With more chefs being more creative these days, dining experience for consumers has greatly improved in Singapore! Besides the use of different cooking techniques to awe us with taste and textural plays, presentation is also a huge factor for many (especially when we are in an era where many people are social media savvy)! Recently, I have just dined at Labyrinth at Esplanade and I can’t wait to share my experience with you! Can you believe it, I was served with Chwee Kueh as part of my lunch set!?
Of course, you don’t! At Labyrinth, banker turned to self-taught chef, Chef-Owner LG Han creates mod-sin cuisine with inspirations drawn from fresh ingredients, traditional recipes, local cultures and culinary techniques from across the globe! Hence, you will be thrilled to find dishes that look familiar and yet tasted like another local dish.
What you see might seem to be chwee kueh but it is actually Chef’s interpretation of Nasi Lemak with sambal! Imagine rice cake infused with nasi lemak flavours topped with chilli ikan bilis, and that is the “chwee kueh” that you are looking at. Inside the tingkat aka tiffin tin, there are also Chef Han’s version of radish cake made using dried shrimp and scallop and rojak! The rojak was quite a mind blowing one for me. The fried fritter aka you tiao is made into a puff and once you popped into your mouth, the rojak sauce exploded right there in the cavity! Yummy much! The restaurant is also sweet enough to prepare a vegetarian version of the chwee kueh and radish cake for Karen as she is allergic to shellfish.
Next up, I have a deconstructed “Laksa” which is served with a huge Hiroshima oyster. I like how they made laksa snow using a laksa broth and liquid nitrogen to give that powdery texture and paired it with coconut jelly “noodle” and deep fried laksa leaves.
The crew at Labyrinth also prepared “Pineapple Rice” in replacement of “Laksa” for Karen. This garden on a plate is made using rice crisps, turmeric custard, coriander sponge, chicken biscuit, pineapple sorbet. The play with different textures give this dish a whole new meaning which I have not experience from any other “pineapple rice”. Loving how refreshing the pineapple sorbet is!
The “Duck” was served with a nostagic touch. When I was younger, I used to like white rabbit candy a LOT! For the Duck, it consisted of a duck consommé and a duck dumpling made using obulato paper (the edible potato starch paper which is used to wrap the white rabbit candy), braised duck meat and chopped water chestnut. It was a delightful dish where we enjoyed in pure silence. The crunchy bite from the water chestnut and the flavoursome consommé paired with the dumpling propelled me to eat more than usual!
One of the highlights of the luncheon was the “Pen Cai Risotto” (top up $10 from the lunch set). Pen Cai (盆菜) is auspicious dish that we often have during Chinese New Year as it has a symbolic meaning of ‘abundance’. Served with black hair moss (aka fa cai, a symbol of prosperity), mushroom and tiger prawn, this risotto cooked in the pen cai gravy is packed with umami! Really comforting and delicious food that I wiped the plate clean in no time!
Karen has the “Indonesian Pork Belly” and the carbo on this dish is actually the Japanese sushi rice cooked with burnt miso and quinoa! The chef has also used deep fried seaweed to give the dish more textural bites. Break the egg yolk, stir well and enjoy the party in your mouth!
For dessert, we have the “Xiao Long Bao” and “Cigar”. The skin for the Xiao Long Bao is made using pandan syrup and it is wrapped around the kidney bean sphere, coconut, grass jelly cubes. To enjoy a blast of flavours, we were told to drizzle with some gula melaka and eat it in one mouthful. The “Cigar” is actually chocolate tube filled with peanut butter ice cream and coated with cocoa powder and the ashes is peanut butter cocoa crumbs. It is paired with an earl grey tea infused with elderflower ice cube.
The dining experience at Labyrinth was both a gastronomic one and a play of our mind where seeing is no longer believing! At $48++ for a lunch set, I think given the quality, the cooking techniques used and food presentation, it is an affordable one. Definitely an experience that one should try at least once in their lifetime.
The restaurant surprised Karen with a dessert on the house for her birthday. It added a nice touch to the warm and natural service from the service crew. While we were already very full, we were happy to finish the cake. I like how we were given the space to carry on our conversation throughout the meal and the service crew’s attention to details while giving us that space. If there is a place that you are looking at for a nice business lunch or a romantic meal, somehow I feel that Labyrinth would not disappoint. Have you dine at Labyrinth? How was your dining experience? By the way, this is not a sponsored post. lol
Esplanade Mall 8 Raffles Avenue #02-23 Singapore 039802
Tel: +65 6223 4098
Operating hours: Lunch 12pm – 2.30pm (Tue – Fri) *Not available on Public Holidays
Pre-Theatre 6pm (Thu – Sat)
Dinner 6.30 pm – 11pm (Tue – Sun)
Bar 6.30 pm till late (Tue – Sun)