A stately yet warm and inviting space. Food served in portions dainty enough to be refined, yet still generous enough to satiate. Such delicate balance between chic-elegance and warm hospitality makes Corner House a restaurant that captures our attention.
The two-storey 70-seater restaurant takes its name from British botanist Edred John Henry Corner, who lived in the colonial bungalow at Botanic Gardens right up till 1946, as he studied the region’s flora and fauna. Fittingly, local-born executive chef Jason Tan’s gastro-botanica cuisine puts the spotlight on vegetables.
This approach is demonstrated across the menu and is especially distinct in the signature dish of Onion Doux des Cevennes – arguably the restaurant’s magnum opus. The variety from the foothills of south-central France is prized for its soft texture and honeyed flavour. Here, it is executed in a few ways: pureed and served as a tart on a medallion of filo pastry; as a broth with earl grey tea and mixed in a hollowed onion shell with sous vide egg topped with truffle shavings; and as a dehydrated then lightly fried wafer with a bittersweet crunch.
Central to Tan’s cooking ethos is the experience garnered through working for some of Singapore’s esteemed names. He considers French chef Julien Bompard, who runs private-dining restaurant Scotts 27, and Justin Quek of Sky 57 his mentors.
This combination of French and local influences is also reflected in his dishes, such as the crunchy-yet-tender New Zealand cod with crispy scales, served with buerre noisette, soya sauce and chicken essence. A local breakfast dish of kaya toast is deconstructed and reinterpreted as a dessert with muscavado sable, pandan snow, gula melaka and coconut foam, balanced with a piquant yuzu sorbet. Just like the humble local dish which has been elevated to fine-dining standards, Tan is the unpretentious boy next door who has stepped up to create a restaurant of international standards which we can all be proud of.
E J H Corner House, Singapore Botanic Gardens
Corner House is a winner of the G Restaurant Awards 2015. Click here for the full list of winners.
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