Friday, August 11, 2017

Epicurean Market 2017 at Marina Bay Sands (MBS): What's Good There

The Epicurean Market at Marina Bay Sands (MBS) is back for its fifth year with both new and familiar highlights -- a huge wine fair, the Farmers Market, 30 masterclasses and special appearances by celebrity chefs. It's happening 11-13 August at Sands Expo Halls A, B and C.

Celebrity chefs in town for Epicurean Market
And what a slew of celebrity chefs we have this year. Nancy Silverton (Mozza), Tetsuya Wakuda (Waku Ghin), David Myers (Adrift), John Kunkel (The Bird), Ralph Scarmadella (LAVO), and Hide Yamamoto (Takumi Yamamoto).

A toast of teh tarik
Everyone raised a toast with teh tarik in the old school enamel cups. Yes, there's a strong local theme this year as RISE Restaurant, the international buffet restaurant at MBS, brings its first Singapore Street Food experience with four shophouse like stalls.

But with over 200 dishes to try at the Epicurean Market, which ones should you go for? Let's take a look at new entrants and the familiar favourites.

What's New?


Epicurean Market 2017 at Marina Bay Sands
Chef Ralph Scamardella is bringing the beloved South Italian cuisine that's the basis of his success in New York and Las Vegas. Combining a bar, restaurant and indoor/outdoor lounge, LAVO takes over the lofty space formerly occupied by Sky on 57. LAVO will offer a day to night dining experience with incredible views of the Singapore skyline.

LAVO's Meatball with Ricotta
We tried the signature Meatball with Ricotta (S$15). It's hearty with sharp tangy flavours from the tomato and cheese.

The Bird (Southern Table)

Epicurean Market 2017 at Marina Bay Sands
OK, technically, they were here last year as Yardbird, but it was still nice to see CEO John Kunkel again, this time with his restaurant finally open at MBS. Southern comfort food -- fried chicken, biscuits, shrimp and grits,

The Bird's Mama's Chicken Biscuits
The signature here is the Mama's Chicken Biscuits (S$15). The chicken is excellent with the pickled jalapeno. The biscuit is a little dense and doughy, so it will certainly fill you up fast.

Takumi Yamamoto

Tempura at Takumi Yamamoto
Hide Yamamoto teamed up with a tempura expert from Japan for this second restaurant. We got to try the Shoyu Tonkotsu Ramen instead though, so I don't know if this is any good yet. I'll be going back tomorrow to try this.

Dallas Cafe & Bar

Fish tacos pretty good here.


Ippudo has come to MBS and they've got maze soba (mixed dry noodles) which aren't available in any other outlet.

Seafood Paradise

The Paradise Group has carved a foothold in MBS now too, and here are some of the sample dishes you can try.


I'm putting RISE under new entrants because I've never seen RISE rise up like this. The local street food theme is a brilliant idea because they indeed do local specialties well. Their rendang sings with the familiar medley of Malay spices, even if it's a little on the sweet side.

Rendang Pipi Daging (Braised Wagyu Beef Cheek Rendang Style with Turmeric Ginger Rice) from RISE

Banana fritter and ice cream from RISE
RISE has also revamped its decor and changed its presentation (I'll be covering that soon in another post).


I didn't get to try these but they sure look good.

Familiar Favourites


David Myers at Adrift's booth
Adrift always has fantastic food. Chef David Myers is back again, this time featuring Hanasaki Queen Crab from Hokkaido, Japan. Man, they look huge.

Menu from Adrift

Adrift's Hanasaki Queen Crab with Macadamia Milk
The crab is dressed simply with olive oil and pink peppercorn, some macadamia milk and crisp fennel.

Waku Ghin

Tetsuya Wakuda at Waku Ghin's booth
Waku Ghin is one of the most popular restaurants at the Epicurean Market, and now with two Michelin stars, the queues probably will be even longer.

Poached Botan Shrimp with Compote of Egg and Oscietra Caviar
This year they have a new dish - Poached Botan Ebi with Compote of Egg and Oscietra Caviar - and it's quite a departure from the usual sashimi version with uni. I've never had botan ebi cooked before; it's sweeter than most prawns.

Epicurean Market 2017 at Marina Bay Sands
I'd recommend the Ohmi Wagyu too.

db Bistro

The crew at db Bistro holding out lobster sliders
The lobster roll at db Bistro is a pretty good deal at S$25 (see real size portion on the table, bottom left). We got little sliders to try since we were covering 19 stations.


Margarita Pizzette from Mozza
If you get only one thing at Mozza...make it a pizzette (S$10-12). These piping hot babies are so good with the crispy crust and bold flavours.

Nancy Silverton at Mozza booth
Say hello to Nancy too. You have to check out her Grilled Cheese at Mozza's second booth inside the Farmers Market.


Tamarind Braised Beef Short Ribs with ginger, carrot coulis and pickled lily bulbs
Wow. These ribs are gorgeous. Tamarind Braised Beef Short Ribs with ginger, carrot coulis and pickled lily bulbs. Pickles a tad too tangy and overpowering but the beef is meltingly moreish (yes, it's fatty).

Bread Street Kitchen

Bread Street Kitchen at Epicurean Market
Gordon Ramsay's Bread Street Kitchen is featuring its Fish and Chips this year again.


CUT menu
Steaks are the highlight at CUT but don't overlook the seafood.

Maryland Blue Crab Cake from CUT
The Maryland Blue Crab Cake sits atop rosemary aioli. You can see and taste big succulent chunks of crabmeat in the patty.


The Sweet Corn Agnolotti makes a return and I'm glad for it. I love how it melts in your mouth with creamy and comforting harmony.


Indoguna has always been known as a purveyor of quality premium meats, and this is a great place where you can try out their products.

Wagyu Charcuterie Platter at Indoguna
The Carne Wagyu Charcuterie (S$30) gives you a choice of five marvellously cured cuts like bresaola, salami, coppa, corned beef, pastrami, etc.

These shrimp with shaved truffles are one of the hidden gems in the whole market. Must try!

Even the mussels are uniquely tender and almost oyster-like in texture.

Farmers Market

So much produce at Farmers Market
The Farmers Market showcases gourmet produce flown in from all over.

Macarons from Épicerie Boulud
Oh these are wonderful macarons from Épicerie Boulud! I like that they're not overly sweet.

The Adriatic Pantry
The Adriatic Pantry is back with salts (including naturally iodised fleur de sel), a special goat's cheese (the goats feed solely on sage, thereby infusing their milk with a unique flavour) and beautiful black truffles.

Grilled Cheese from Mozza 2 Go
Mozza's second booth at Farmers Market is called Mozza 2 Go, and the highlight here is the Grilled Cheese (a Nancy Silverton specialty).

Wine Walk/Market

This year's wine market is the largest yet with 35 vendors; it could be the highlight for a lot of people, more so than the food.

If you like fine graded wines, check out the 90+ Club. The collection of wines all have one thing in common – the recognised quality of a 90+ rating.

Sustainable and affordable wines at POP!

One unique product here - vodka made from whey - from Black Cow. This cheese farm decided to find a better way to make use of the by-products. The resulting vodka is beautifully clear and strong. But if you're allergic to milk in any way, it's probably best to test it in small portions first.

FIJI Water has an epic lit sculpture made using its bottles.

This has been a bumper post and yet I haven't managed to show you everything. In short, there's a lot to see and experience at this year's Epicurean Market. Go have a look before it closes this Sunday!

The Epicurean Market is held at Sands Expo and Convention Centre
Halls A, B & C.
11 August: 12pm – 2am
12 August: 12pm – 2am
13 August: 12pm – 9pm
A Three Day Pass costs S$39 and includes entry to all three days of Epicurean Market, plus a FREE signature dish worth $15 SGD.

Many thanks to MBS for the invitation and preview

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