Owned by banker-turned-self-taught-chef Han Liguang, Labyrinth is an Asian fine dining restaurant with a local twist. At Labyrinth, guests are taken on a culinary journey that are filled with memories of favours and textures of chef Han’s childhood in Singapore. Familiar Singaporean flavours are turned into modern, innovative and unexpected dishes that are aimed to stimulate all five taste senses – sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami (a strong savoury flavour).
Labyrinth is located on Raffles Avenue on the second floor of Esplanade Mall right in the heart of Singapore. The first thing you see is a small bar right at the entrance where guests can enjoy a cocktail before they are taken on their journey of senses. The restaurant is modern in style, decorated with white orchids and art work.
For dinner, guests are given the choice between one of two menus, the ‘Discovery’ or the ‘Experience’ menu both of which are categorised into different times of day, starting from 8 am and finishing at 7 am the next day. We opted for the 9 course Discovery menu (it is also possible to opt for 12 dishes) the evening we visited.
TINKGKAT ‘radish cake, rojak, nasi lemak’
The first dish was part of ‘breakfast’ at 8 am and was a great combination of flavours and textures, carefully placed on a banana leaf.
HOKKAIDO SCALLOP ‘bak chor mee’
The next dish that was still part of breakfast was a Hokkaido scallop which was incredibly delicious. Scallops are one of my favourite sea food and this one was prepared to absolute perfection with a beautiful subtle sweet richness to it.
LARDO ‘chicken rice’
The Lardo was a nice twist on the traditional Singaporean chicken rice dish and part of ‘lunch’. It had a lovely soft consistency and a great innovative re-invention of the local chicken rice.
COD ‘garlic XO fish’
Still part of lunch was the cod which was served with a perfect crunchy skin on top.
SPICES ‘OCK curry puff’
The spices OCK was creatively presented on a small wooden board – the different textures and flavours of the dish worked perfectly with one another.
SOFT SHELL CRAB ‘chilli & back pepper crab’
The famous soft shell crab was the star of the menu, where all five taste senses – sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami came together to create a little taste sensation!
BOSTON LOBSTER ‘hokkien mee’
Another wonderful dish was the Boston lobster which was arranged around a little ‘candle’ in the centre of the plate. The candle was a really nice touch and consisted of animal fat that could be eaten theoretically but was not really part of the dish, it served as decoration only.
After breakfast, lunch and dinner we were given a little palate cleanser before we embarked on the sweeter part of the menu.
MERINGUE ‘the tarik’
‘Breakfast’ i. e. dessert started with this creative ‘meringue’ that came in the unexpected form of a crunchy toast and showcased the creativity of the menu and its presentation.
SOFT BOILED EGGS ‘mango sticky rice’
The ‘soft boiled eggs’ were very cleverly made and came as an intact egg with its shell still on (first picture above) before it was opened up by the waiter in front of us. The ‘soy’ sauce, salt and pepper were all sweet additions to the dish rather than the savoury counterparts.
For the last little sweet taste of the day long journey we were served two green macaroons.
The menu was all that we hoped for – the dishes were creative, exciting, fun and an innovative representation of traditional Singaporean cuisine. We also enjoyed having a chat with Han Liguang himself who demonstrated his passion and dedication for his restaurant.