflé topped with Beluga caviar, although meat lovers would prefer the charcoal-grilled Wylarah sirloin in Zwiebelrostbraten (main image), an elevated rendition of the German pub favourite decorated with onions and vibrantly hued chive sauce. Himmel & Äd is an Atlantic cod roll wrapped in yellow and black-striped black onion omelette, and plated with fork-mashed potato, red onion chutney and apple ragu to represent heaven (himmel) and earth (äd).

For Nascherein, Sanddorn combines a crunchy sea buckthorn berry sherbet with gin-infused buttermilk foam on lemon verbena gel. This citrusy concoction gives the palate a full wipe-down to prepare it for the milky-sweet notes of chef Halat’s Omis Edbeerkuchen — his grandmother’s strawberry cake in almond tartlet form, topped with sour cream, sabayon cream as well as fresh strawberries

The Spring menu is available until August and priced at $188++ per person for eight courses; $168++ for six courses (excluding Spargelzeit and Himmel & Äd); and $128++ for five (excluding Spargelzeit, Himmel & Äd and Russisches Ei).

Level 1, The Forum
Resorts World Sentosa
Tel: 6577 7288 
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday: 6.30pm to 10.30pm Closed on Sunday and Monday

English afternoon tea

L’Espresso, the lobby-level café lounge at Goodwood Park Hotel, is holding its Victorian English Afternoon Tea buffet with a combination of both signature items and British teatime treats. The buffet is available from as early as noon from the first seating on weekends for “tunch” (tea and lunch combined) — an ideal arrangement given the variety of dishes available.

Lunchworthy hot savouries include Braised Pork with Stout in Hot Pot served with Homemade Brioche; Toad in the Hole, a classic sausage bake; Fish and Chips with Malt Vinegar; Cottage Pie; and Mini Corned Beef and Leek Quiche. In the sandwich and croissant selection are English-inspired finger sandwiches such as Beef Wellington (parma ham, beef pastrami and portobello confit) and Three Little Pigs (smoked pork, gammon and meatloaf), as well as the Coronation Chicken and Mango Chutney and Almonds open-faced sandwich, inspired by the original recipe created for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

L’Espresso’s traditional English scones, a perennial favourite, have also returned to the buffet table, served with a selection of jams, marmalade, and Devonshire clotted cream and butter. But do save space for sweet endings in the form of British-style puddings, trifles and tarts, in addition to the café’s popular cake selections and a chocolate fountain. Besides creations unique to the Victorian English Afternoon Tea, there are also signature items such as cold delicatessens, soups and a live carving station featuring Baked Salmon Florentine Puff served with Wild Rice and Horseradish Cream. Guests can wash it all down with two rounds of either freshly brewed coffee or tea, or premium coffees or TWG Tea.

The Victorian English Afternoon Tea is available until July 22 from 2pm to 5.30pm on Monday to Thursday at $45++ per adult and $22.50++ per child; or noon to 2.30pm (1st seating) and 3pm to 5.30pm (2nd seating) on Friday to Sunday and public holidays at $48++ per adult and $24++ per child.

L’Espresso (Goodwood Park Hotel)
22 Scotts Road
Singapore 228221
Tel: 6730 1743

Memories of Italy

After over a decade in Singapore heading the kitchens of establishments such as Zafferano and Garibaldi, chef Marco Guccio has finally decided to pursue his lifelong dream of setting up his own restaurant. Guccio Ristorante is a tribute to the Guccio family and the Milano-born chef’s days growing up in Sicily, with summers spent at his grandmother’s home in Calabria. Fragments of chef Guccio’s heritage and childhood memories have been combined to present his latest seasonal degustation menu, which brings together both northern and southern Italian traditions and ranges from four to six courses.

It kicks off with an antipasto of Sicilian red prawns from Mazara, surrounded by dots of green pea coulis and lemon-scented buffalo ricotta cheese for a vibrant presentation. For the next course, choose either the seasonal green asparagus chilled soup or a poached and pan-seared Sardinian octopus leg (pictured, right), or opt for both. The former is served lukewarm and contains morsels of stracciatella — made with the heart of burrata cheese — and topped with bright clusters of trout roe to balance out the soup’s creamy, natural sweetness with a savoury crunch. It is, however, the latter antipasti that is the chef’s personal favourite, not just because of its uniquely firm and tender texture, but also for the memories he associates it with. As a 10-year-old, he would venture out onto the rocky coasts of Sicily with his uncle to fish for the cephalopods using their limbs as bait — a sure-fire way to catch an octopus, says the chef.

Diving into the mains, the first dish is wild pigeon meat prepared and presented in three different ways — with stuffed tortellini alternating with sous-vide and panseared breast meat, and vanilla essence mixed in with sauce made from pigeon bones. To balance out the flavours and textures of this gamey trio, it is served atop dabs of celery root puree. Chef Guccio’s popular US prime beef short ribs are also available as an alternative or second course. The squares of the 48-hour sous-vide steak are drenched in veal jus and accompanied with seasonal vegetables and parsnip puree. The final course is a stimulation of senses: the dessert is a veritable garden of light and dark Valrhona chocolate cream and thins, juxtaposed against tart raspberry jelly and a bed of sea salt crumble.

The seasonal tasting menu is available until end-July and is priced from $98++ to $128++ for four to six courses, respectively, excluding wine pairing.

Guccio Ristorante
20 Gemmill Lane
Singapore 069256
Tel: 6224 1684
Opening hours: Monday to Friday: 11.30am to 2.30pm (lunch), 5.30pm to 10.30pm (dinner) Saturday: 5.30pm to 10.30pm
Closed on Sunday