Daniel Ballis’ hideaway at Gemmill Lane welcomes Zach Elliott-Crenn as its new head chef. Leaving the one Michelin-starred Portland restaurant in London, the Australian shows off his prowess at modern European cuisine with a French sensibility.
His father a baker, the mild-mannered chef got his start with pastries and quickly found his way into one-hat establishment Courgette then to Le Cirque in New York. He later moved between Europe and Australia to work at award-winning restaurants such as Cutler & Co and Vue de Monde in Melbourne and Marcus in London. It was only at Portland where he was able to explore a focus on sustainability and British ingredients.
There’s an ease with which Elliott-Crenn marries flavours and textures, especially so with his pastries. His Chicken Liver Parfait Cigar (S$5 each), a deceptively simple description, is a savoury take on classic chocolate cigars. A thin feuille de brick coated with candied pistachios is filled with a rich, smooth parfait made with livers from local chickens. A little quince jam comes through with every bite, rounding off each nibble with just the right amount of sweetness. Together with the Squash Financier (S$5 each)—a butternut squash pillow the colour of sunshine that tastes of autumn—you’ll be wishing for seconds.
They’re a fitting introduction for his more unorthodox dishes, which are bound to illicit some attention from the average diner. Beef tartare for those adverse to bovines; a bed of smoked carrot ribbons and miso mustard seeds cradle a beautiful orange confit egg yolk (SS$20) seem to do the trick. He sprinkles a little magic on the done-to-death prawn cocktail as well by turning it on its head, literally. Small prawns from the local market lie with diced Granny Smith green apples and Norwegian salmon roe under a canopy of thinly sliced romaine lettuce (S$23).
He shows a little more restraint with the mains but does them to perfection. Our favourite was the Black Angus Wagyu Cap (S$44) that is finished off on a bincho grill and served alongside caramelized eggplant covered in a salty, sweet sauce of soy, mirin, raisins, brown sugar, smoked oil and crispy pops of puffed quinoa.
For dessert, expect more surprises with an herbaceous-perfumed dish of olive oil cake, peppercorn and papaya seeds-infused crème fraiche, compressed papaya slices and tarragon ice cream and oil (S$12).
110 Amoy Street, #01-01, Singapore 069930. Tel: +65 6221 5564. Opening hours: 12pm to 2.30pm and 6pm to 11pm from Mondays to Fridays, and 6pm to 11pm on Saturdays.