Friday, March 26, 2010
Emmanuel Stroobant Creates Magic with Singha Beer at Saint Pierre
Can you picture Singha Beer (or any beer for that matter) accompanying haute cuisine at a fine-dining restaurant? I'll be the first to admit the image seemed a little incongruous at first, but hey, why not? Sometimes it is good to shake things up a little. The big question is - does it work? Let's find out...
Singha Beer commissioned celebrity chef Emannuel Stroobant to create a special menu to show how beer can be enjoyed with high-end cuisine. This one-time menu was unveiled yesterday at Saint Pierre to a group of media and bloggers.
I am not much of a beer person, but I'm very much an Emmanuel Stroobant fan! There is no denying the Chef in Black's arresting zeal, charisma and energy! The room fell into hushed awe as he entered and gave us an introduction to the menu and the rationale behind its planning. As a Belgian, Emmanuel would know his beers (he has over 70 varieties at Brussels Sprouts). The Belgians make so many wonderful beers (the Petrus Blond is nice).
So let us see what the chef has created to complement Singha beer.
Certainly a delectable menu! The main dish is the Singha signature dish. Emmanuel says the beer's acidity (not unlike wine's) lends itself well to seafood. He infused some jelly with the beer and wrapped it around scallop mousse. He also added lemongrass as a nod to the beer's Thai origins.
North sea grey shrimp salad with thousand island ice cream, momotaro tomato and organic avocado mousse
The little shrimp sat on a delicious slice of tender, home-smoked salmon. We were intrigued by the savoury ice cream (sorry mine melted as I took photos) - thousand island really tastes good as ice cream! The avocado mousse carried all the flavours of the seafood, tomatoes and dressing, and tied them in.
With beer? Yes, not bad. Singha is a pale lager, so it's very light-tasting, much like a pilsener. I felt it was a great palate cleanser and took off the rich fats well enough for the next course.
Saffron infused mussel consomme with low temperature braised patte jaune chicken and spring vegetable julienne
If there ever was a beer snack in liquid form, this would be it! This made me chug the most beer! A clear broth, but intensely salty and bold. The chef certainly did not stint on saffron either.
I enjoyed the crunchy julienned vegetables, and the patte jaune chicken tasted unusually sweet. What is "patte jaune"? I looked up and could only find "yellow leg" (direct translation from French). Yellow leg chicken, all chicken should be like you. Full of flavour in every morsel.
Singha Signature Dish - Singha jelly with lemongrass infused scallop mousse and wild herb salad.
And now the main dish. It was more substantial than what was worded. Real scallops, thick, dense and meaty ones, grilled medium-rare. The smaller brown pieces are actually potato, delightfully made to look like scallops! Tasty too. The scallop mousse was like a seafood tofu and the beer-infused jelly around it lent a bittersweet tinge. Even the carrots were treated with something that made them extra delicious.
Oh this was a surprise item. Cheese with beer, like you do with wine? Here we have (from front to back) tasting portions of Brie, Comte, Munster and a super-intense goat cheese. We particularly liked the Munster. Honestly, I felt this platter contrasted best with the beer, out of all the dishes.
Caramelized banana crusted flourless Belgian chocolate cake and coconut sorbet
This must be the famous Grandma Stroobant's flourless Belgian chocolate cake. It's creamy, smooth, bitter and light all at the same time. Goes wonderfully with the angelic white coconut sorbet, and the caramelised sliced bananas.
Again the beer did well to cleanse the palate of the strong flavours.
We finished off with good coffee, petit fours and hearty appreciation for the lunch. There aren't many beers that I like or can handle (I don't have those critical enzymes to digest alcohol) but Singha is one beer I can definitely take. At the end of the meal, I'd nearly polished off the entire 330ml bottle, and without turning beet red either. I think Singha would go best with seafood, spicy food or intense flavours in general. Or just as a thirst quencher! I think I had more beer than water.
Thank you, Singha Beer, for letting me see the inside of Saint Pierre, and for the beery good dining experience. Look out for reviews by fellow bloggers Aromacookery, the HungryCow, Ladyironchef and TheLittleTeochew all of whose company I was glad to have!
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