Monday, November 18, 2019

Kausmo @ Shaw Centre - A Conscientious Dining Concept That Makes You Feel Right At Home

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Kausmo (derived from 'cosmos') at Shaw Centre revolves around the idea of thoughtful and conscientious ways of dining and living. On your table will be dishes created out aesthetically filtered fruits and vegetables that are overstocked, over-ripened, and oddly-shaped and sized. The seafood is sourced from small farming communities in the region, secondary cuts of meat that are often deemed inferior to prime cuts, as well as forgotten native greens and florals. Drawing our attention to food wastage and mindful living is chef Lisa and restaurant manager Chew Shian. Lisa's time in Primo, a restaurant on a farm that adopts zero-waste practices, was the impetus behind Kausmo.

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Stepping into Kausmo, the bubbly duo will make you feel right at home. You will be seated at a communal table that host only 12 pax, in full view of the kitchen over the island counter. Right beside your dining table are shelves filled with Kombucha and a range of house-made products such as Kausmo Hot Sauce, Apple Butter Sauce, Mushroom Pates and BBQ Berry Sauces.

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The Kausmo duo cultivates this conscientious living concept holistically. Despite it being a commercial dining place, on the table, you will find upcycled wood cutlery stands handmade by the Kausmo team, as well as coasters made from upcycling fabrics, created in collaboration with 3EIGHTH, the local company which tailored Kausmo team’s outfits. Such personal touches warm the place, as it reminds me of what my mum would do to the fabric remaining from her work, or from making our bedsheets and couch covers. Porcelain tableware is from Legle Gaia by Legle France, where recycled glaze and small decals printed with ink waste are used to cover iron spots and imperfections, giving new life to each piece.

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Kombucha

Combining European techniques with Asian influences, Kausmo will offer a 6-course Carte Blanche menu at $75++, with Kombucha tasting at an additional $20. There will be 3 different flavours available and served as a course pairing. The viscosity of their Kombucha is similar to that of wines, and they are also sweeter than usual as they are not fermented fully, which is great for diners who ain't used to the vinegary taste in fermented drinks. It won't be my choice as a healthier drink, but I enjoy it as much as I enjoy a non-bubbly dessert wine.

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Jack O Sourdough

To kickstart the dialogues on sustainability and mindful living, at the start of each course, the team will explain the background of the dish, such as using less pretty looking fruits, overstocked berries, etc. As it was Halloween, our menu was extra special with Jack O Sourdough with Peppered Beef Fats Butter. Freshly baked sourdough carried a hint of cinnamon, and slathering the whipped butter over I feel is the best way to enjoy the bread, and the butter itself, not with the peppered beef fats. Sprinkled on top of the butter-like pork lards and given their strong peppery taste, I would imagine flavouring pasta or potatoes would be a better option.

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Beef Tenders Croquette

Whereas for the Beef Tenders Croquette with Beetroot reduction, I enjoyed it thoroughly. Crowned with Caraway flowers, encased within the golden-brown crust was a filling that was moist and well-seasoned. The sweet and tangy beetroot reduction cuts the richness of the beef tenders filling while enriching its flavours at the same time.

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Ginger Fingers with Plum-Merlot Reduction Kausmo Pomodoro dip

For the 2nd appetiser, again I like the Plum-Merlot Reduction on the Ginger Fingers, which was sweet and tart and made the ginger cookie finger-licking good. As for the Kausmo Pomodoro dip, it didn't have that vibrancy that I was looking for.

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Granny Smith & Pear, Ricotta

On the other hand, the next course Granny Smith & Pear, Ricotta & Caramelised Whey and Spiced Chimichurri was refreshing on the senses. Embodying much of the restaurant's ethos, this dish highlights the use of produce that has been rejected by retailers due to their less pleasing appearance. Chew Shian explained their choice of using the less pretty Granny Smith apple and pear, and how pairing them with housemade ricotta and caramelising the whey as a means to repurpose the byproduct, can together form a dish that is both aesthetically pleasing and tasty at the same time.

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Local Softshell Crab with Calamasi Leaves & Natives

Local Softshell Crab with Kausmo Hot sauce features sustainable farmed softshell crabs from a local farm. Supposedly meatier and tastier, the overall enjoyment was let down by the saltish batter. A less seasoned batter would have allowed me to appreciate the hot sauce more. I like the Calamasi Leave and Natives though, which provides a much-needed freshness to the dish.

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Charred Galangal Kurobuta Pork Collar

Both the mains inherit flavours from Lisa's Teochew heritage. The first dish we had was Charred Galangal Kurobuta Pork Collar with Wild Pepper Grainy Mustard, Chestnuts & Apple puree, Veg Jus. Adorned with Brassica flowers and ulam raja, the flowers add interesting flavours to the meat. The flavourful Veg Jus is made by cooking down vegetable remnants, which might have ended in the bin like in some households. Along with the Veg Jus, the creamy Chestnuts & Apple puree helps to mitigate the toughness of the pork collar. Still, I feel perhaps serving it in another form may be more ideal for taking the attention away from its texture.

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Wild Fish Congee

Wild Fish Congee with Preserved Plum & Cai Po, Java Ginseng uses wild snapper. I like the texture of the congee, which was gluey enough but still retained the bite of the rice. Had the pepper been a lot less overwhelming, it would have been a comforting bowl of congee.

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Jasmine-Pandan Jelly

Easing us into our dessert was Jasmine-Pandan Jelly with Mandarin Reduction and Water chestnut. I like how refined it looks with speckles of marigold flowers, and you just want to take some time appreciating its aesthetic before consuming it.

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Cream Cheese Cake

The main dessert was Cream Cheese Cake served with Smoked Blackberry Sherbet and Trigona Berry Drizzle that are made with overripe berries. Made by their friend who runs an ice parlour, the sherbet was light and not overly sweet, and it would have been a star on its own with pairing it with the cake. The cheesecake, however, was nowhere near how a cream cheesecake should be and somehow it tasted more of a store-bought kind of cheesecake. And also, to highlight the use of overripe fruits for their sweetness as a key to this dish doesn't stand out in any manner. Isn't that what majority of us is doing?

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Given the very homely setting and personal touches on various elements within the dining room, dining at Kausmo makes one feels like home. It is like a hybrid between a private chef home dining and commercial dining. Although it is common for establishments to integrate the idea of sustainability into their practices, to build a concept around it is not that simple. It will be a success if you walk away, pondering on ideas how you can integrate their principles into your daily life. However, personally, I won't say Kausmo's experience is inspiring, as much as I wish it will be. Growing up in an environment which we upcycle and repurpose many things in our household (it helps when my mum has very nimble hands), and friends who are pretty much doing the same by buying overstocked fruits and vegetables and turning them into delicious desserts and meals, it is hard for me to see what Kausmo is doing is any different other than rephrasing the ideas in a different manner. Perhaps I need to see more ugly vegetables and roots lying around to be more intrigued. Sometimes it is about accessibility to certain ingredients too. Elements such as native and florals, even if they are available for purchase, I believe they come with a hefty price tag.

Written and photography 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.


Kausmo
Shaw Centre
1 Scotts Road
#03-07
Singapore 228208
Tel: +65 81268538
Facebook
Website
Nearest MRT: Orchard (NS Line)

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 630pm (first seating), 830pm (second seating)
(Closed on Mon and Alternate Sun)

Direction:
Alight at Orchard MRT station. Take Exit A. Walk to destination. Journey time about 8 minutes. [Map]

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Burger & Lobster @ Raffles Hotel Singapore - Second Outlet With Wider Selection Of Lobsters, Burgers and Cocktails

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Following the successful opening of Burger & Lobster at Jewel Changi Airport, it opens a second outlet at Raffles Hotel Singapore, situated at the newly reopened Raffles Arcade. The space is three times larger than the Jewel outlet with a wider selection of lobsters, burgers and cocktails. It also has an outdoor bar and an eclectic fresh seafood counter. Another great news is that guests can make reservations at the new restaurant via their website, unlike Jewel outlet whereby reservation is not allowed.

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"BBQ" Whiskey Sour 4.2/5

From the bar, we started with some pre-dinner drinks. I had the "BBQ" Whiskey Sour ($22++)  which is a concoction of Wild Turkey 101 bourbon, lemon, sugar, charred lapsang souchong and egg white. It is an easy drink to kick start dinner with a hint of smokiness.

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Fresh Seafood Platter 4.5/5

Great for sharing is the Fresh Seafood Platter (Medium $240++). The huge platter comes with freshly shucked oysters, half a lobster, chilled Dutch mussels, king crab legs, Vietnamese tiger prawns and octopus. All served on a bed of ice with samphire, mignonette dressing, chilli and coriander dip and fresh lemon.

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Lobster Rosti 4.2/5

The Lobster Rosti ($18++) makes a perfect brunch item with its slightly crispy exterior topped with gently spiced guacamole, succulent lobster meat, red chilli and fresh lime.

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Kale & Quinoa Salad 4/5

For a healthy luxury salad, one can go for the Kale & Quinoa Salad ($65++). The kale comes with quinoa avocado, dried fig, cranberry and roasted walnuts. Not to forget the bouncy texture of the lobster tail and claws. Holding all these together is the balsamic dressing, which gives the salad the needed sweetness and acidity.

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Marinated Octopus 4.2/5

A dish that I would order in my return is the Marinated Octopus ($16++). Lightly pan-fried, the octopus is dressed in lemon, parsley, garlic and olive oil. Instead of char-grilled, which gives the octopus a hint of bitterness, the execution preserved the natural flavour of the octopus with a tender, bouncy texture. Give the lime a squeeze to perk up the taste profile.

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Uni, Lobster and Caviar Roll 3.8/5

At Burger & Lobster Raffles Arcade, the restaurant ups its game with the Uni, Lobster and Caviar Roll ($50++). This is the ultimate combination swerved in a toasted brioche roll. Unlike the original lobster roll which comes with the rich lemon garlic sauce, this version is lightly seasoned to allow the appreciation of the luxe ingredients.

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The B&L Beef Brisket Roll 4.2/5

Surprisingly, it turned out that I enjoyed The B&L Beef Brisket Roll ($25++) more than the Uni, Lobster and Caviar Roll. The buttery roll sandwiched with braised Angus beef brisket marinated in the jerky sauce and finished with Havana spiced rum is more robust in flavour. Guess I have a preference for strong flavour.

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Spicy Miso Burger 4.5/5

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It is not just about lobster roll at Burger & Lobster. As the name of the restaurant suggests, it serves burgers too. And they serve a damn good burger. I had the Spicy Miso Burger ($23++), and I love it. The Nebraskan beef patty glazed with spicy miso sauce is moist and juicy. It is topped with provolone cheese, lightly spiced guacamole, kale, red chilli flakes, onion and sandwiched in between their signature brioche bun.

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Laksa Lobster 4.2/5

Like its flagship outlet in Singapore, there is a locally inspired dish on the menu. Over at the Raffles Arcade, there is the Laksa Lobster ($70++). The aromatic laksa sauce is legit with rice noodles, bean sprouts and crispy tofu. It is really delicious but expensive too.

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Ice Cream Mochi 3.5/5 and Apple Crumble Pie 3.5/5

Wrapping up the dinner, we have the Ice Cream Mochi ($11++) and Apple Crumble Pie ($14++). I would pick the ice cream mochi over the apple crumble pie. It is like having those old school ice cream sandwiched in waffle biscuit, but with a slightly softer texture. It comes drizzled with either strawberry or chocolate sauce.

Given a choice, I prefer the new outlet at Raffles Arcade. The menu is larger with more variety. Location is more central and it accepts reservation.

Note: This is an invited tasting.


Burger & Lobster
Raffles Hotel Singapore
Raffles Arcade
328 North Bridge Road
#01-25
Singapore 188719
Facebook
Website
Nearest MRT: City Hall (EW Line, NS Line)

Opening Hours:
Sun-Wed: 11am - 11pm
Thu-Sat: 11am - 12midnight

Direction:
1) Alight at City Hall MRT station. Take Exit A. Walk to the junction of Bras Basah Road and North Bridge Road. Cross the road. Walk down North Bridge Road. Walk to destination. Journey time about 5 minutes. [Map]

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