The one trait that makes a curator exceptional is discernment.
It is hence, fitting for the Resorts World Sentosa outfit to be named Curate. The signature menu – which was the brainchild of Chef Massimiliano Alajmo and Curate – was a showcase of sensible ingredient selections. And the restaurant will look to handpick some of the finest hands to inject novelty into its dishes.
Mr Alajmo, who earned his family’s restaurant its third star at 28, is the first in the line of many Michelin maestros who will showcase their chops by designing a menu that will stay for three months as part of its “Art of Curate” program.
We started off with a Soy Cured Sous Vide Salmon Trout paired with Yuzu Apple and a “Sabayon” sauce. The tartness of the Yuzu Apple balanced well with the salmon. The salmon was unfortunately, not very well done and was a little overcooked.
Thankfully the cuttlefish cappuccino made up for it. Lurking beneath the frothy dish were tender and delightful bits of cuttlefish. The dish was cooked in black ink, and blanched with a reduction that included white wine, potato soup and chives. It was incredibly rich, earthy to the palate and paired decently with the wine offered – a 2013 Chardonnay from Tuscany. One of my dining companions did remark that the portion was just right: any bigger and it would have been overwhelming.
She was right, for the next dish was also heavy on flavor. Generous servings of licorice power were slathered on the saffron risotto and we were greeted with its intense aroma even before the plates reached our tables. The dish – which was conceptualized by Chef Alajma – was his take on East meets West, with licorice powder from India and grains from Italy. It was a synesthetic experience and one that encapsulated the historical spice trade between Europe and India. The rice was flavourful, creamy and cooked al-dente. My only gripes were that the dish needed more seasoning (pepper) and perhaps something else for contrast in texture – grilled shrimp, a green, or more heat such as cayenne pepper would have sealed the deal. But that is to quibble.
For the mains, we were offered two choices – a langoustine roll or a wagyu loin. The roll had a delightfully cheesy, dainty flavor – attributed to the exceptional bottarga. The meat was however disappointingly small for the main protein dish. The beef was unfortunately, also quite forgettable. Seasoning was insufficient, and the sear was not good. The only saving grace was its tenderness and the vegetables, which were generally well cooked.
The dessert, which featured two parts – an ice cream and a chocolate cake was well executed to the taste buds but did not have the most elegant plating. While I understand the experimental intention, the plate came across as aesthetically chaotic. The ice cream was good – it was lightly flavored and came with tiny pieces of bergamot. The chocolate cake went well with the white chocolate mousse.
The meal had some highlights like the cuttlefish cappuccino and the risotto, but unfortunately, the mains were a little underwhelming and the wine pairings were not excellent. We feel that the price is on the steep side for the dishes on offer, given the portions. But it is still early days, and we anticipate better execution in the next round.
We would like to thank Curate for the invite and some of the photographs.