Michelin-starred restaurant Labyrinth, helmed by chef-owner Han Li Guang, recently underwent a makeover, and now sports a brand new interior and menu.
The redesigned dining room is like a posh cocoon—featuring a tasteful dark colour palette, plush chairs and white table cloth—but with a personal touch, with two new panels of gallery walls decorated with chef Han’s late grandmother’s clay pots, rice bowls and tea pots, as well as some of the produce showcased in the menu.
We love the new space, which exudes sophistication and intimacy, but the star of the revamp is the food, which chef describes as the “new expression of Singapore cuisine”. Neither categorised as hawker nor fine dining fare, the dishes served on the “Homage To My Singapore” tasting menu ($178 for 11 courses during dinner and $68 for four courses at lunch) shines the spotlight on the ingredients—80 per cent are locally-sourced—and unique flavour pairings inspired by the traditional recipes of Singapore.
Other factors that played a role in bringing his creations to fruition include his memories of growing up in Singapore and the experiences of his grandmother’s cooking.
To start, diners are presented with four snacks: ‘nasi lemak’ cheong fun comprising chicken skin, ikan bilis and egg yolk gel; braised baby abalone cooked with homemade oyster sauce, served on an intricate basket made with fatt choy (black sea moss); ‘heartland’ waffle consisting local duck liver pate and goji berry jam sandwiched between a pandan flavoured waffle; and Ah Hua Kelong Lala Clams featuring locally farmed shellfish, XO sambal, and Chinese spinach layered on deep-fried wonton skin.
Up next is the section labelled ‘Plates’ which further showcases chef Han’s penchant for making everything from scratch. One of our favourites was the Labyrinth rojak, which uses 10 different types of herbs, flowers and sprouts from Edible Garden City, bound together by a homemade sauce of fermented prawn paste and natural raw unpasteurised honey from Batam. Beneath the greens is a scoop of delicious homemade cempedak and jackfruit sorbet.
Other notable items include the ‘Ang Moh’ chicken rice featuring grandma’s chilli sauce and braised chicken encased within smooth dumpling skin made of house-ground rice flour; and Uncle William’s quail comprising grilled quail, satay espuma, much chee and pearl onion.
The quail is sourced from Lian Wah Hang Quail Farm, one of Singapore’s oldest existing farms and also one of the scarce few rearing quail, run by William Ho—affectionately known to many as ‘Uncle William’.
The desserts, too, are prepared with local produce, such as the soy beancurd consisting strips of bird’s nest, and burnt yoghurt espuma made with goat’s milk from Hay’s Dairy Farm, joined by gula jawa (Indonesian palm sugar) and sago. Other local farms that chef Han procures his ingredients from include Jurong Fishery Port, Nippon Koi Farm, Toh Thye San Farm, Farm Delight, and Kwong Woh Hing sauce factory.
We appreciate how dining at Labyrinth is not just a gastronomic affair, but a showcase of local produce. And while locavore is not a new idea, it is heartening to see how chef Han is doing his part to honour our eco-system of farmers, growers and artisans.
#02-23 Esplanade Mall, 8 Raffles Avenue, Singapore 039802; Tel: 6223 4098