Aptly name, Xperience Restaurant is the place to visit to if you have had enough (who’s doesn’t?) of the over-familiar dining options in Singapore. Located at Sofitel So, its set up is chic with electric touches, complete with an open-concept kitchen assembled with prestigious Molteni equipment. I personally find Xperience’s approachable decor a major plus point, as one can indulge in fine dining fare sans the rigid formality common at white table joints, making this a suitable place for a date, catch up with friends or conversations with business clients.
During the tasting, we met Chef Trevor Paulo who has 14 years of experience under his belt. At only 30 this year, he is the youngest local executive chef in Singapore. The amiable chef demonstrates devotion and passion for his craft with stunning dishes, as well as commentary on the inspiration, trial and errors, as well as complex executions behind them. In addition to his radiating zeal for food, I believe the secrets to his success are his eye for little details and inventive boldness. I’m sure anyone who have tried Chef Trevor’s work will agree wholeheartedly.
The gastronomical journey began with Poached Sweet Prawns ($26), where Japanese ingredients are anchored around French techniques. Peeled crustaceans, with crunch that can only come from being fresh, are poached in mirin and sake, with thinly sliced Granny Smith apple and baby radish carpaccio as accompaniments. Dots of homemade Ponzu completes the spring starter. The engaging combination of exhilarating flavors is sublime!
The Cured Salmon ($25) was not only a feast to the eyes, but also the palate. The salmon, cured in-house for 5 hours, sits in a pool of apple consommé, which requires a week of fermentation. Cucumber shavings, pickled cauliflower, dill, coriander peaks and tobiko not only beautify, but also enhances the taste and texture of this creation. The best way to eat this, is to take a bit of everything in a spoon and let it mingle in your mouth. The refreshing flavors carries the raw fish very well.
While I’m not a lamb person, I can’t help but fall in love with the Lamb Confit ($38). You’ll be surprised at how much effort goes into its preparation. Young lamb, imported from Queensland, has to be trimmed and marinated for a day, then cooked for 36 hours to achieve amazingly tender, juicy meat. Sweet ginger carrot puree and purple Heirloom Carrots bring out the savory flavors of the meat brilliantly. A drizzle of Morrocan Vandouvan jus intrigues the taste buds with fleeting curry notes. There’s so many dimensions to this dish and I was savoring each component slowly.
The intoxicating scent of onion hits you the second you’re within range of the Beef Short Ribs ($38), Wagyu that melts in the mouth, onion puree, spring onion tempura, leek confit and delicate paper-thin onion tuile makes for a gratifying carnivore’s dinner. While this was good, I personally preferred the lamb confit as its more unique. And, not many places do lamb well.
Fortunately, the standards of desserts was consistent with earlier dishes. The Carrot Cake ($22) is definitely not the typical humble sponge. Xperience’s rendition is more upscale, accompanied with walnut cream cheese, maple soil, spiced ginger, salted caramel and apricot sorbet. I especially love the moist cake, with bits of dehydrated carrot chips in each bite, as well as how all the flavors come together. Sugar fix achieved!
A dessert for chocoholics, the Chocolate Dome ($24) is a theatrical display of hot vanilla cremeux melting a sphere of Araguani Chocolate to reveal a core of hazelnut ice cream. Anything that combines hot, cold and sweet is always lovely~
Perfect for birthdays, anniversaries or gatherings, Xperience Celebrations ($100) is unconventional approach on dessert presentation. The chef will plate it from scratch, right before your eyes. It was fascinating to watch Chef Trevor showcase his creativity and technical skills, with ingredients such as tempered chocolate, macarons, chocolate-truffle soil, meringue and berries to provide a tongue-tingling contrast to the sweets. Guests will have the opportunity to drop the smoked chocolate egg for the final touch, before digging into the beautiful mess. By the end of the meal, our insulin levels were bouncing with delight, but it’s worth every calorie.
Do note Xeprience Celebrations require at least one day advance booking. The dessert portion is meant for 2-4 diners.
Xperience Restaurant is exceptional in aesthetics, taste and execution. Every dish is injected with creativity and flair. If you’re in need of a multi-sensory epicurean treat, look no further!
Many thanks to HungryGoWhere for the invite and So Sofitel for the warm hospitality.