Savour 2014 @ The Promontory (Marina Bay)

It’s been a week since I attended Savour 2014 and I still can’t stop thinking about it.

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I’ll start off by admitting that I totally went on a whim; yes, I opened my calendar, found I had nothing planned for the weekend, and decided to pass the time with an impromptu (albeit expensive) visit to one of Singapore’s most anticipated gourmet food festivals.

And I gotta say, that was one of the best impulsive decisions I’ve made this year! Good food, good place, what’s not to love about it? 😉

With that out in the open, don’t expect today’s post to be an intellectually driven exposé on which chef hails from where, and so on. My virgin experience at Savour was driven mostly by the sights, sounds and smells (plus tastes!) at The Promontory, and that’s how I’m going to share my little weekend culinary adventure with you. 😀

Bon appétit! 

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If you were wondering what was up with the crowd outside the Gourmet Market, here’s the culprit: a whole veal slow roasting over a charcoal grill like it was a steakhouse and not an outdoor festival.

You could tell that the organizers had pulled out all the stops to bring in the wow factor; I mean, hello! What else could set you drooling faster than the aroma of charcoal grilled veal and that oh so rustic scent of woodsmoke? The anticipation of its smoky, melt-in-your-mouth meat on your plate, of course! If you were a dinner ticket holder, you would struck gold with the veal, since it was only cut and served during the dinner seating.

Moving on.

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With product showcases and cooking demonstrations lost on this cook noob, the highlight of Savour 2014 was, without a doubt, the Gourmet Village. With rows of booths showcasing the chefs and their culinary mastery, coupled generous seating areas spread across a faux grass carpet, it looked every bit the gourmet fair it had set out to be.

And to keep the experience as fresh as possible, different booths, events and giveaways were offered at different intervals; an ingenious way to keep you coming back for more, I’d say. 😉

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As with previous years, this event used a unique currency for its food transactions; 30 SAVOUR dollars (1 SAVOUR dollar being equivalent to S$1) with every ticket purchase for you to go wild and sample any gourmet offering of your choice. Not a particularly generous amount considering that prices start from $6 (and I’m talking about one-bite servings here), so a little planning and noseying around the crowd for the popular choices was in order.

Here’s what I spent my precious few SAVOUR dollars on!

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I originally intended to get the Kobe Burger from Stellar @ 1-Altitude, but since they were sold out by the time I arrived, the 72 hour Miso Braised Short Rib with Kyoto Onion and Fresh Wasabi by Mikuni‘s Chef Moon Kying Soo was the next best alternative.

At $6 a plate, you’d better believe that every square millimetre is worth paying for. Beautifully assembled, with the onion and wasabi arranged in an artisan manner on the beef cube, I almost couldn’t bear to eat it and wanted to spend the rest of the afternoon photographing Chef Moon’s creation.

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And it tasted as good as it looked! Tender the succulent, the beef literally embodied that “melt in your mouth” perfection that food critics are so fond of mentioning. Eating it evoked fond memories of my favourite home cooked beef stew at Christmas.

Every bit of it was infused  with a strong flavour of miso, and though it verged on tasting a tad salty, Chef Moon’s Miso Short Rib is definitely something I would love to try again in more generous quantity. So happy to have an entire plate to myself so I could re-live this experience. 😀

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My next choice was Kanpachi Truffle Soya featuring Hokkaido Botan Ebi, Tenshin Sauce and Caviar ($18), another creation from Mikuni. I’m an absolute sucker for plating, and the sublime presentation of this dish sealed the deal for me.

Vivid shades of pink and yellow from the sashimi and the chrysanthemum petals, coupled with the strong aroma of truffle soya, made it look like spring in a tin can. Definitely the prettiest sashimi I’ve had. 😀 

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Like the Miso Short Rib, Mikuni’s Kanpachi Truffle Soya was a huge attraction at Savour, what with many tin cans scattered on tables all around. The aroma of the truffle soya was so strong, it practically overpowered my senses from the time Chef Moon (who was stationed outside his booth) served it to me, and boy did it taste orgasmic!

I can see why it’s a returning star at Savour; I just couldn’t get enough and the soya was just da bomb! With a refined aftertaste, it definitely added an extra oomph to the already awesome kanpachi. If only I could find this every time I open a can of sardines for lunch. 😀

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For my last dish, I had Chef Bruno Menard‘s Trio of Tartare with Vintage Original STURIA Caviar ($16).

Now, this was a really tough choice; I didn’t want to waste my remaining SAVOUR dollars on street food that merely had a fine dining twist to it. Don’t get me wrong, I was on a budget and needed to make the most of my money!I ended up circling the Gourmet Village a couple of times before finally deciding on something I had never had before: caviar! 😀

Kudos to Chef Bruno for helping me on my mini mission; the Tartare was exquisite to the very last bite.

He’s a real nice guy too, jovially calling diners to come get their little plate of culinary heaven. Prior to checking the Festival Guide (I told you I’m going on a “blind” taste test here), I had no idea he’s a 3 Michelin star holder too, having founded La Cantine and &MADE on our sunny island. Who knew that someone as down to earth as him would be the helm of such gastronomic goodness? 😛

Now for the taste test. 😉

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Marinated Veal in a Tuna Sauce; along with caviar, veal is something I’ve never had before, so it was an interesting experience trying to dissect the different flavours.

Garden Vegetables with Hot and Cold Smoked Sturgeon; plus points for presentation. The garden vegetable were like a pleasant potato salad. Overall a simple and rustic dish.

Norwegian Salmon with Lime Sauce; this was a winner because I love salmon! I might be slightly biased but this was my favourite among the trio. 😀

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Badoit was also there to give away complimentary cups of sparkling water at its huge booth in the middle of the village grounds. As a typical Singaporean, who am I to say no to free stuff? 😛

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Fancy water complete with sparkly bubbles. I’ll take my plain tap water any time, though.

The booths aren’t the only attraction at the Gourmet Village; to make the most of my ticket, I attended a couple of Celebrity Chef Masterclasses at the Gourmet Auditorium (all complimentary, by the way). I’m a huge fan of the Masterchef TV series, so watching these culinary talents up close was a real thrill. 😛

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First up was a dessert demonstration by Chef Antonio Bernites, who showed us how to make a dessert from Peruvian chocolate (pictured above), meringue and melted sugar.

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In case you thought that this is a scoop of ice cream, you’re wrong! It’s actually a bowl of melted sugar that was painstakingly melted, cooled and then blown into a spherical shape over the course of the demonstration. Talk about extravagant!

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Chef Antonio described his creation as “poetic”, and looking at it, I have to agree. Dried flowers and cinnamon powder atop a sugar bowl of melted chocolate and meringue; a definite eye candy in many ways.

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A less extravagant sample, with the same combination of flavours. Don’t be fooled by its tiny portion, though. The chocolate is really rich and the meringue goes well with it. The cinnamon powder added a nice, spicy dimension to the dessert. I guess this affirms the statement that chocolate is better than sex. 😛

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If you were there on a weekday, you might have passed by Bubbledogs from the UK. Founded on an idea that hot dogs (which is similar in taste and texture to caviar, or so they say), can be enjoyed with champagne, this is no doubt one of the quirkier entries at Savour 2014.

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Presenting Jose, a simple hot dog tucked between a freshly steamed bun and layered with all kinds of goodies – from fresh guacamole, salsa and jalapeno.

What I really love about this dish is its accessibility; you can actually find and create all its ingredients at home without having to fly to their restaurant in the UK, though you’d be tempted to do so after hearing about their dining concepts, including a menu that changes depending on the freshest ingredients available in the market.

A mix of savoury and good ol’ freshness, I would gladly have it again if I could find the time to cook. Did you know that hot dog buns should ideally be 6 inches, with the hot dogs at 7 inches just so you’d always have a bite of hot dog with the bun? Neither did I. 😛

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To end off my afternoon at Savour, I had a Mocha Latte – on the house – at Nespresso‘s air conditioned booth. A welcome respite after sweating it out under the hot, hot sun for the yummiest morsels. 😉

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Savour 2014 was an entirely enjoyable event and I loved every bit of it; I wouldn’t mind being back next year. 😛 For more, check out http://www.savour.sg/ or follow #savour2014 on Instagram and Twitter!

chueonit. 

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