table65 review: Chef Richard van Oostenbrugge's first restaurant in Asia channels fine casual in the fine dining scene in Singapore
In with the new
We love watching, or should we say ogling at our food take shape. Which is probably why open kitchens have escalated to a symbol of gastronomic status. These days you pay extra for kitchen entertainment; even if it means a messier view from where you're seated. The new definition of fine dining — fine casual has renounced stark white table cloths and velvet seats for the better of an approachable façade. Most of us are pleasantly comfortable with the shift.
No surprise there that Dutch chef Richard van Oostenbrugge's first foray into Asia, table65 had the same idea in mind. Filling the empty void of Jöel Robuchon's 3-Michelin restaurant, table65 presents a far more casual mien — losing the hermetic opulent interior for a stainless steel open kitchen surrounded with front-facing high chairs. You won't find an impressive line-up of cutlery according to height here, they're all cleverly hidden in your own drawer. Plot twist: a homogenous set of fork, knives and spoons just so you wouldn't need to overthink which size to decide on for each altering course. The dining experience does get a touch of drama with visual light projections on selected courses. Let's just say illustrious content for your Instagram Stories.
The amuse bouche, was underwhelming at best. That we'll skip, and proceed to the myriad of bluefin plates that followed after. Cold plates of tomato consommé jelly and marinated sardines, cured mackerel with a tart vinaigrette and lastly a smoked horsemackerel with passionfruit ceviche, coconut cream and calamansi emulsion. All three dishes had the salty sea brine coupled with sour bold flavours, and only the last one stood out with the piquant use of coconut.
The first few courses didn't stray too far from the aforementioned flavour profile. But only replaced by heady nuances of fatty meats like veal tartare, bone marrow, and more briny seafood. Other bragging rights included a generous topping of Beluga caviar exclusively sourced from Iran as well as having the pleasure of watching black truffles being shaved onto your plate. With typical Richard van Oostenbrugge flair, the punchy flavours came together decadently — but they were replicated again and again with each beautiful course that came though. No build-up or experimentation with other combinations of ingredients that we wished for.
And it was the Toh Thye San duck that saved the day; a charming cut of the juicy protein (with just enough fat-skin ratio) paired with a nutty sauce of mole madre and blueberry aigre-doux. After the infliction from the previous courses on our tummy space and taste buds, it's safe to say that we still enjoyed every bit of this stellar main.
Of course, the legendary apple made its dignified appearance, however in a minature form. Turns out, the van Oostenbrugge classic was the pre-dessert. Diners could choose between desserts made out of birch, kumquat and chocolate. We tried everything besides the chocolate (affectionately known as the Balloon) and concluded that each of them shone on its own. The acidic kumquat squared up against a sweet, nitrogen-dunked rosemary foam while the birch unveiled varying creamy textures from the hardwood tree. Kudos to the pastry chef — all things considered, the meal had a sublime ending after all.
*Dishes from the course will change accordingly in a span of a few weeks at table65.
8 Sentosa Gateway, Hotel Michael, Level 1 (Opposite Lake of Dreams), Tel: 6577 7939
Opening hours: 6.30pm - 10.30pm (Closed on Tues and Wed)