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CEN IND Q1 2018

BLACKBOOK IN THE KNOW

BLACKBOOK IN THE KNOW Global Gourmand On our culinary radar: three Asian hot spots and a new Australian flavour of the moment, plus the best epicurean tomes. By ALEXANDER LOBRANO Aged mandarin sorbet, peanut soup and halwa Kanzuri risotto, carabinero, 25-year-old balsamic vinegar and nasturtium leaf NEW-AGE SINGAPORE “It’s crossroads cooking that bridges science and craft,” says the Brazil-born, Singapore-based chef Ivan Brehm about the dishes he prepares in the open kitchen of Nouri, the new 40-seater restaurant he opened last May after leaving the kitchen at Bacchanalia, where he won his first Michelin star. Brehm arrived in Singapore after a remarkable globetrotting career that began with culinary school in Brazil and the Culinary Institute of America, followed by stints in the kitchen at Per Se in New York, Mugaritz in Spain, Hibiscus in London, and then four years as the development chef in the experimental kitchen at Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck. This distinguished CV to one side, he has an angelic style all his own, which comes through in the regularly changing roster of dishes that compose his five- or seven-course tasting menus. Standouts from a recent meal included brilliantly original plates with unexpected juxtapositions of flavours and textures, including a starter of salad leaves with spiced cashew cream, trout roe and pickled lemon, and grouper prepared in two different ways – one version of the fish with cultured Sarawak green pepper and wild ginger kinilaw, and the other with coriander oil, charred pickled carrot and black pepper sauce. Brehm’s creativity always demonstrates a certain serenity and steely gastronomic logic, since there’s never anything affected or discordant about his cooking. The dining room itself is a pleasantly relaxed place, and service is flawless. nouri.com.sg PHOTOS PHOTOS CXXXXXXXXX © NOURI 30 CENTURION-MAGAZINE.COM

PHOTOS CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: © LE COMPTOIR DE PIERRE GAGNAIRE (2), © HAPPY PARADISE, © HONG KONG FOOD TOURS LIMITED (2), © HAPPY PARADISE SHANGHAI STAR French chef Pierre Gagnaire, who holds three Michelin stars at his original restaurant in Paris, has opened an elegant new restaurant in the former French Concession neighbourhood of China’s largest city. “Shanghai is fascinating and very gastronomic. I’ve wanted to be there for a while, but I was waiting for the right location and the right cast,” Gagnaire explains. Le Comptoir de Pierre Gagnaire at the Capella hotel, which occupies a low-rise 1930s villa complex, has chic, Art Deco-inflected décor with French doors opening on to a garden courtyard. The kitchen is helmed by chef Romain Chapel, the son of the late Alain Chapel, who was one of the founders of Nouvelle Cuisine, which modernised French cooking by making it fresher and lighter. Romain, who previously cooked at Gagnaire’s Sketch in London, has a light, sophisticated style that references both his father and Gagnaire, but is entirely his own. Among the dishes not to miss are the elegant ginger-flavoured lobster fricassée with cinnamon-seasoned wheat semolina and diced apples and the lamb crépinettes, a fine patty of minced lamb with grilled cabbage. Superb desserts come by way of pastry chef Clément Ayache – be sure to leave space for the praline profiteroles. pierre-gagnaire.com Clockwise from top left: chefs Javier and Chow; Happy Paradise‘s xinjiang spice roasted aubergine and courgette; treats from a Hong Kong Foodie tour John Javier and May Chow Hong Kong Heat An all-encompassing food experience and a groundbreaking female chef enhance the city’s culinary credentials GOURMET GURUS Hong Kong is one of the world’s most foodobsessed places, with an intriguingly multilayered gastronomic culture that ranges from simple but spectacularly delicious street food to an impressive cluster of some of the globe’s top Michelin-starred restaurants. The best way for a foodlover to begin to take on this banquet of delights is with one of the three excellent Englishlanguage tours offered by Hong Kong Foodie Tours, a group of natives who take a real pleasure in sharing and explaining their city’s indigenous cooking style. The Sham Shui Po tour, for example, includes visits to outof-the-way addresses Le Bar at the Capella exudes old-world glamour Le Comptoir‘s Tarbouriech oysters gaya like Hop Yik Tai to sample local favourites such as rice-flour rolls with homemade peanut sauce, hoisin and chilli jam, and A1 Tofu Company to try the wonderfully refreshing tofu dessert with ginger syrup. hongkongfoodietours.com CHOW’S CHOW “Being a celebrated female chef comes with a sense of social duty,” says May Chow, who was born in Toronto and first discovered her love of cooking while studying for a degree in hotel management at Boston University. “I want to set a strong example for those who follow in my footsteps and increase the world’s awareness of women in the culinary professions,” says Chow, who went on to cook in Los Angeles with James Cameron and then at Alvin Leung’s brilliant Hong Kong restaurant Bo Innovation CONTACT CENTURION SERVICE FOR BOOKINGS CENTURION-MAGAZINE.COM 31

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