Picking one fancy dinner in Singapore was difficult. As the new Top 100 restaurants had just been released, choosing somewhere exceptional (and expensive) like Andre or Waku Ghin was possible but something more specifically Singapore seemed like a good idea. That left two options - the "mod Sin" at Wild Rocket or the "neo Sin" at Labyrinth.
In the end, the molecular got to me and Labyrinth it was. It isn't cheap - $98 for the basic, $128 for the extended and $158 for the full. And this is before the service and taxes of about 20% extra. I had to hope the Best New 2014 Restaurant and Best Asian Fine Dining Restaurant in Singapore 2015 would make up for it. It didn't make the San Pellegrino Top 100 world or Top 50 Asia so that was something to be wary of.
The menu is based around Singapore street food as one might eat during a typical 24 hours - although the flavours are arranged as a more standard entree/main/dessert type.
- Tingkat "radish cake, rojak, nasi lemak" - a seared radish cake, a puff of rojak and a chewy disk of nasi lemak;
- Hokkaido Scallop "bak chor mee" - what a great dish to really kick things off. Chewy squid noodles with saffron, scallops depicted as fish cake, powdered anchovy and tapioca powder with a touch of sambal.
- Lardo “chicken rice” - Hainanese chicken rice in the form of a delicate slice of tofu, covered with chicken powder and chicken lard and the typical soy/sesame/ginger/scallion flavour. Great and perfect flavour although would have loved more of it;
- Otoro “char siew & siew yoke fan” - tuna belly served as a nigiri flavoured as char siew and half-grilled as a cube of "roast pork" topped with pork skin. It is interesting but the quality of tuna belly wasn't allowed to shine;
- Cod “XO fish” - an excellent fish of piece, crisp skin with a thin layer of fat served with a fake tomato made from actual tomato served with a very mild sauce from XO.
- Spices “OCK curry puff” - a hard-boiled quail egg sits atop a curry crumb nest with a bit of meat hidden beneath.
- Foie Gras “peking duck” - a foie gras lollipop coated in hoi sin sauce with duck skin sitting on a blackened uncooked (inedible) potato stand. The foie gras was very creamy and a little hidden piece of cucumber was unexpected;
- Soft Shell Crab “chili crab” - a beautiful fried soft shell crab with great flavour, contrasted by an unusual cold Singapore chilli crab-flavoured ice cream, crab foam and the sand made of fried mantou crumb (which didn't seem to add much);
- Seasonal Oyster “orh luak” - a deep fried oyster with an egg custard topped with salmon roe. The leaf tasted exactly like a fresh oyster, down the metallic ocean aftertaste - I can't comprehend how this happened...;
- Boston Lobster “hokkien mee” - soft slices of lobster in a nice savoury sauce and recommended to slide over the pork fat candle before devouring.
- palate cleanser - pineapple sorbet
- Meringue “teh tarik” - an odd rendition of toast that was a bit more melted and creamy and quite sweet;
- Soft Boiled Eggs “mango sticky rice” - a hollowed shell filled with an "egg" of firm sticky rice, mango yolk and topped with black sugary "soy" and crushed almond "pepper";
- Petit Fours - a kaya butter macaron.
The menu is creative and unusual. The flavours do highlight those of a refined version of Singapore street food. The quantity and refinement don't necessarily overtake the satisfaction of a delicious bowl/plate of heavy seasoned and oily food but it's a different quality for a different occasion. The standout dishes (Hokkaido scallop, lardo chicken rice, soft shell crab and Boston lobster) were truly exceptional creations. I'm disappointed I didn't get to try the A4 Wagyu hor fun.