Saturday, July 23, 2016

[Media Invite] Xperience Restaurant and Bar @ Sofitel So Singapore

Xperience Restaurant and Bar is located within hotel Sofitel So Singapore. A nice boutique hotel located right smack in CBD area at 35 Robinson Road. Actually, it is very very near Lau Pa Sat. Took bus #57 and alighted at One Raffles Quay. Then walked about 7 minutes towards Boon Tat Street.

hotel as seen from across the road
The Xperience Restaurant and Bar has a chic trendy feel to it. Able to seat 80 pax and boasts of an open kitchen where one could watch the chefs at work. If you are there, say hi to Chef Trevor Paulo; Sofitel So Singapore's resident culinary designer and one of Singapore's youngest Executive Chef.

have a seat, and be comfortable
Personable and passionate about his craft, Chef Trevor aims to create that memorable dining experience for everyone who comes to Xperience. Expect menu that changes through the seasons, monthly specials and Chef's Signatures. Learnt that Chef has a soft spot for quality Japanese ingredients which he loves to cook using French techniques. Chef Trevor's flair is to create new textures, design the visuals and introduce flavours with local twists for that So Singapore experience.

Talented Chef Trevor Paulo

While Chef was busy preparing our dinner, we munched on the house bread. Pretty good crusty, chewy bread with unsalted butter. If you like yours salted, fret not. Just reach out for that salt bottle that's on the table.

house bread and unsalted butter

Our first starter was the Poached Sweet Prawns. Fresh succulent tiger prawns were used, expertly poached and marinated in mirin, sake and soy. Firm and sweet, paired with crisp thinly sliced granny smiths and baby radish carpaccio. Decorated with sansho pepper to resemble a golden leave and arranged with some colourful edible flowers. Pleasing to the senses and each bite of the prawn was delightful!

Poached Sweet Prawns @$26++

Next, we tried the Cured Salmon dish. Interestingly, Chef whipped out a bottle of apple juice which he had fermented. This was used instead of consommé. Sounds exciting!

carefully pouring in the fermented apple juice

The cured salmon was snuggly surrounded by cucumber shavings, some microgreens, edible flowers, tobiko, pickled cauliflower and green pearls of dill and corriander. Beautiful contrast of colours as well as textures. It tasted exactly as how it looked. Refreshing with a tinge of sweetness.

Cured Salmon @$25++

Appetisers were very light on the palate and the fermented apple juice whetted our appetite for more. Let's bring on the mains!

Do you like lamb? Have you tried Lamb Confit before? If you are not averse to lamb, I urge you to come and Xperience Lamb Confit. It was delicious, in its own subtle way.

By no means was this easy to prepare. Lamb had to be trimmed, seasoned, ballotined, then sous-vide'd for 36 hours and then a quick sear prior to serving.

Lamb Confit (tasting portion) @$38++ (full portion)

Served with ginger carrot puree for that lovely bright yellow hue, Kenya beans, asparagus, heirloom carrots and Vadouvan jus. Vadouvan is a French derivative of a masala, which is an aromatic spice blends typically of cumin, onion, garlic, mustard seeds and fenugreek.

The lamb was tender and with very mild gameyness to it. The Australian heirloom carrots were great (lovely purple colour!) and really lovable flavour. Can't get enough of the ginger carrot puree. It was around 95% of carrot sweetness and probably just 5% ginger spiciness at the end. Was a happy camper with this plate.

Next, was the restaurant's favourite main dish; the Beef Short Rib. This was the first dish that appealed to the olfactory. Very quickly one detects the fragrance of onions. Rightfully so, since this plate had onion puree, spring onion tempura, onion 'paper' and shallot jus. First time having onion 'paper' and it was a fun eat! Interestingly, the smell of onions while was rather strong when served, the taste of onions was quite mild.

Beef Short Rib @ $38++

The beef has been sous-vide'd for 48 hours and hence, was enjoyably tender. One can't go wrong with a little bit of fats and I ate the slightly fatty bits with glee. Again, mild natural flavours.

Next up, was desserts time. Wonder what Chef Trevor and his Pastry Chef have up their sleeves.

Chocolate Dome @$24++

Am sure most must have seen photos or heard about chocolate dome desserts that melts when warm sauce was slowly poured over it to reveal something else within the dome? Similary, we got to experience here.

hot vanilla cremeux is poured over
melting the top of the dome
just a bit more

araguani chocolate and hazelnut ice-cream

Theatricals, either you like it or you don't. Regardless, the melting chocolate dome dessert was actually good. Balanced sweetness and lovely smooth texture.

Next, was a tasting portion of carrot cake. After trying it, I dare say that this is one cake that you wouldn't want to miss. The cake was moist and shall I say, fluffy but not quite. The espuma cream cheese played lightly on the palate and the carrot chips were like candy. Sweet and intense. It was a new flavour for me, having the apricot sorbet. All in all, yummy.

Now, a cup of good coffee with this carrot cake. Lovely.

Carrot Cake (tasting portion) @$22++ (full portion)

cream cheese espuma, edible flowers, salted caramel sauce, carrot chips. apricot sorbet, maple soil

If you like something a little more special, why not go for the Xperience Celebrations Dessert which is ideal for a party of four. Chef Trevor would personally come round and prepare this feast of a dessert, right in front of you and your guests.

lights off and let the show begin!
Actually, it wasn't really a show. Nothing flashy but there might be some fancy bits. It was more akin to being in your friend's home and watching them prepare your food.

How do I describe the experience of Celebrations Dessert? It was like watching an artist paints his canvas.

Chef Trevor putting his design onto the platter
The ingredients were all laid out, and by watching him one could almost see the creativity flowing. Little pumps of vanilla chantilly here and there, some coulis everywhere, carefully arranging the colourful berries, and a trail of truffle and chocolate soil.

in goes to the huge shell of chocolate ball
finishing touches

There was a fun interaction towards the end, and the end result, was a beautiful edible mess. Not sure when it got there, but there were macarons, merringue and popping candy in there too. Sweet.

For the Celebrations Dessert, do place a one-day advance reservation.

Celebrations Dessert
let's eat

Sofitel So Singapore's Xperience Restaurant and Bar offers memorable experience, good food and good service. Efficient and friendly staff and offers enough variations in menu through the change in seasons. There is almost always something different even for the same dish that you might have tried before. Chef Trevor has his way to present his dishes differently, or uses his ingredients in a different manner.

There are also seasonal monthly items, depending on Chef and what he has sourced for that month.

current month special

If you feel like relaxing by the pool after dinner, sure. Just head up to the rooftop bar where one could enjoy a cocktail or two while watching the CBD skyline.

rooftop bar
by the pool

Special thanks to Sofitel So Singapore, Xperience Restaurant and Bar, Dawn and Chef Trevor for hosting the tasting. Thank you to the good folks at HGW for the invite and fellow foodies for the company.

Xperience Restaurant and Bar

Address: 35 Robinson Rd, 068876
Contact 6701 6800


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