Interview with Richard van Oostenbrugge on table65, ‘fun’ new fine dining restaurant at Resorts World Sentosa

Come December 2018, a new fine dining restaurant at Resorts World Sentosa, table65, by famous Dutch chef Richard van Oostenbrugge will open its doors to lovers of contemporary European cuisine. Intrigued by his statement to the press that “fine-dining should be fun”, we sat down with Chef Richard to find out exactly what kind of experience guests can expect at table65.

But before we get to that, here’s a quick background of the critically acclaimed chef.

Introducing Chef Richard van Oostenbrugge

Richard van Oostenbrugge

Under his culinary direction as Executive Chef, Bord’Eau at Hotel De L’Europe in Amsterdam earned its first Michelin star in 2013, and attained the coveted two-star rating in 2014. During his stint there, his precise culinary execution also won him the prestigious Gault & Millau Chef of the Year (2014) and a near-perfect Gault & Millau score of 19 (2017) – something that discerning gourmands will know is no simple feat.

In January 2018, he decided to start his own “fine-casual” restaurant, 212, in Amsterdam, which was fully booked for three months even prior to its opening! table65 is set to take inspiration from 212’s dining concept of “fewer rules, more adventure”.

On his food and table65 at Resorts World Sentosa

There are quite a number of restaurants that specialise in contemporary European cuisine with international influence. What will make the food at table65 different?

I don’t know – you should come check it out for yourself (laughs)! The food matters to a certain level, but good food alone is not good enough anymore. It about the total experience and how you feel from the second you walk in to the time you walk out.

This is your first venture into Asia. Will table65 have any local/Asian elements to it?

We definitely want to go more local. I don’t want to get stuff flown in everyday – I think it’s better for the environment when we search for quality produce here in Singapore. The menu will change and gear towards that direction.

For guests who fell in love with your food at The GREAT Food Festival 2018, will any of those dishes be served at table65?

The dishes at table65 will definitely be more elaborate and refined. At a food festival, we serve a couple of thousand dishes, whereas we only have 30-odd seats at the restaurant. The taste will be there, but the experience will be completely different.

What are you most excited about starting your restaurant in Singapore?

I’m just very proud to have been considered to open my own restaurant in what is – in my opinion – one of the greatest cities in the world. It’s like a dream come true: I’m just a chef and I worked my butt off to be here!

212 was fully booked for 3 months prior to its opening. What do you think made it so popular before it even opened?

You already have counter-seating at fine dining restaurants here, but that was something totally new I did in Holland. Also, I already had a name there. People were really shocked when I left Bord’Eau because everyone thought I was going to stay and get Three Michelin Stars for the restaurant. For me, I want to be in total control of what I do for my future. In order to do that, I needed to start something for myself. That was a hard decision that didn’t come lightly, but I’m glad I made it.

You mentioned to the press that ‘fine dining should be fun’. What kind of fun experiences can guests expect at table65?

It’s not about whether we are going to use visual projections on a dining plate or levitating creations. Yes, we are going to do a lot of that. But for me, what counts is that people feel at ease when they sit down, that they really enjoy their evening. In order to do that, you need to keep on surprising people because fine dining is always the same predictable routine – the same service, the same sequence, the same behavior. I like to step out of that and do things differently while still serving up the highest quality of food.

Last question: can you use three words to summarise the experience that guests will get at table65?

“Leave with a smile” (laughs). Three words is too hard!

table65 at Resorts World Sentosa will offer 31 seats around a kitchen counter, as well as intimate private booths and a private dining room for guests who prefer discreet service. A separate bar area where elegant tipples and desserts will be served will offer 33 seats.

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