In the same vein as Savour, the food event that debuted last year and is back again in April this year, the F&B establishments at the Marina Bay Sands have come up with their own version - Epicurean Market, which was held on 25 to 27 January. While it showcased the various restaurants in MBS, the highlights were obviously the celebrity chef restaurants – Waku Ghin, CUT, Mozza, Guy Savoy, Sky on 57 and DB Bistro. It was such a major event that Tetsuya Wakuda and Nancy Silverton, of Waku Ghin and Mozza respectively, were in town to promote the event and their stalls.
I must say that I found this better than last year’s Savour. For one thing, it was held at the MBS Expo, so it was indoors and airconditioned, compared to Savour’s outdoor event that was at the mercy of the elements. Also, there were more (and more comfortable) areas to sit/stand to enjoy your food, and some celebrity chef stalls even had waiters bring your orders to you.
This attracted the longest lines, and understandably so. For most of us, it’s the only chance we'll get to experience some of the restaurant’s offerings.
The two best bites we had were the Toro tuna with caviar and jellied egg, and the seared wagyu beef. Both were exquisite. The fatty tuna melted in your mouth, leaving a briny, unctuous aftertaste, and the beef was insanely flavourful – I guess that’s why you pay top dollar for really good quality wagyu beef.
The botan shrimp with uni and caviar was pretty good too, as was the spanner crab with garlic and butter; both just paled in comparison to the toro and the beef though.
Out of all the celebrity chef stalls we tried at the event, Waku Ghin was the only one that made me really psyched to visit the restaurant proper. Until we came home and I did some research and found that the degustation is upwards of S$400 per person. Way too rich for my blood. A dinner for two would be around $900, and that’s without any drinks. The fact that $900+ can get you a return ticket to Paris on Emirates certainly puts things in perspective…
At CUT, we tried a slider, and the striploin. Both were somewhat mass produced, so while they were quite tasty, I wasn't overly impressed. I think I expected the striploin to be more memorable; it was just a slightly better version of an ordinary steak.
The crispy pig trotter from Mozza was quite good. They picked the meat from the trotter, formed it into a little patty and breaded and fried it. The gelatinous bits from the trotter were a nice contrast with the crispy exterior.
Since Nancy Silverton, Mozza’s pastry chef, was in town, we decided to try their desserts too. A had the gelato, and I tried the butterscotch budino with caramel, creme fraiche and sea salt. The latter was amazing – I thoroughly approve of how liberal they were with the sea salt. They pushed it just far enough to almost cross the line into too-salty territory, but stopped just short. Perfect.
The offerings at DB’s stall were a bit puzzling. Besides the quail and foie gras ballotine, a spiced tuna salad and a Moroccan lamb sausage didn't strike me as particularly representative of their bistro offerings. We only tried the ballotine, which didn't really make much of an impression.
Sky on 57
Next to Waku Ghin, the second longest line was at Justin Quek’s Sky on 57 stall. There was also a smarmy guy there, pimping out the chef’s own range of wines to those of us waiting in line, which got a bit annoying.
Only the black cod with lime butter sauce was good; both the mushroom cappuccino and the “famous” beef noodle soup were ordinary at best.
We almost missed Guy Savoy’s stall – located right at the entrance of the celebrity chef area, I think it suffered from bad feng shui because it was outside your general line of vision. As a result, there was absolutely no queue, and we snapped up the artichoke soup with black truffle brioche right before we left.
This was very enjoyable. The soup was very uncomplicated so you could really taste the artichoke, and the brioche was wonderfully light and almost croissant-like.
We’re still in two minds over whether we’ll go for this year’s Savour, but if MBS ever holds another Epicurean Market, we’re definitely there.
For the most part, the food was fantastic. The prices though, were very steep. You don't notice at first as everything is $15 or less, then all the micro purchases using vouchers really add up in the end. Still, you do get what you pay for, high price = high quality. And all things considered, the desserts from Mozza were a steal.