Gourmands can look forward to a wider range of cuisines in the second edition of European gastronomy festival Salon Gourmet, which starts on Tuesday.
Besides French cuisine, the year-long festival will feature food and drink from Greece, Austria and Spain. It kicks off with a month-long series of more than 12 dinners and cooking workshops by international and Singapore chefs.
Greek cuisine will make its debut in a sold-out dinner, The Flavours Of Greece, on March 8. Chef Sotsous Dimitrios, of traditional Greek restaurant Alati Divine Greek Cuisine in Amoy Street, is offering a five-course dinner that includes dishes such as seabass tartare served with Greek fish soup and taramasalata (cod roe cream) and baked lamb shoulder with orzo pasta.
The restaurant's general manager Leong Khai Git, 31, hopes more diners can be acquainted with this "young and lesser-known Mediterranean cuisine".
He says: "We hope to raise awareness of the fresh quality of produce from Greece, such as seafood from the Aegean Sea, olive oil and the herbal mastika liqueur."
He adds that Greek cuisine centres on straightforward tart and savoury flavours, anchored by ingredients such as dill and lemon.
The restaurant has imported four Greek wines, made with Plyto and Xinomavro grapes, to pair with the dishes.
Also new to the festival is Austrian food, which is a melting pot of cultures from the Habsburg empire that dates back to the 16th century and spans from the Netherlands to the Balkans.
Austrian restaurant Kaiserhaus in Capitol Piazza will present a wine-pairing dinner in December.
Its executive chef and general manager, Hans Luftenegger, 34, says: "Austrian cuisine and Viennese coffee houses are relatively new concepts to diners here and being part of a European cuisine festival helps to introduce a lesser- known cuisine to diners."
Salon Gourmet is organised by Sphere Exhibits, a wholly owned subsidiary of Singapore Press Holdings; and food and beverage consultancy Poulose Associates.
Mr Francis Poulose, 48, managing director of Poulose Associates, says the wider range of cuisines at the festival is a sign of a vibrant Singapore dining scene with more adventurous diners. "We hope to include other European options such as German fine-dining and Nordic cuisines in the future."
He adds that about 80 per cent of this year's participating restaurants are French. "European food here is dominated by the French, as French cooking forms the foundation of many cooking techniques, which are adapted to suit the taste preferences of different countries in that region."
Besides showcasing resident chefs of European restaurants here, the festival will see French chef Alexandre Gauthier of La Grenouillere - his family's one-Michelin- starred restaurant in La Madelaine- sous-Montreuil, northern France - in town to cook for the event.
Chef Gauthier, 36, will be cooking 11 dishes for his second cooking stint here, including a dish of grilled broccoli with red roots, raw fish and smoked herring pearls. The pearls are created specially for his trip here.
He says: "I will be using ingredients that are in season during winter now in France, so that diners here can get a feel of my terroir and the spirit of my cuisine, which is strongly linked to my homeland."
He adds that he will create a roast chicken dish using ingredients that are available here.
"I am also very excited by the products and flavours that I will find in Singapore and, who knows, I may bring back some ideas to my restaurant."
Other highlights include a gala dinner on March 31, in which chef Gauthier will cook at The Clifford Pier in The Fullerton Bay Hotel alongside three Singapore-based French chefs. They are chef Sandro Falbo of La Brasserie, chef Lorenz Hoja of L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon and chef Alexandre Lozachmeur of Fleur de Sel Le Restaurant.
Diners can also immerse themselves in a south-western French dining experience complete with music and memorabilia at Bistro du Vin in Shaw Centre on March 15.
It will pair dishes such as duck confit with lamb sausage, bacon and white haricot beans, and char-grilled Iberian pork secreto with wines from renowned winery Chateau Montus, which produces Madiran wines.
Salon Gourmet aims to attract about 1,000 diners in its launch month.
It will be followed by monthly dinners hosted by European restaurants here such as L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Resorts World Sentosa and Alma by Juan Amador in Goodwood Park Hotel.
Mr Poulose says two more chefs from Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe will be in town to helm these dinners later this year, to "give diners something to look forward to throughout the year". Last year, dining events featuring Michelin-starred guest chefs were concentrated in the launch month.
HSBC cardholders get 20 per off event ticket prices and 15 per off dining promotions in more than 40 participating restaurants until February next year.
For more information or to buy tickets, go to salon-gourmet.com.sg or call 6319-4038.
The Culinary Artistry Of Chef Ivan Brehm With The Wines Of The Ojai Vineyard
What: Classic European dishes get a contemporary makeover with the progressive cooking techniques of head chef Ivan Brehm of Bacchanalia. Highlights include Risotto Milanese with aged Camaroli rice and Iranian saffron, and Duck al Mattone, which has duck breast enlivened by white chocolate puree, parsnip, brussel sprouts and cranberries. Each course will be paired with wines from The Ojai Vineyard in Santa Barbara County in the United States.
Where: Tuesday, 7pm
When: Bacchanalia, 39 Hong Kong Street
Price: $198++, $158.40++ (HSBC cardholders)
Contemporary Spanish Gastronomy Featuring Chef Daniel Chavez With The Wines Of Bodegas Arzuaga Navarro
What: Tuck into a five-course dinner whipped up by Peruvian chef Daniel Chavez of Ola Cocina Del Mar. Dishes include Kurobuta Pork "Pilota" with New Zealand langoustines and wild mushroom rice studded with pork sausages and black pepper.
Where: Ola Cocina Del Mar, 12 Marina Boulevard, Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 3, 01-06
When: March 9, 7pm
Price: $208++, $166.40++ (HSBC cardholders)
A Gastronomic Journey Through Europe With The Wines Of Vina Errazuriz
What: Chef Philippe Duc of Ash & Elm, the InterContinental Singapore's European restaurant, presents a six-course dinner, which includes the Ash & Elm Platter that has meats such as house-cured beef pastrami and house-smoked pork loin, and Tasmanian salmon fillet a la plancha, which is accompanied by grapefruit Hollandaise sauce and mixed vegetables.
What: Get hands-on cooking tips from culinary maestros. Chef Francois Mermilliod of Bar-a-thym will share his recipe for braised beef cheeks with red wine and strawberry shortcake, while chef David Nicolas Senia of Capella Singapore will dish out tips on cooking pan-seared seabass with orzo pasta and seafood fricassee and churros.
Where: ToTT Cooking Studio, 896 Dunearn Road
When: March 19 & 20, 10am, noon, 2 & 4pm
Price: $25++, $20++ (HSBC cardholders)
Antoinette Presents A French Odyssey
What: More known for crafting dainty pastries, Antoinette's chef-owner Pang Kok Keong showcases his cooking skills in this seven-course dinner. The menu features dishes such as foie gras ganache, which is jazzed up with pickled shimeji mushrooms, raspberry jelly and toast, and the classic pepper steak with potato mousseline and roasted vegetables.
Where: Antoinette, 30 Penhas Road
When: March 22, 7pm
Price: $135++, $108++ (HSBC cardholders)
The Cuisine Of Masterchef Alexandre Gauthier With The Wines Of Bodegas Muga
What: One-Michelin-starred chef Alexandre Gauthier of his family's restaurant La Grenouillere in La Madelaine-sous-Montreuil, northern France. He will be using winter ingredients, which are currently in season in France. Some dishes to expect are grilled broccoli with smoked herring pearls, red roots and raw fish and his restaurant's signature dessert, Grenouillere Swamp Bubble. While he is still working on the menu, diners can expect dishes in the same inventive style of his dishes such as Cochon Comme Jambon and raspberry and poppy dessert.
Where: La Brasserie, 80 Collyer Quay, The Fullerton Bay Hotel
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