On the second trip to Savour, we got the dinner tickets and the weather was slightly improved. The most important was Biona, Collin and I were joined by more friends – Clariss and Kat. This can only mean more deliciousness in our bellies.
Like the first trip, we started off with the Gourmet Village. It was there where we met the charmer of the year – Chef Bart de Pooter of De Pastorale. He was trying to persuade us to give his dishes a try, telling us he had flown in specially for the event. Biona couldn’t say no to the chef and tried his wild salmon served with mountain vegetables and ginger mayonnaise. The wild salmon, which we suspect was cooked via sous-vide (where food is sealed in airtight plastic bag and gently cooked in a water bath over a low temperature) was moist and tender yet the fish maintained its firmness.
I went onto getting Arbutus’ deconstructed slow cooked 1824 beef “cottage pie” with hot smoked potato. 1824 beef is an award winning beef brand from the Australian Agricultural Company – the cattles are raised both grass-fed and grain-fed thus making their meat tender and flavourful. And the meat was melting in my mouth. The potato was a really light mousse that complemented the beef. And let’s not forget about the gravy – I had to maintain my lady-like manner and stop myself from licking the cup.
Biona and Collin were off to support Chef Sam Leong and came back with two dishes of the day – cold wagyu la mian with a hot and sour broth, and braised baby abalone with chicken glutinous rice. Though I did not have a taste of the abalone, the glutinous rice was jammed packed with flavour – it was sticky and the minced chicken was beautifully cooked. However the winner for us was the cold wagyu la mian. The cold la mian was thin yet maintained a bite. Though the broth looked plain, it was refreshing with a tiny kick at the end.
As the Gourmet Village is getting crowded, I walked aimlessly, thinking what I should get next. In the end I settled for Gattopardo’s risone cooked with red wine braised octopus and bone marrow. This was my surprise of the day. The dish itself looked ordinary and brown but every component was well-cooked. I especially liked the little nuggets of octopus –it was like digging for treasure – when you get bits of it, it was delightful and delicious.
We ended our walk around Gourmet Village with a visit to Bo’s Innovation. I chose one of their signature dishes – molecular “xiao long bao” and Biona got the Bo’s chicken rice. The “xiao long bao” came in the form of a small yellow ball but do not underestimate its power. It encapsulated this thick, rich broth which had a hint of vinegar. This dish was made much more enjoyable for me as the broth was not porky (people who know me, knows how much I “love” pork). The tiny red strip of ginger didn’t do much for me as I could barely taste it. We also bumped into our biggest disappointment of the night – Bo’s chicken rice which was made with yellow chicken stock and topped with abalone jelly. The flavour of the abalone jelly was rather mild, bordering to tasteless. The rice was a tad too al-dente and overloaded with chicken stock – the flavour was so strong that it almost felt like eating cheap chicken stock. After the high from the “xiao long bao”, we were quite bumped about the chicken rice.
Once we were done with the Gourmet Village, we walked over to the Gourmet Market. We couldn’t resist stopping by Windowsill Pies especially when Clariss and Kat haven’t try their pies. They both got the banana almond brittle and salted caramel chocolate pies. Both fared so much better compared to the lime, vodka, coconut pie. To go with our pie, we got free cups of Nespresso’s coffee and Gryphon’s tea.
After our pies, we took another break at our favourite beer vendor – Tuckshop.sg. Though there was no free beer, they were having a 1-for-1 deal which Biona and Collin took. And I settled for a Kopparberg pear cider. While we were having our drink, a handsome dude came over and offered us some healthy expired black bean tortilla chips. And we would never reject free food. Though the chips were a few days off, they were perfectly fine (the guy even came to check on us to see if we were alright).
Savour 2013 was a wonderful experience for me especially when it was shared with friends. This event was a great opportunity to try out food from Michelin Star restaurant without paying the high price, and in casual wear. At the same time, it was a chance for me to road-test some of the local restaurants that I have been dying to try and knowing I can go ahead and book a table with no fear. If you are a foodie, I would say give Savour a shot (but do get the pre-event ticket) and remember to wear your eating pants.