Xperience Restaurant at Sofitel So Singapore has a new chef at helm - Chef Trevor Paulo, to continue creating a dining experience that is So Singapore. The focus is on European cuisine but coming out from his kitchen expect something less conventional. His kitchen is not just simply being open-concept, it is an immersive one. You, as a guest, may join him as he cooks. From my experience, he is more than willing to share some of the tips which he himself has mastered through experimenting, trial and errors.
Cured Salmon (tasting portion) 4/5
We started off the evening with Cured Salmon ($25), accompanied by cucumber shavings, pickled cauliflower and tobikos. Dressed in homemade fermented apple juice, I love the tanginess and acidity of this dish. The pickled cauliflower has an exceptional crunch and Chef Trevor has shared with me his 'secret recipe' in doing it. It is so simple, yet versatile. I could use this technique on any vegetables that I want to pickle! I drank up the fermented apple juice to the last drop and I don't mind learning how to do that too.
Spanner Crab 3.5/5
The Spanner Crab ($25) share a similar Japanese vibe with the Lobster Jelly I had at Froth. The saltish, moreish elements are there, especially with the crispy seaweed crackers. However, I felt it lacks tanginess and perhaps my taste buds ain't sensitive enough, the Japanese ingredients Wasabi ‘Snow’and Sansho, fail to create any punch for the dish. What a pity.
Beef Short Rib (tasting portion) 3.5/5
For mains, we had Beef Short Rib and Lamb Confit ($38 each). One unique characteristic of Chef Trevor's beef short rib is that everything on the plate, apart from the broccolini are onions. As for the brown leaf, it is actually made of 'onion paper'. Pretty impressive. The method of doing it is rather technical, you may ask Chef if you are curious about it. Sous Vide for 36 to 48 hours, the wagyu beef short rib has attained a pleasing level of tenderness with its fats intact. I'm not too sure whether is it due to the preparation process, the meat was kind of loose and I felt it lacked the rich flavour and juiciness of a good meat. The saving grace came from the shallot sauce, that brought everything together with its deep caramalised sweetness.
Lamb Confit 3.5/5
The Lamb Confit was beautiful with bright mustardy ginger carrot puree, perfuming our surrounding with a mouth-watering curry aroma. It got stronger as you put it into your mouth but the curry taste was somehow absent. It turned out that it was hardly any curry but Vadouvan, a French spice that smells like curry but minus the heat. Made using lamb neck, the tenderness of the meat reminds me of beef brisket. Still a little gamey for me though.
Chocolate Dome 2.8/5
Our desserts were a little disappointing. Chocolate Dome ($24) was served with a dome which melted away gradually under the hot vanilla cremeux. Made with 70% cocoa, it was like watching a premium hot chocolate being made right in front of my eyes. What is unfortunate, was that the hazelnut ice cream within the dome melted away together with the chocolate. So much for a hot chocolate but where is the hazelnut ice cream?
Carrot Cake 2.5/5
Their Carrot Cake ($22) didn't quite excite me either. We had a dollop of cream cheese mousse atop which had a lightness that I like. Supposed to be a deconstructed version, other than the loose cream cheese, I thought the cake itself was already quite 'completed', hence I feel the other elements such as the maple soil, white chocolate crumbles cluttered the cake and made it cloying. The apricot sorbet itself was quite refreshing but would have complement the cake better should it be less sweet.
If you plan to hold a special celebration, Xperience has the latest Xperience Celebrations, with Chef Trevor personally creates a customised dessert right before you, like an artist drawing a self portrait for you. We were lucky to have 2 chefs to double up this unique experience, one creating a colourful, vibrant artwork, which reminded me of Alice in Wonderland, while the other was gold and glamour. The Xperience Celebrations is most suitable for parties of two to four, and is priced at SGD 100++ for four.
Using seasonal produce, expect change of menu in every season for different experiences. Although there are hits and misses for me, I feel each and every dish has its own interesting element to engage my senses throughout the entire evening. If you ever drop by, just like me, you may even bring home really useful cooking tips from Chef Trevor!
Written and photograph by Si An. A girl who is allured by travelling, loves the feel of freedom, smell of the rain and the aroma of fine coffee and food. Note: This is an invited tasting.
Sofitel So Hotel Singapore
35 Robinson Road
Nearest MRT: Raffles Place (EW Line, NS Line), Tanjong Pagar (EW Line), Telok Ayer (DT Line)
Daily: 630am - 1030pm
1) Alight at Raffles Place MRT station. Take Exit I. Walk to Robinson Road. Turn left onto Robinson Road and walk towards Lau Pa Sat. Continue walking down Robinson Road to destination. Journey time about 12 minutes. [Map]
2) Alight at Tanjong Pagar MRT station. Take Exit F. Turn left onto Robinsion Road. Cross the road and walk down Robinson Road. Walk to destination. Journey time about 12 minutes. [Map]
3) Alight at Telok Ayer MRT station. Take Exit A. Turn right and walk down Cross Street. At the junction of Cross Street and Robinson Street, cross the road and turn right onto Robinson Street. Walk towards Lau Pa Sat and continue to destination. Journey time about 12 minutes. [Map]