I’ve been hearing good things about Tras Street’s hottest Omakase experience, so it didn’t take much persuasion for me to drop by. I must say, this is one of the best dining experiences I’ve had in a long while. What started out as a meal, ended up as so much more. 28 seasonal ingredients, a ceaselessly creative chef and a great setting made for an awesome evening.
An All (Michelin)-Star Team
It seems like Chef Stephan was meant for creating great food from the very beginning. His father was a professional chef, and Chef Stephan embarked on his culinary journey, starting at the Iconic Grand Hotel and then spanning all across fine dining establishments in Europe. While he came to Singapore in 2008 to helm the now defunct Novus Restaurant and Bar, he later decided to embark on a food journey that would take him to Michelin-starred kitchens like Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck and Grant Achatz’s Alinea, known for serving outrageously creative food.
Chef Stephan is bolstered by Executive Head Chef Lorenz Raich, who also hails from Austria like Chef Stephan. He’s got over a decade of cooking experience under his belt, and has been in the intense kitchen of Michelin-starred Palais Coburg in Vienna.
Every restaurant needs a General Manager, but Per Drews is not just any General Manager. He’s the restaurant’s Sommelier, and a friendly face for guests. Per is highly versatile, and possesses a depth of knowledge about wines from his experience in hospitality, and Chef Stephan’s Omakase style requires every ounce of that knowledge. He’s the guy that will come up with wine pairings every day, without a menu or wine list concept.
“Set me up, Per”
My evening started with Per setting us up for the night with a bottle of Austrian Wine. The team loves to curate wines from places they’re familiar with, and so our opening drink was a bottle of Gruener Veltliner, Hagmann, Kremstal, Austria ($17+ / $75+)
This was the moment that Per checked in with us on what we couldn’t eat. If there was anything at all that we didn’t like, or allergic to, Chef Stephan would tweak the dishes to suit us. I hate to use the word, but this meal was truly “bespoke“.
We kicked off with a dish of Heirloom Tomatoes Tiger Prawn, Hokkaido Scallop, Basil, Red Veined Sorrel & Olive Oil Caviar. Besides the obvious fact that the tiger prawns were sweet and the scallop came perfectly seared, I think the acidity in the Heirloom tomatoes combined with the salt of the ham and the lipids in that olive oil to give the dish this a sublime balance.
The follow-up dish was a Foie Gras Pan Seared & Espuma, Beetroot 2 ways, Mirabelle, Pea Shoots and Blossoms. While I generally ignore Foie Gras, this is a really smart way to present it. I took the Foie Gras with the wafer-like beetroot, which instantly melted in my mouth. The fattiness sort of came together with the sweet, almost cotton candy-like texture of the beetroot for a pleasurable back-of-mouth finish.
Meat me in the Middle
After opening our palates, it was time for the heavier hitters to show up.
This Halibut Samphire, Cauliflower, Bouchot Mussels, Saffron Stock was definitely my second favourite dish of the night. The Halibut was moist, and the Bouchot Mussels gave the flavour profile of the dish a lift together with the Saffron Stock. We had both moist and soft textures that married with chewier ingredients. It was throughly enjoyable!
It was at this point that Pers switched us over to a Pinot Noir, in preparation for our next dish: Iberico Pork Presa Caramelised Garlic Creme, Garlic Flower, Horseradish, Olives, Mustard Sauce, Mustard Leaves
When you see a chef play with ingredients on this level, you know that his time in Grant Achatz’s Alinea taught him to think of ingredients and food in very unorthodox manner. While Chef Stephan is definitely more subtle, you see it in this dish. The cream was a Caramalised Garlic that tasted sweet without being garlicky while the mustard seeds didn’t possess even an inkling of sharp spiciness. Place all that with olives and two slices of perfectly-timed Iberico Pork, and you’ve got a dish that deserves to be consumed with relish.
If you’ve been following my Instagram (and why not right?), then you know that I really love me some beef. That’s why this 48h Braised Angus Beef Cheek, Parsley Root Creme, Potimarron Pumpkin, Pickled Pumpkin, Nasturtium Leaves gave me goosebumps. This dish is all about the flavour. It’s unbelievably juicy, and the refreshing Parsley Root Creme is more like a mash. Most people will wrinkle their nose at the idea of parsley, but I guarantee you that there’s only an essence of freshness, and none of that unwanted kick at the back of your tongue.
Dessert of Chocolate, Caramel Mousse and Popcorn Ice Cream was, in my opinion, a solid tune-down choice. I was initially worried that Popcorn ice cream was going to be cloyingly sweet, but Chef Stephan dispelled the worry. Right on the nose, there was a light sweetness that continue to the back of the mouth. When I exhaled, I could smell the buttery flavour of popcorn, followed by a very slight sense of char. I don’t have a sweet tooth, but I finished this fasted than anyone else at the table.
Ever-evolving Menu, Extremely Talented Team
What we ate that night, is definitely going to be different from what you’re going to experience. What you’ll get is some true Omakase style dining that sure to delight. Depending on season, ingredients, preferences and Chef’s choices, you’ll taste something that is meant to surprise you every time. The food is creative, the service is impeccable and wine pairings are well-thought out.
Chef’s Table by Stephan Zoisl is a delight to be at, and I have a sneaking suspicion that this restaurant will be a serious contender come next year’s Michelin Awards.
Chef’s Table By Stephan Zoisl
Address: 61 Tras Street, Singapore 079000
Reservations: 6224 4188 or email chefstable@2015L.com
Operating Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 6pm -12mn
A Quick Note: We tasted the 6-Course dining option ($128+), but there are 4 ($98+) and 8-course ($150+) options to suit every tummy and budget.