Friday, November 25, 2022

Restaurant BORN @ Neil Road - Fine-Dining Restaurant of Contemporary Cuisine By Chef Zor Tan Based on the Circle of Life.


Restaurant BORN, located within the iconic Jinrikisha Station at the junction of Neil Road and Maxwell Road, is helmed by Chef Zor Tan. Cher Zor has bags of experience and awards under his belt working in well-awarded restaurants such as Restaurant Andre in Singapore, Restaurant Raw in Taiwan and Sichuan Moon in Macau.

Winter Melon with Purple Shiso Jus

The food at BORN celebrates the Circle of Life, drawing from Zor's journey, which distils into nine guiding principles that become the manifesto of his cooking. They are categorised into Birth, Roots, Memories, Craft, Relationship, Vicissitudes, Time, Progress, and Legacy.

Jellyfish pickled with Mountain Chilli

Pickled Japanese Daikon Skin

The dinner started with a selection of pickles and snacks for a multi-experience, multi-plate series embodying Chef Zor's philosophy. The frist series is a trio of pickles - Winter Melon with Purple Shiso Jus, Pickled Japanese Daikon Skin, and Jellyfish Pickled with Mountain Chilli.

Tomato, Smoked Plum, Basil

Abalone, Burnt Chilli Pesto, Garlic Crisps

Chicken Skin Mille Feuille, Eggplant, Caviar

Fish Bacon, Sweet & Sour Sauce, Homemade Chilli Oil


Taro Puff, Salted Egg Custard, Bottarga

The other snack items are Tomato, Abalone, Chicken Skin, Fish Bacon and Taro Puff. These are all Zor's childhood memories from the food he loves and his mum's cooking, giving them an elevated interpretation. While the items are exquisitely executed, there is a familiarity in the taste.

Japanese Yellowtail Tartare

We then moved into the meal proper with the first course, Japanese Yellowtail Tartare. The deliciously flavoured dish is inspired by Zor's early stint at a Japanese restaurant chain. The buri is cured in salt and Sichuan peppercorns, followed by preserving the fish in between layers of konbu, a time-honoured technique known as kobujime.


"Aged" Beef/ Oyster / Fried Bao

The next course is "Aged" Beef/ Oyster/ Fried Bao which attributes to Zor's time working at Restaurant DiverXo in Spain, where he witnessed the Spanish chef making "bao". The creative dish sees aged vintage Wagyu beef tartare marinated with Sichuan peppercorn and house-made Sichuan-style chilli oil enrobed in a light aerated batter. It uses the cooking method of oyster 'hao bing', flash-fried till golden brown, topped with bresaola and paired with Irish oyster emulsion..


Jerusalem Artichoke/ Lily Bulbs/ Caviar

Next is the Jerusalem Artichoke/ Lily Bulbs/ Caviar, a vegetable Zor was introduced to when working at Restaurant Andre, which became one of his favourite vegetables. The artichoke puree has a sweet and savoury profile, finished with caviar, fresh lily bulbs from China, extra virgin olive oil, and white chocolate shaved tableside. The Jerusalem artichoke skins did not go to waste. Instead, it is coated in maltose, dehydrated and served as a side.

Chicken Liver/ Smoked Oil/ Forest Mushroom

The Chicken Liver/ Smoked Oil/ Forest Mushroom is Zor's way of paying tribute to his mentor, Chef Andre Chiang. He presents his interpretation of the iconic Foie Gras Parfait at Andre, elevating the under-appreciated chicken liver into an indulgent flan. It is finished with forest mushrooms and blanched cubed celeriac.

Monkfish / Fermented Capsicum/ Chicken Fat

I enjoyed the Monkfish/ Fermented Capsicum/ Chicken Fat, which consists of seasonal white fish steamed, served with fermented imperial chilli, and crunchy jade fungus from Yunnan and finished in a velvety emulsified chicken fat accented with Sichuan peppercorn. The dish is inspired by the classic Sichuan 'Duo Jiao Yu Tou' on the Sichuan Moon restaurant menu during Zor's time in Macau.

Fish Maw/ Chinese cabbage/ Smoked Eel

The Fish Maw/ Chinese Cabbage/ Smoked Eel uses the classic French chou farci cooking technique, where fresh barramundi fish maw is filled with Chinese cabbage trimmings and smoked eel. The parcel is then wrapped in Chinese cabbage leaf and a layer of caul fat before pan-searing. Lastly, it is topped with julienned raw Chinese cabbage stem and fried local fish maw, finished in a light, refreshing broth made from smoked eel bones.

Alaskan King Crab/ Glutinous Rice/ Crab Bisque

The Alaskan King Crab/ Glutinous Rice/ Crab Bisque is a celebration of reunion featuring glutinous rice balls filled with crab miso. The green and red colouring come from beetroot and spinach juice. Alongside the glutinous rice ball is premium Alaskan king crabs brushed with fermented yellow soybean paste finished in rich crab roe sauce, crab bisque and butter.

Pigeon/ Grains/ Corn

The Pigeon dish comes with breast and leg dry-aged for 12 days, confit for 2 hours and bincho-grilled. On the side is risotto made by cooking barley in chicken stock, mixed with pearl corn. I find the sauce most interesting, a concoction of pigeon jus, fermented black beans and green Sichuan peppercorns.

Bird's Nest/ Osmanthus/ Chrysanthemum

Pre-dessert is the light and nourishing Double-boiled Bird's Nest served with osmanthus syrup, osmanthus sorbet, Japanese chrysanthemum jelly and petals. A refreshing idea for a palate cleanser.

Toasted Rice/ Chestnut/ Sable

Rice, the last dish of any Chinse feast, led to the creation of Toasted Rice/ Chestnut/ Sable as a dessert. The sweet ending comprises milk ice cream, toasted rice cream, puffed rice, caramel, black garlic, sable, French chestnut puree, and Chinese candied chestnuts.

Spicy Beef Fat Financier (Spicy)

Sea Buckthorn Jelly (Sour) and Buttergourd Bonbon (Bitter)

Ispahan Lotus (Sweet)

Completing our 9-course dinner experience is the Petite Fours. Each has a different sour, sweet, bitter and spicy (酸甜苦辣) profile, representing the key guiding principle of Vicissitudes, as Zor believes one does not taste sweetness without first knowing bitterness.

Note: This is an invited tasting.

Restaurant BORN
1 Neil Road
Singapore 088804
Tel: +65 92708718
Nearest MRT: Maxwell (TE Line)

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sat: 6pm - 11pm
(Closed on Sun, Mon)

1) Alight at Maxwell MRT station. Take Exit 1, 2 or 3. Walk to junction of Neil Road, Maxwell Road and Tanjong Pagar Road. Cross the road and walk to destination. Journey time about 3 minutes. [Map]

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