Thursday, July 16, 2015

Xperience at Sofitel: Eclectic French Fusion

As the name makes clear, it's all about experiencing an X-traordinary culinary journey of the senses at Xperience Restaurant. Located inside a French luxury hotel situated right at the heart of the CBD area, this award-winning restaurant strikes out a league of its own with eclectic French fusion cuisine that are blended with touches of Mediterranean, Italian and Asian flavors. 

It barely takes anyone around 10 seconds to walk to the restaurant from the entrance as it sits right next to the reception counter. Decked out in romantic LED lightings and ostentatious hexagonal structures, the restaurant draws attention to its centerpiece, a funky and plush "bed table" where experience-seeking guests can jump into and enjoy the meal in full luxury. 

More importantly, the kitchen is helmed by Chef Anne-Cecile Degenne, one of the few female hotel executive chef in Singapore with previous working experience under the world’s best chefs such as Michel Bras and Jean Georges Vongerichten.

Divided into starters, entrees, desserts, the menu is a straightforward one yet nothing short of efforts towards meticulous design. There are labels "juicy", "silky", "saucy" and "zesty" next to every dish to guide diners on their gastronomic journey, which reflects the simultaneous culinary focus on textures. 

For instance, the well-executed Pan Fried Foie Gras ($21++) lived up to the "silky" title with its creamy soft interior, which contrasted smoothly with the nutty lentils and hazelnut crisp. Yet this dish could be more exciting if some sweet or tart elements were incorporated to steer it into away from solemnity.  

The aromatic scents of truffles announced the arrival of the Truffle Pao. Served in 4 per basket for $25++, each palm-sized buns is blended with charcoal and truffle that results in a distinctive grayish tone. While the pastry skin was fluffy and subtly sweet, the sous vide short ribs filling were slightly parched and deprived of juiciness. 

However, both main courses were excellent. What exemplified a true smorshgasboard of different culinary experiences was the Cauliflower and Mushroom Texture ($23++), a mighty fine rendition of cauliflower in three different textures-purée, grilled and fresh. The dehydrated king Oyster mushrooms and crispy Vietnamese rice paper dusted with mushroom salt smartly elicited the nuanced flavours of this underrated vegetable. I felt as if I was enjoying a scrumptious bowl of comforting risotto that was actually carb-free!

Instead of red wine sauce, the expertly grilled Black Angus tenderloin ($36++) was drizzled in a zesty blend of balsamic vinegar and yuzu reduction. Yet it was not the only thing that deserved credit. The homemade condiments of sun-dried tomato and olive paste lent delightful Mediterranean touches to the dish and pulled the rest—grilled mushrooms, asparagus and basil puree—effortlessly into the picture.  

The meal ascended to a wonderful climax as the dessert was served. The White Chocolate and Yuzu Cream ($16++) provided refreshing bursts of tartness that might have made anyone’s face cringe if not for the sweet white chocolate that balanced the acidity. A truly sensational multi-textural experience as one zig-zagged between the crunchy sables and velvety white chocolate mousse, occasionally crossing paths with raspberries or white chocolate powder.

While I am unsure whether the eclectic fusion dishes here can really be classified so easily into the four textural categories, I can say that they are still very much rooted in classic European culinary techniques, with several attractive dishes that are worth to revisit. Kitchen service appeared to be under constraint when the tables are full but patience will most likely be duly rewarded. 

Enjoy 25% OFF Total Ala Carte Food Bill for Weekday Dinners and Weekends Only (Valid till 31 July 2015)

Xperience Restaurant at Sofitel SO Singapore
35 Robinson Road, Singapore. 068876
Tel: +65. 6701 6800
 Restaurant- Daily: 6:30 am – 10:30 pm | Lobby bar- Daily: 8:00 am – 12:00 midnight
Website here
Facebook here

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