Insistence – that’s what chefs and restaurateurs are made of.
To risk drowning in a restaurant row saturated with eateries in their own bids to stay afloat. To almost completely frost out your glass front door, such that getting a sense of the interior’s ambience is no easy feat. To have close to no reservations on the books the night we were there, but still be wearing a deeply warming smile to welcome you to an unnecessarily dressed-up abode.
To stay true to an ingredient just as the bible of foie gras dictates. To not mess with the combination of fatty and sweet in pairing a seared goose liver (with an impossibly thin caramelisation of a crust) with a compote of rosella flowers ($28). To then complete the classic with a triangle of buttery brioche.
To procure ingredients from the market directly, and to ensure that seafood and spices cannot be possibly fresher than the bottom line would barely allow. To be kind of nuts to make sure that the prawns in a seafood plate are of the same length, seared to a meat floss-like toastiness, paired with equally tender squid rings in a flaring sambal sauce specked with kaffir lime. To be kind of obsessed to manage such a paper-crisp skin on a suckling pig ($36) that must have been fed so much soda it’s obese, and to then pair the pork with a tangy bacon sauerkraut fashioned with a smoky fattiness. Sublime.
To be so no-nonsense about scallops, and treating them with as much respect as we diners would like to return in kind. To be so light-handed with truffle that it’s mere whisper of a dressing around the carpaccio of Hokkaido scallop ($22), that itself gives off an unexpected tropical sweetness. To be so heavy-handed with spices – eleven kinds to be exact – in order to flesh out the assertive flavours of a rendang well-taken by a wagyu oxtail ($36), which has such ambrosial sinews and tendons that jolt the ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ cliché back to life.
And then to end off your edgy meal with desserts that go the extra mile. To make sure nothing seems too familiar with the soaking of rock melon in Midori ($15) to impart a floral scent and to pair it with poof-and-it’s-gone marshmallows of blood orange. To display technique and sheer brilliance in a textbook-perfect soufflé ($16), a cloud bursting with passion fruit and nothing else. To spend months perfecting its accompanying ice cream of gula melaka, reminiscent of bobor chacha in a blissful scoop.
This is Table at 7, brainchild of private chef Karl Dobler and caterer Eugenia Ong. Insistence – that’s what these two are made of.
Written by Mr Nom Nom
On this occasion the meal was compliments of Table at 7