Salted & Hung has been making its mark in reducing waste for the Singapore culinary scene since 2016. Their signature tasting menu seamlessly imbues Chef Drew Nocente’s Italian ancestry and Aussie childhood, while his pillars for sustainability are fuelled from growing up on his family farm. From there, he married both urban and traditional techniques, utilising the most out of each ingredient, and brought the tasteful medley of ultra-fresh seafood and the iconic grill to the table. We visited the contemporary Australian restaurant on Purvis Street for their exquisite 10-course delicacy with the quintessential wine pairing.
As we walked into the venue, our eyes were directly drawn to the ‘hung’ dried meat indoors. The interior was grey and dim, with a contemporary design. We encountered several pieces of colourful artwork and blooming bouquets. As you step in, two discreet shelves beside the bar and kitchen house Chef-owner Drew’s signature charcuterie, all made and cut in-house. After a warm greeting, we sat at the bar table facing the kitchen, where we could watch intimately as the chefs prepared our tasting menu.
As fulfilling as you might anticipate from a 10-course, Chef Drew assiduously curated four small bites as trailers to the main for us to start light. First to arrive was the fresh ebi on umami panna cotta, along with the crunchy beetroot leaf. Both delicacies lightly sat on a wooden container, former with polished stones, latter with dried cloves, anise, and other spices within, supplementing the aroma for the beetroot leaf.
The fresh ebi panna cotta was our personal favourite. With the ebi laying on yuzu, kelp oil and pickled radish, it was simply the most piquant refreshment. Adding to the taste, the slight sweetness from the Rosé, exceptionally paired by sommeliers, was a warm and fresh welcome to our night.
Next we had the firefly squid on slightly roasted seaweed and kangaroo sausage wrapped in a spring roll with chives on the side and smoked ketchup underneath. Both dishes reached the perfect balance of texture with the crunchiness of seaweed and the fried skin of the roll.
The Zero Waste Journey
Marking the beginning of the course, a 24-hour fermented IPA sourdough, brushed with homemade Vegemite butter, was served with whipped lard and wakame butter. In the first bite, we captured the perfect crisp of the skin, as well as the softness and moistness of the interior. The spread of lard with chilli oil on the sliced sourdough immediately elevated the taste with a subtle hint of greasiness—without being overpowering.
We had the Hokkaido Scallop for the main, adorned with high-quality caviar, yuzu sake and homemade buttermilk beneath—extracted from the making of butter in the sourdough paste. Freshly embedded with the taste of seawater, the raw scallop went pleasantly with the fruitiness and hint of sourness from the mango slices and yuzu sake. The smooth white wine pairing blended seamlessly with this fresh seafood dish.
An exclusive plate for the 10-course menu—Truffle, a mushroom fricassee topped with pickled truffle and 38 degrees confited egg. Pouring down the mushroom dashi base, recreated from mushroom trimmings, it warmed the cockles of our heart from the chilled serving earlier. The only flaw from this ever-comforting dish was the picked truffle, which we expected to be a crucial part of the aroma or taste. But we were very satisfied with the smooth mushroom flavour.
Next was the Australian Green Lip Abalone grilled over hot bincho, awaiting to be unveiled under its shell. This dish conveyed the culinary philosophy of Salted & Hung perfectly. The broth was made from charcuterie trimmings, served next in line, and the grilled abalone seasoned with yeast extract from the brewing of sourdough. Alongside the lemonade gel and pickled cabbage, the fresh and tender abalone slices uplifted the taste buds deliberately.
Travelling from Chef Drew’s Australian childhood, we landed on his Italian heritage—the in-house fermented charcuterie. A selection of duck breast, lard, pork and wagyu beef was cured for two to three months, paired with expertly chosen red wine. This platter couldn’t have been more flattering. Looking at the pork lard, I couldn't fathom chewing an oily fat slice, but only because I hadn't tasted it before. We were surprisingly impressed by it, with the chives and sauce drizzled on top, and its sturdy texture, we almost thought it was a slice of red meat.
Another iconic dish, the aged turbot, was presented in its shockingly huge, dried original form, salted and hung in the kitchen for 2-3 weeks before serving. As you would have expected by now, the creamy sauce on the turbot slices were patiently crafted from turbot liver and vin jaune, creatively ensuring all parts of the turbot were utilised. Indulgently joined by the caviar atop, the cotton-like textured turbot was cleared without notice. Complementing the dish was a boiling pot of fragrant smoked bone dashi tea. Brewed with turbot bones and 5 Chinese spices, the broth was rich but clear, reminding me of soothing herbal tea—a total elixir for the night.
Now to my most anticipated plate as a beef-lover, the charcoal-roasted Kagoshima A4 wagyu was mixed with a 24-hour barbequed carrot, dehydrated twice in the beef stock, and placed over smoked carrot ketchup. To our surprise, the carrot recreation was meticulously flavourful, especially the confited carrot ketchup with its blended and cottony texture. The beef was relatively muted with less beef aroma, but still satisfyingly juicy and tender in texture (after all, onion and leek trimmings are extracted in the charcoal powder for the sauce, filling in the gap for the beef).
Just when we thought we were to be overwhelmed by the mains, we had the first dessert of the day (we know there’s always an appetite for sweets). The Packham pear panna cotta, in sage ice cream in a fermented pear base, brought us a rejuvenating sugar crash. It wasn't exceedingly cloying, but just right to restore our craving for more.
Before diving deep into the sweet wave, we have our last mediator, a tantalising cheese and cracker. Differing from your ordinary cracker, of course, truffle crackers and brie gives a strong punch. Laying on the crackers are the walnut praline and lavash, drizzled with plum jam and honey for a sweet balance.
For this dish, Chef Drew paid homage to his family farm back in Australia and named the dish El Toro Orchard. The caramelised apple sliced like crepe and sat still on the tart with a cookie texture. While the sweetness of this dessert leaned just slightly towards overbearing for us, we enjoyed the misty performance when presented with this dish. An accompanying card telling the story behind the inspiration of this dessert was a nice touch, showcasing the artsy and immersive experience they offer.
Rounding up the night, a colourful candy cart was served, with four sweet bites. The fairy bread was an Australian traditional dessert in tiny cupcake form. The passion fruit tart was filled with silky moose and white chocolate, while the Anzac biscuit was drizzled with caramel sauce and Golden yaytime bon-bon—a Singaporean touch from Mr Bucket artisan chocolatier.
Indulge in the fine dining experience at Salted and Hung—you won't be disappointed with their 10-course dinner menu (typically priced at SGD$188 without wine pairing). The creative and thoughtful mind behind Chef Drew’s dinner menu delights with a spectacular yet carefully crafted array infusion of flavours, proving that minimal-waste dining could be beautifully executed as gastronomical delights. If that is too overwhelming to you (which is likely when you have a smaller appetite), you can opt for the 7-course (priced at SGD$148 without wine pairing) where you can try out all iconic dishes from the house, and waste less!
Salted & Hung, 12 Purvis St, Singapore 188591, saltedandhung.com.sg