Cover Adrian Pang, Catherine Grace Gardner, Jamie Tan, Shirlyn Tan and Gaurav Kripalani

Good food and drinks are the best pairing for deep, meaningful conversation, and the first instalment of the Blue Vault Dinners is proof of this

To celebrate turning 40 this year, Tatler Singapore has partnered Johnnie Walker Blue Label to launch a series of customised dinner menus with select restaurants across Singapore.

The Blue Vault Dinners was conceived to be more than just exquisite food paired with an exclusive whisky though. Beyond just an elevated fine dining experience, and mimicking the depth of flavours found in every Johnnie Walker Blue bottle, it is also a setting for deep conversations and the exciting exchange of ideas––where perspectives and insights can be shared freely at the table. To that end, the dinners will each explore a different theme, beginning with one focused on Singapore’s arts scene at theatre‑dining concept Madame Fan.

A Feast For The Senses

A mainstay in Singapore’s culinary landscape, Madame Fan’s raison d’être is modern Cantonese cuisine, which the restaurant serves up in its delightful, distinctive style. For its take on The Blue Vault Dinners—the first in the series, no less—head chef Pak Chee Yit sought to “showcase the essence of Cantonese cooking while offering fresh perspectives”. The smooth and sweet yet smoky notes of the Johnnie Walker Blue Label were the prefect complement to his creations, adding extra depth.

Highlights included rich, succulent pork ribs balanced out with zingy pineapple chunks and a rich reduction featuring Johnnie Walker Blue Label, as well as pan‑fried Chilean sea bass topped with yuzu supreme and paired with a dram of the whisky itself. The menu Pak developed showcased the myriad ways Cantonese food can interplay with a good Scotch while retaining the cuisine’s delicate flavours. In turn, Johnnie Walker Blue Label’s depth and complexity were seen through a new lens as an arpeggio of notes playing across the menu’s dishes.

Banter And Perspectives

Of course, good food and drinks alone don’t make for an evening well spent. To properly kick off the inaugural edition of The Blue Vault Dinners, Tatler Singapore hosted an intimate get‑together with a few veterans of the arts scene. The guests were Adrian Pang, actor and artistic director of Singaporean theatre company Pangdemonium; Shirlyn Tan, best known as the frontwoman of Shirlyn and the UnXpected; Gaurav Kripalani, artistic director of the Singapore Repertory Theatre; and actress Catherine Grace Gardner.

The topics for the evening revolved around Singapore’s arts scene, and issues discussed included the storms it has weathered over the past two years, the challenges faced by practitioners today and the conditions it needs to thrive in the years ahead.

Tan, for example, shared about her transition from (and back to) being a live musician in Singapore due to the ban on live music in 2000, which was lifted only earlier this year. Ever the optimist, she also shared her hopes for the community in general, especially in areas such as elevated experiences for audiences now that musicians have levelled up their performances and gained additional tools under their belts.

In the same vein, Pang, Kripalani and Gardner reflected on the collective trauma the theatre community suffered due to the pandemic, and how individuals and companies have banded together to help each other along as the industry adapted to new yet ever-changing norms. From the immediate priorities for the community now that live performances are back in full swing, to the surprising revelations that the pandemic has precipitated, there were nuggets of wisdom aplenty, from different perspectives no less.

Truly, good food, great drinks and the right people in the correct settings can spur such meaningful exchanges quite unlike any other.

The inaugural instalment of The Blue Vault Dinners at Madame Fan ran on selected days in April, and saw enthusiastic responses from both the Tatler community and the general public. The series will continue to feature specially customised menus accentuated by the depth and complexity of Johnnie Walker Blue Label, so stay tuned for further updates, which will be unveiled soon.

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