When not playing host to Michelin chefs aboard, chef de cuisine Benjamin Halat introduces diners to the vibrant flavours of Germany’s springtime.
CURATE may known for its star-studded pop-up dinners by the likes of Richard van Oostenbrugge (two Michelin-starred Bord’Eau Restaurant) or Tanja Grandits (two Michelin-starred Restaurant STUCKI Basel), but chef de cuisine Benjamin Halat is not one to sit in the shadows. German springtime traditions take centre stage in Halat’s seven-course tasting menu ($188/person) and introduces diners to the region’s vibrant produce, the people’s love for nature and, of course, his childhood memories.
Available for lunch and dinner, the courses are split into three – Brotzeit, Abendbrot and Naschereien.
Brotzeit, translating to ‘snack time’, showcases a common past time of Germans as Magnolia trees bloom across its many historical parks – picnicking. Halat orchestrates the entire experience upon a faux, green lawn where he pulls out intricate nibbles of ‘Leberwurst Brot’, a foie gras and cucumber jelly dish, and his take on the traditional German pork knuckle, ‘Scheweinshaxe & Sauerkraut’, from a basket. The latter, a creamy croquette served with a dark beer and parsley emulsion, is paired of with a scaled-down mug of beer topped with lemon foam (a radler). The jewel in the crown is perhaps the ‘Radi & Rauch’. A sliver of smoked fish, wrapped in paper-thin daikon, is perfumed a la minute with an aromatic puff of savoury smoke to heighten appetites.
Before moving on, he offers bottles of Almdudler, a traditional carbonated herbal drink popular among hikers. For his version, he uses 52 different types of herbs, 37 of which comes straight from Germany. “I couldn’t get some of the herbs to recreate the drink so I had my family scour Munich’s many markets, pack them and ship them over,” chuckled Halat.
Abendbrot (dinner in German) showcases the country’s seasonal offerings in four intricate plates. The standout was the ‘Spargelzeit’ of white asparagus ragu made with asparagus cream and egg yolks salted in-house. It imparts a burst of umami – familiar to local palates – that goes swimmingly with the sweet yet bitter spargel stalks, more so with the notes of pears and herbs of the Louis Roederer Premier Brut NV ($36/glass, $180/bottle). The ‘Himmel & Äd’, on the other hand, is a mouthwatering combination of succulent Atlantic cod and black onion omelette, which found a perfect partner with a glass of Sancerre “Les Baronnes” Henri Bourgeois 2015 ($26/glass, $130/bottle).
Dessert, or Naschereien (sweet things in German), gives diners a glimpse into the illustrious chef’s childhood memories. He recreates his grandmother’s strawberry cake in the ‘Omis Edbeerkuchen’, an almond tart littered with tangy wild strawberries and topped with a luscious sabayon cream. Save room for the ‘Sanddorn’ as it showcases the country’s love for sea buckthorn in the form of a invigorating sherbet with a Bavarian Marx Gin buttermilk espuma.
We recommend rounding off the meal with a glass of Chateau Corbin Grand Cru Classé 2010 ($33/glass, $290/bottle). The enlivening nose of freshly brewed coffee, followed by elegant layers of sweet licorice and plums, makes for the ideal conclusion to the lavish affair.
Level 1, The Forum, Resorts World Sentosa, 8 Sentosa Gateway. Tel: 6577 8888