Restaurant Euphoria review: Chef-owner Jason Tan's ode to onions on a gastro-botanica journey
Onions are typically a pre-cursor, a base, a flavour jolt, or at the very most — a sidekick. But rarely the hero. The newest kid on Tras Street aims to change it, not out of random chance, but birthed from a love by chef Jason Tan, who most might know from 1-Michelin Corner House. His first endeavor for a restaurant of his very own, Restaurant Euphoria celebrates a feeling that cooking and food transpires. It is also a place where he has free reign over all, even if it means paying tribute to his favourite vegetable in ways more than one. From the tableware, to the chandelier, (that's all custom-made by his partner Arissa Wang), and not forgetting, the produce served on a plate, there will be many encounters with the onion here at Restaurant Euphoria.
In the same vein of cuisine coined by chef Jason himself — Gastro-Botanica — where the spotlight comes down on botanical elements of vegetables, tubers, herbs, spices, and fruits. Restaurant Euphoria takes that approach one step further with an added emphasis on botanicals. Veering away from the typical French technique, his four mother sauces all come through meatless — varying in degree of richness as you move on in your course — but nothing lacking in flavour and presence. From onions to just kombu, to onions melded with white wine, spices, shallots, to onions joined with mushrooms, butter, and many more, each essence breathes a new lease of life to the humble root vegetable.
We were teased with amuse bouche to be finished off in a few single bites. The first: a feuille pastry dotted with chervil puree, Baeril Caviar, seasonal flowers, and a Dancing Orchid for that light bitterness on the tongue. Wagyu tartare bikinis followed after, a moreish start but yet conservative in line of the extensive menu ahead.
And something quite unusual like the onion parfait held its own, despite its lavish counterpart, Kaviari Oscietra Prestige caviar, exclusive to the restaurant in the whole of Singapore. The pristine white sphere is made out of Cévennes onions and baked with smoked eel before joining the juices of yellow onions and lemons to finish. A piquant savoury element restrained with pickled pearl onions on the side. If there had to be the defining dish of Restaurant Euphoria, this would be it.
Other "staples" made a striking impression. Like the Bomba Rice, Spanish bomba grains sweated with onions, red and yellow capsicum then baked. Then laid in a fermented rice tuille, where the crisp and golden crunch factor comes in. Along with pan-fried geoduck, a spoonful of this felt very much foreign (in a good way) — for something as homely like rice. There's also the tendency to overstuff with carbs, especially with chef Jason's bread course. A hybrid between Brazilian mochi bread and Yorkshire pudding. Warm and slightly gooey on the inside, while holding a firm bite on the outside. The cherry on top had to be the caramelised onion dip, a fragrant brown concentrate to sweeten the savoury dough. Self-control is vital here, that is if you want to fully enjoy your remaining courses.
The lamb neck happens to be one of them, lined with the unadulterated satisfaction of choosing your knife of choice. All of which are hand-forged Damascus steel knives, specially commissioned, by a respected swordsmith. The meat is soft, hinted with a slight gaminess, smoke (from the binchotan) and finished off with demi glace — the richest essence on the chart. The desserts, too come as a pleasant surprise. A celery granita tamed with goma foam, as well as a corn dessert, intricately broken down into financiers and snow. Along the way, the drink menu will prove to be a journey of its own — from orange wines to sake to mead, it's safe to say everyone's bound to find the perfect pairing here.
The name 'euphoria' might have been an ambitious expectation to set for a new establishment, but in the case of chef Jason's biggest endeavour yet, an experience in this cosy restaurant does live up to it.
Restaurant Euphoria is currently open for dinner. Make a reservation here.
76 Tras Street
Opening hours: (Tues-Sat) 6.30pm-11pm