Chef Lewis Barker made his debut at his new outpost Sommer Dining in Singapore, receiving a Michelin star only 9 months after opening. The latest addition to Ebb & Flow' Group’s portfolio of restaurants, Barker weaves global influences into the European menu and interior of his contemporary restaurant, his nuanced cuisine straddling East and West influences. At only 27, Barker has worked with an impressive plethora of culinary mentors in the UK, Australia and Singapore, and was previously at Vianney Massot in Singapore which also gained a Michelin star less than a year after opening.
Walking inside was like being in someone's very modern and sleek house. Some seriously cool minimalist light fixtures dangling from the ceiling and flickery candles lent the room a sultry atmosphere. I was handed our menu for the Experience menu – you can tell that seasonality is at the heart of the kitchen.
Images courtesy of Eva Piskadlo
A thick slab arrived lined with a trio of homemade breads and beautiful Kombu butter, we sipped on our bubbly in anticipation for our courses to follow. The canapés landed in a swift service, in three separate tiers; “Quiche Lorraine”, a smoked eel tart with Nori and Oxalis, and a Glazed Foie Gras. The apple and sherry vinegar elements of the latter had been worked into a thick sort of ball, lubricating the tart well. Three solid mouthfuls in their simplicity, they were the perfect start to the tasting. “Amuse” was served simultaneously, a dainty ensemble of garlic custard, confit egg yolk and Jerusalem artichoke. Heaven in the mouth this was, and it paired well with the snacks that came before.
Tokyo Turnip with Ponzu and osetra caviar, served tartare style, arrived soon after. We all cooed over the pretty presentation, and it was a delightfully refreshing dish. A cute mouthful, and one I could have repeated several times over. Lewis’ commitment to using regional produce is prevalent throughout the menu, as he explained that his ingredients were all straight from the source and flown in from Japan twice weekly.
The lobster dish was perhaps the star of the show – although everything had been terrifically good. The hunk of meat sat on top of a disc of caramelised cauliflower and finger lime. Jasmine tea foam was spooned expertly onto the plate after being set down. I like subtle theatricals with my tastings.
The Chou Farci was definitely my favourite course. It was a smartly plated Crayfish with Jamon, foie gras and shaved white Alba truffles. So delighted was I with the truffle and foie gras, I barely registered what was a plump and juicy hunk of crayfish, briny of the sea.
Pigeon was the last of the main courses, the whole bird presented to us on a seasonally decorated tray. It was cooked until blushing pink, with chestnut and salsify sauce, and black garlic. There was also a gooey reduced meaty jus hiding in there too, which was sweet and delicious and definitely not enough of it.
Each mouthful was a tribute to the autumn season, thanks to its distinct flavour of earthy and sweet.
Persimmon came sheathed in a white Koshihikari rice honeycomb sheet – this was a symphony of flavours I adored. Pan-Asian, but with a European flair throughout. Guanaja chocolate with sollies fig and bay leaf was served shortly after, the light flavour of the bay leaf in the custard contributed only towards texture, a silky smooth feeling in the mouth.
Mignardises were a fabulous finale, all sublime in taste and very easy on the eyes. Cupcakes, edible entirely including its casing, hid a liquid truffle centre that exploded in the mouth, sending giggles around the table. My two favourite bites – a green tea macaron and classic canelé – took centre stage.
The moment it was over I wanted to go and do it all over again. Which is probably all you really need to know. It is, after all said and done, a groundbreaking and seasonally visual restaurant serving contemporary fine dining on the ground floor of the Marina Sail. And you may as well do all you can to get there because there's certainly never going to be another like it any time soon in the Singapore dining scene. Lewis Barker is a true talent, and I will be watching his restaurant’s evolvement with immense interest.
Sommer Dining, 2 Marina Boulevard, #01-02, Singapore 018987
Book your table at Sommer Dining