Anthony Yeoh might be the man you turn to when you want to tuck into hearty French fare that doesn't skimp on the butter, but the head chef at Cocotte is also equally adept at playing with familiar flavours that sit closer to home. As the consulting chef behind the latest menu revamp at Gallery & Co, Yeoh has stripped the menu of nondescript cafeteria fare and replaced it instead with dishes that resemble an edible atlas. From Moroccan-style lamb baked in Greek filo pastry to Mexican tacos filled with otak otak, his multi-cultural creations are at once familiar and novel.
It's essentially fusion food, but one that mirrors the ethonography of immigrant cuisine. Elaborating on the approach he took to craft the menu, Yeoh said: "Immigrant cuisine comes about when people have moved to another country and desire to eat food from their home country. They are however restricted by accessibility to ingredients and the price of those ingredients, so they end up trying to create approximations. They want that flavour of home and food is the one thing that can give you the strongest memory of home."
The dishes, which straddle tradition and modernity, take a leaf from the museum that houses Gallery & Co. "The National Gallery has a nice cadence to it where it is a heritage building that houses modern Asian art. That's the same thing we try to bring into the food, where we have traditional influences presented in a new way," Yeoh explained.
Below, Yeoh takes us through four dishes you shouldn't miss when you settle down for your next meal at Gallery & Co.
Spiced roast chicken leg
"We created a dry version of rendang chicken, where we grilled the chicken and slipped rendang sauce under the skin. For the pesto, we included coriander, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil. We simply swapped basil for coriander. It adds a nice fragrance to it. At the same time, the chicken is marinated in spices very similar to a rendang, so when you eat it, you get the sense that you're eating rendang chicken but you get the twist to it that comes with the coriander pesto."
Chicken dumpling soup
"This dish is kind of a play on soto ayam, but with pierogies and chinese dumplings. This is one of our most popular dishes. The soup will remind you very much of soto ayam, but we filled it with quinoa and fregula (a Sardinian pasta). Then we filled the dumplings with chicken and sauerkraut. It sounds very weird but tastes very, very Asian."
Spiced lamb and creamy ricotta parcels
"These crispy lamb parcels are a Moroccan-inspired dish with spiced lamb shoulders, sweet peppers, pumpkin, and homemade ricotta. We wrap the lamb in filo pastry and top it with honey and butter almonds. It's sweet, crunchy, and savoury."
Otak otak taco
"That's a play on a fish taco but to inject a very Asian flavour, we took otak otak, steamed it, battered it, fried it, and put it into a soft tortilla with corn, pomegranate salsa, and some aioli. To finish, you squeeze fresh lime over it. I like this dish. It's refreshing, spicy, sweet and crunchy all at once. It's got a very nice balance."
Gallery & Co. National Gallery Singapore. #01-05, 1 St. Andrew's Road. Tel: 6385 6683