In a matter of days, Singapore’s endlessly enthusiastic dining crowd will have a new fine dining restaurant to throng to. And this one’s been a long time coming. Singaporean son Jason Tan will open his much-anticipated Restaurant Euphoria with business partner Arissa Wang as soon as the last touches are finely finished by their contractors who had to put down their tools earlier this year when the coronavirus hurled a spanner in their works.
The intimate earth-toned space could not be more different than Corner House at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, Tan’s former place of work, which he helped earn its Michelin star. Set on the ground floor of a beautifully restored shophouse along Tras Street, the 26-seater Restaurant Euphoria is warm, sinuous and kissed with gilded accents that impart stylish modernity to its tropical vibe.
While Tan will continue to purvey his brand of “gastro-botanica”, expect nothing of the food he used to serve at Corner House. As he explains, the concept of gastro-botanica stemmed not from Corner House’s location within the Botanic Gardens as popularly thought, but from his love for vegetables. “That has always been part of my personal style, but I am further developing and evolving the cuisine at Restaurant Euphoria because I know I have a lot more to offer,” he explains.
To that end, Euphoria’s dishes are underpinned by four “essences” made only from vegetables. Where traditional French restaurants are rooted in rich mother sauces such as béchamel, veloute, espagnole and hollandaise, Tan chose to create the likes of demi-glace and vin blanc using only botanical produce. “Many people don’t realise that vegetables can provide great complexity of flavour,” he says. “In some ways, it’s a challenge to myself since I have a new restaurant and I want to offer a new facet of my cuisine to my diners.”
To be sure, Restaurant Euphoria is not a vegetarian restaurant. “I love my vegetables, but that doesn’t mean I want to only eat vegetables,” chirps the jovial chef. As before, his cuisine highlights humble plants as the dishes’ stars.
To wit, a carrot is slivered ever so thinly that it may be twirled into a tight pinwheel then brined and slow-cooked in a house-blend of five spice, olive oil and brown butter. This is served with a saffron sauce made from one of his base sauces, legumes vin blanc, which itself takes an entire day to prepare. To accompany the carrot is a simply torched lobster tail.