Master chef, maverick and culinary rule-breaker, 3-Michelin-starred Chef Alvin Leung is known for defying the laws of culinary gastronomy, crafting stellar dishes that excite the senses and go far beyond merely tasting superb.
Newly opened, 15 Stamford by Alvin Leung over at The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore pays humble tribute to various Asian cuisines in and around Southeast Asia. The menu features a host of dishes that showcase innovation, gutsy elaboration but above all, a contemporary twist on Asian favourites, all designed by the self-proclaimed “demon chef” himself and inspired by his many travels across Asia.
Designed to tease and astonish in a myriad of ways yet keeping true to the spirit of each style of cuisine, we were thoroughly impressed by the 72-Hour U.S. Short Ribs Rendang and Pickled Cabbage that, besides being tender beyond belief, was richly aromatic and nuanced.
The menu is carefully designed to suit anyone and everyone, from those new to the deeply-rooted flavours and recipes of Asia to locals keen on experiencing a contemporary approach to classic favourites.
SPICY TUNA TARTARE WITH SON-IN-LAW EGG AND PRAWN CRACKER
For starters, we had the Spicy Tuna Tartare with Son-in-Law Egg and Prawn Cracker (S$26++). For lack of a better description, think a Peruvian ceviche dressed in Korean gochujang and eaten together with keropok.
A marriage of different textures, flavours and temperature contrasts, the crunchy prawn cracker provided a nice juxtaposition to the cold spicy tuna cubes within. The combination of flavours gives the palate a nice sharp wake up call, whetting the appetite but not being overwhelming.
HOKKAIDO SCALLOP WITH SALTED PLUM AND SHISO
Showcasing a symphony of delicate ingredients, the Hokkaido Scallop, Sakura Plum, Shiso and Soy Jelly (S$26++) is a relatively refreshing option with an interesting medley of flavours that, while seemingly distant, work surprisingly well together.
Fresh Hokkaido scallops, its sweet flesh accented with sourish plum and Earthy shiso leaf, is presented in folds, showing off its smooth texture and begging to be devoured in an instant.
HAMACHI, CALAMANSI PONZU AND ROASTED SESAME
The Hamachi, Calamansi Ponzu and Roasted Sesame (S$28++) continues the theme of acidic and refreshing appetisers with its zesty flavours and cold components.
A slightly different take on the usual hamachi sashimi—one that’s heavily influenced by yu sheng no doubt—this version comes splashed with a sour calamansi ponzu, sesame oil and is dotted with a calamansi gel and fried garlic chips. The first bite hits you with a sharp, acidic tang but the savoury-sweet qualities of the fish and the ponzu mellows it out soon after.
THREE-STYLE CORN SALAD, HEIRLOOM TOMATOES, HONG KONG “PAT CHUN” VINAIGRETTE
Featuring an alluring trio of corn cooked in different ways—charred corn, baby corn and popcorn—the Three-Style Corn Salad, Heirloom Tomatoes, Hong Kong “Pat Chun” Vinaigrette (S$18++) presents a delightful contrast of flavours and textures, making for a pretty enjoyable vegetarian starter option.
Against the sweet tomatoes and the tart vinaigrette, the smokiness from the charred corn played off very nicely on the palate while the popcorn provided a nice pillowy crunch.
CHARGRILLED “BAK KUT TEH” PORK CHOP, COMPRESSED WATERMELON AND ANGELICA, BBQ SAUCE
Paying homage to one of our most beloved dishes, Chef Leung recreates the iconic bak kut teh in his Chargrilled “Bak Kut Teh” Pork Chop, Compressed Watermelon and Angelica, BBQ Sauce (S$38++) recipe that sees a succulent pork chop, deeply imbued with the flavours of herbal bak kut teh.
The dish is marinated with over eight herbal spices for 12 hours before being charcoal-grilled over an open flame to develop a solid crust and a smoky flavour. Complemented with angelica syrup-infused watermelon alongside beside it, every component in this dish is reminiscent of the Earthy Malaysian-styled bak kut teh.
72-HOUR U.S. SHORT RIBS RENDANG AND PICKLED CABBAGE
A robust and intensely flavoured masterpiece, the meltingly-tender 72-Hour U.S. Short Ribs Rendang and Pickled Cabbage (S$68++) impressed us from its aromatic appeal and tenderness. Coated in viscous coconut-based gravy, the sauce is imbued with the aromatic qualities of onion, ginger, galangal, lemongrass, chilli and the likes, cooked low until a full-bodied reduction is formed.
Cooked in sous vide bath for 3 days, the proteins and tissues are given time to slowly break down, creating what is, hands down, the best melt-in-your-mouth tender beef experience ever. Garnished over top is a combination of fried shallots, dehydrated coconut and deep-fried laksa leaves.
The pickled cabbage gives the dish a nice crunch and its sharp tang helps to cut through the intense beefy flavours.
LAKSA, HOUSEMADE DRIED SHRIMP FLOSS, CHARGRILLED TIGER PRAWNS AND SMOKED ONSEN QUAIL EGGS
To avoid going off tangent with his recipes, Chef Leung is careful about preserving the essence of each and every dish, and one that best exemplifies this is his Laksa, Housemade Dried Shrimp Floss, Chargrilled Tiger Prawns and Smoked Onsen Quail Eggs (S$32++).
This luxe dish, in all its spicy, coconut cream glory, offers a savoury decadence, and the broth—quite a marvellous rendition if we may add—is flavoured using live shrimp and Chef Leung’s housemade shrimp oil as opposed to the traditional shrimp paste. It comes rather close to the laksa we’re used to, with a few tweaks in the form of chargrilled tiger prawns, jasmine tea-smoked onsen quail eggs and house-made dried shrimp floss.
15 Stamford By Alvin Leung
15 Stamford Road
The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore
Tel: +65 6715 6871
Daily: 12pm – 3pm, 6pm – 10.30pm
Nearest Station: City Hall
This post was brought to you by 15 Stamford By Alvin Leung.