Since 21 March 2017, Chef Benjamin Halat has taken on the role of chef de cuisine at CURATE, the restaurant best known for hosting Michelin-starred chefs from around the world with its ‘Art at Curate’ series.
With this appointment, Chef Halat introduces a 5-course and 8-course dinner menus available yearlong, in between the seasonal ‘Art at Curate’ sessions. His menus are contemporary, freely mixing influences and ingredients from East and West, showcasing his 14 years of experience in the kitchens of Europe and Asia.
Each menu comes with servings of canapes and petit fours, which are not fixed items on the menu.
Foie Gras Gateau
Poached Dover Sole
Snickers 2017 (dessert)
Langoustine on Seasalt
Soufflated Farm Egg
Pan Seared Hokkaido Scallop
Imperial Pigeon Breast
Brin D’Amour Cheese
Coconut Espuma (dessert)
Snickers 2017 (dessert)
Part of the dinner experience but not listed on the menu are the appetisers.
Diners are served six amuse-bouches, a selection that changes regularly depending on the best ingredients available. Regardless of what’s served, the chef promises that it’ll be a pleasant surprise.
At a sampling session, these two stood out.
Olive Oil Jelly
Soft jelly with a fine layer of crisp chilli-infused olive oil, the springy jelly tastes sweet and light with just a hint of spiciness. Suitable even for the non-spicy fans out there.
Marinated Tuna Sashimi with Nori Seaweed
A mix of fresh tuna covered in seaweed and served in a bowl of pebbles, the presentation is zen-like and makes for great photos and even greater conversation starters. This Japanese-influenced dish tastes as interesting as it looks, with a surprisingly distinct sweetness that comes naturally from the tuna-seaweed mix.
Highlights from the 5-Course Menu
Foie Gras Gåteau with Red Port Wine Jelly and Szechuan Pepper Brioche.
This dish is meant to surprise. It might look like a dessert but it is certainly not. The ‘cake’ is actually foie gras terrine with ‘frosting’ made of red port wine. The “ice cream” on the side is also foie gras, served on top of crisps. Together, they are probably a foie gras fan’s wet dream – making up a dish that is creamy, soft, and decidedly rich. Goes well with a serving or two of fresh toasts.
Boston Lobster in a Tomato, Ginger, and Coconut Broth
This is a twist on the classic French Lobster bisque.
The serving of Boston lobster on a bed of colourful spices turns distinctly Thai when you pour the coconut broth over it – transforming the dish into a milky version of tom yum soup. The tangy soup flavour draws out the sweetness of the lobster to excite your palate.
The frothy coconut broth balances out the strong spices used to give it the distinct tom yum taste for a refreshingly light take on the Thai classic.
Poached Dover Sole with Pearl Onion, Mustard Seeds and Salsify
A zen-looking dish that’s anything but light on taste, this dish is a surprise of flavours and texture. The sweetness of the Dover fish is nicely brought out with the light champagne sauce, and contrasts well with the peppery taste of the mustard seeds and onions. The seeds also provide a much welcome crunch to the soft, buttery texture of the fish.
Highlights from the 8-Course Menu
Soufflated Farm Egg with Truffle Caviar and Spinach
Beautifully poached egg inside a soft, fluffy meringue of beaten egg whites, served in light parmesan foam and topped with truffle caviar, this is one heavenly egg dish.
The richness of the egg yolk, cheese and truffle is certain to get your palate up to task for the next dishes. You’ll love the texture of the fluffy beaten egg white against the runny egg yolk and springy truffle caviar.
Imperial Pigeon Breast encrusted with Hazelnuts, with Beetroot and Mandarin Orange
I’m usually not a fan of pigeon meat but this dish surprised me. Too rich to be eaten alone, this squab dish pairs well with the nutty hazelnut sauce.
The sweetness of the buttery hazelnut provides a nice balance to the tender, savoury meat that almost melts in your mouth. The dried orange slices by the side provide a crisp sour-ish finish to the dish, cutting out the initial heaviness and making it easy on the palate.
Brin D’Amour Cheese with Tomato Jam, Pickled Vegetable and Morel Soil
This cheese course looks like a mushroom garden right out of a fairy tale, and it tastes quite as magical as well.
Delicately poised in the centre is a nasturtium leaf hailing from the cress family. Peppery and bittersweet, the leaf helps to break up and balance the richness from the cheese. The purplish pinecone-like leaf is actually a red-leafed hibiscus, which lends a floral sweetness to contrast our palates against the sour pickles. The cheese is creamy and piquant but with the sourness of the tomato slices, it is not too overpowering. The morel soil provides another layer of taste and texture to the whole dish as it is crunchy and sweet.
The recommended way to eat it is to take a bite of the stem made of cheese, along with the slices of pickled tomatoes toppings and a part of the base.This will allow you to taste a mixture of complementing flavours with every bite.
Fun fact: the tomato jam is specially prepared by Chef Halat by boiling down tomato puree. 5kg of tomatoes will get just 100g of jam!
Snickers 2017 with Peanuts, Dulcey and Gianduja Chocolate (This also appears in the 5-course menu)
A favourite of Chef Halat, the Snickers bar gets included into a dessert by the chef every year. Here, he has prepared a medley for chocolate lovers sprinkled with biscuit crunch, caramel drizzle, ice cream and peanut butter goodness.
What you get is an exquisite dessert that provides a mix of textures: soft, cold ice cream next to the chewiness of biscuit, crunch of peanuts, stickiness of peanut butter and the smooth richness of dark chocolate. Heavenly!
Bite-sized treats to end your dinner, so don’t forget to leave some space for them. Like the canapes, the petit fours are also not a fixed item on the menu; be surprised by the chef’s selection for the day.
Here’s one from the chef I found intriguing.
Dark Chocolate Cigar Stuffed with Tobacco-smoked Dark Chocolate Mousse and Served with Toasted Wild Rice and Icing Sugar as the Edible Ash
Ever tried eating cigar ash? I didn’t either, until now. This looks like cigar ash, smells like cigar ash but thankfully doesn’t taste much like ash (unless ash tastes like chocolate).
Made by using a smoke gun to pipe tobacco onto a piece of dark chocolate, you can eat the chocolate cigar as it is or dip it into the ash. On its own, the cigar tastes of light mousse of bitter dark chocolate. With the ash, you’ll get an additional bitter, charred taste, which brings out the sweetness of the chocolate mousse.
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CURATE | website link
5-course dinner costs S$158++ | 8-course dinner costs S$198++
Location: Forum L1
Opening hours: Dinner 6.30pm – 10.30pm | closed on Sundays and Mondays
Dress code: Smart elegant.
Free valet parking, all-day parking for guests who dine here from 6pm (with every $200 spent). The free valet service is available at the entrance of any hotels in the resort or at the drop-off area in the car park.