The October event was part of the Shangri-la hotel chain's "International Festival of Gastronomy" campaign, featuring 8 different chefs of Michelin-starred restaurants each offer a special menu at five of the hotel properties around the globe. Despite the initial sticker shock - let's just say it's not something we would normally be willing to pay for one meal - we confirmed the reservation as soon as it became available, as I figured an encore for a great meal without having to fly half the world is an opportunity too hard to miss.
ranked second best in the world by a prominent industry publication earlier this year. He is best known for his flamboyant cooking style with creativity beyond imaginations, cooking up a storm in the culinary world with his unique interpretation of traditional Italian cuisine at his hometown restaurant in Modena, a small town famous for its Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, Balsamic Vinegar and Ferrari cars.
We could almost hear the unanimous sound of "wow" every time the dish was brought to a table. On a small plate the chunk of lettuce head was covered by bits of ingredients in different colors and shapes like confetti, with no less than 20-something different ingredients being used, we were told. While we stopped and stared at the beautiful presentation, the pleasant aroma rose above, with a bouquet of herbs and floral and chamomile that smell like a spring garden. We couldn't quite work out the exact list of ingredients being used, but the complex tastes from different ingredients did explode in every bite. My favorite part was the bits of pomegranate at the bottom that was sweet and fruity like a dessert. The complexity from a seemingly straight forward dish was simply mind-blowing.
Well in general service-wise I felt a bit of a let-down, and without going into specifics (otherwise that would require a long separate post), I believe it came down to the hotel's front of the house team not being properly trained to cope with the rigor required to serve a fine-dining menu, and compounded by the fact that they were terribly short in numbers, an issue which became evident when we had difficulties trying to get hold of someone whenever we needed something and they kept running around frantically all night long. We did wonder whether the hotel was sufficiently prepared to host such a high-caliber visiting chef event at all.
his cookbook and looked forward to reading it through.
At the end of the dinner, Chef Massimo came out from the kitchen with the team for a closing remarks and spent time dropping by every table talking to everyone. I half-jokingly told him that next time instead of us having to "chase" him down at wherever he's traveling, it will be far easier if we just travel to Modena and eat at Osteria Francescana instead. Now come to think of it, maybe we really should. In next year's travel plan perhaps?
More pictures in my Flickr photo album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/g4gary/albums/72157660647053606
When? October 31 2015
Where? BLU, Level 24, Shangri-la Singapore, 22 Orange Grove Rd, Singapore
Menu Highlights? "Beautiful Psychedelic Spin-painted Veal, Not Flame Grilled", "Caesar Salad in Bloom", "Oops! I Dropped the Lemon Tart"
2009 Bellavista "Saten" Franciacorta DOCG
2013 Livio Felluga Terra Alte, Rosazzo DOCG, Friuli
32 Via dei Birrai Audace Birra
2007 Borgogno, Barolo DOCG
2013 Gewurtraminer, J. Hofstatter Kolbenhof, Alto Adige DOC
Nonino Grappa Cru Picolit
BLU at Shangri-la Singapore: http://www.shangri-la.com/singapore/shangrila/dining/bars-lounges/blu-bar/
Osteria Francescana: www.osteriafrancescana.it