SINGAPORE — Most times, when I write a review, I would have no difficulty identifying who the restaurant would best serve. A long-awaited date night with a sweeping view of Marina Bay? Zafferano. A birthday celebration with family? Kin. An eclectic friend with a penchant for gastronomically exciting cuisine? Caffe Fernet.
But with Restaurant Euphoria, I find it quite hard to place an intent to the name. Having had the rare and coveted opportunity to dine here recently, I walked away with the realisation that places like this are less a playhouse for the casual diner, and more of an exciting, undulating, unwinding maze of gastronomical prowess for the most discerning.
Restaurant Euphoria at Tras Street is, of course, the brainchild of the darling of Singapore’s haute cuisine, Jason Tan, who once staged at Corner House at Botanic Garden, earning the restaurant a respectable one Michelin star award in 2016, 2017, and 2018 and earned a place in Asia’s 50 best restaurants in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019.
For this new outfit, Chef Tan has not strayed too far from the concept of Gastro-Botanico which he coined as a way to express this never-before-seen cuisine of his creation succinctly. The venue might have changed from a garden to an urban setting, but his dedication and commitment to les legumes have not changed one bit.
Restaurant Euphoria demands you leave otherworldly pleasures behind as these heavy wood doors pull shut, reducing the noise of the outside to but a simmering whimper. At your feet, a pebbled and stone-paved way guides the self into a 26-seater space dominated by natural elements of stone, wood, and shrubbery with a clear interior motif heavily inspired by Chef Jason Tan’s favourite vegetable—the onion. The cement walls and gold ceiling light fixture curves to mimic the layers of les oignon, a poetic motivation that inspires one to metaphorically peel back intentions and motives to discover a deeper meaning to life, love, and food.
This gilded mise en scene is dedicated to the education and preservation of natural botanical flavour essences derived from pure extraction and reduction without the use of roux or starch. It's a process that demands that elusive concept of time to coax delicate flavours out of the simplest and humblest of ingredients such as onions, carrots, celery, and tomatoes.
In a way, the courses here but serve as a stage from which these essences shine. It’s a deliberate and strategic move away from emphasising each plate’s more visible elements—fish, lamb, lobster, rice—to bring undivided attention to the sauces that grace each presentation.
To ease the diner, the 6 or 8-course dinner (from S$208++ to S$258++ without alcohol pairing) starts with a trio of Amuse Bouche that plays on conceptual theories of flavour and texture. There’s a Wagyu tartare that, when mixed with Yuzu koshu, fish roe, light soya sauce, and sesame oil into a compact finger sandwich, makes for a delicate play of beefiness against a touch of acidity. The Feuille de brick is an elegant presentation of Chervil root purée and caviar while the dosai-inspired Perle Noir Oyster, layered with shiso and coconut chutney and brought to life with bits of bright finger lime.
The paean to botanicals starts with a Légumes Essence, a simple but effective combination of onions and kombu used to great effect in the Oignon Jamboree. The onion purée and pearl onion lend a subtle sweetness that’s such a delight to uncover on a presentation that’s almost too pretty to pick on. There’s also a wildly generous spoonful of S Allium Oscietra prestige caviar on the smoked eel onion parfait, which, in itself, is deliberately mild with an impressive oiliness that made me gasp, bite upon bite.
This is swiftly followed by Bomba Rice that sits in an encasement of fermented Jasmine rice tuile, pan-fried to give it that gorgeous brown hue of toasty crust. Within, sits a helping of Spanish bomba rice, cooked with grilled Japanese mirugai. It is the first dish tonight with a slightly more layered flavour profile supported boldly by the char from the oven-baked rice. It is, undoubtedly, less complicated than the other légumes-inspired creations, but is nonetheless a welcome respite from culinary complexities. Even a food writer needs to breathe.
Elsewhere, Maine Lobster takes centre stage though what won me over is the white wine in the sauce with its touch of sourness that mingles so beautifully with the sweetness of the Légumes Vin Blanc, here made with onions, shallots, carrots, olive oil, ginger, white wine, herbs, and spices. But then, I am also duly distracted by the sculptural masterpiece of the ribbons of carrots at the side, spiced to no end with whiffs of cumin, coriander, and star anise.
The Patin Fish course is a thoughtful exercise on using a type of fish seldom drawn upon in fine dining, and more usually found in Chinese cuisine. It is no less flavourful (in no small part due to brining) and incredibly flaky, here elevated with the Légumes Emulsion made with butter and three cabbages—long, brown, and Beijing. There are also squid strips solely for bite and resistance, which helps since everything is so texturally smooth. There’s also salt in many places on this plate, which I enjoyed, being a passionate lover of savouriness and all.
Mains concludes with a Lamb Neck course featuring Demi Glace as the sauce, made with a medley of vegetables and the addition of red wine. The lamb is, of course, divine and tender with pockets of fat that defies belief—and I’ve seen many fatty lambs, please. And then there are the garlic scapes, more commonly known as suantai, served two ways—puréed and pan-fried.
As the night comes to a close, I’m presented with Celery, a brave thing of a dessert that’s easily the most daring course for the evening. In a small bowl, sits a celery granita with a slight pronouncement of sesame flavour that comes and then goes and then comes back again, very briefly and very quaintly. It’s courageous because how often do you get celery in a granita form?
A more familiar tasting dessert would be the Sweet Corn, a balanced beauty using the most unexpected ingredient: corn. The buckwheat coated with 32% dulcey gives it a substantive texture like a crunch heard across the world. I absolutely adored the cornflake semi-froddo too—it’s such a nostalgic taste of childhood that is if you’re the type who grew up with cornflakes and milk for a great start to the morning.
Don’t quote me on this but my gut tells me that Restaurant Euphoria is borne (and duly designed) for a great dining experience as well as to clinch that elusive Michelin star. If today’s dinner is anything to go by, Chef Jason Tan hardly has anything standing in his way to achieving culinary greatness once again. Vegetables got him to where he is today and vegetables, in all its wonder and complexities, is what will make him stay—carrots, onions, celery, and all.
Website | 76 Tras Street, S790151
Tue to Sat: 6.30pm – 11pm
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