Nordic kaiseki superbly executed in destination shophouse


On the Pass

Tristin Farmer

A strong pedigree: Zén is the Singapore stablemate of the much-vaunted Stockholm restaurant Frantzén – hence the name – which features prominently on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.

On the menu: Expect a procession of exquisite dishes including the likes of grilled turbot and razor clams served with goat’s butter, artichoke barigoule and thyme, or scallop with buttermilk vinaigrette, cucumber, uni and coriander. The meal wouldn’t be complete without the signature ‘Grand Tradition’ French toast, followed by a delicate dessert of tea, milk and honey, with pumpkin seeds and yuba on a banana and jasmine waffle.

And to drink? Extensive wines and a bevy of Japanese sake. If you’d rather stay sober, the stellar juice pairing is not to be missed, not least for the floral and fruity oxidized apple with Oolong tea and subu arare that arrives with the fish course.

Point of distinction: The dining format. Zén offers a clutch of distinct spaces proffering different experiences: a kitchen where you tuck into snacks and sip aperitifs; a dining room on the second floor for main courses; the living room on the upper floor for digestif and desserts. Unlike the counter-style seating in Stockholm, Singapore’s set up offers more privacy by way of individual tables.

About the chef: Look out for Scotland-born, Singapore-based executive chef Tristin Farmer, who trained at restaurants led by Gordon Ramsay and Jason Atherton in London, Hong Kong and Dubai.