Tuesday, November 30, 2010

singapore: waku ghin

On Singapore’s southern shore, past the Fullerton and the Raffles hotels, a massive new casino and shopping complex, the Marina Bay Sands, has been erected. Normally, I am shy of both casino and/or shopping complexes, but in Asia, or at least in Singapore, the mall seems to be king. This Marina Bay Sands is stunning, a modern feat of architecture, so high, so shiny and so new, it doesn’t look real. It looks like a computer generated image, a holograph that you can walk into, where you can buy a pair of Jimmy Choos and have an extraordinary dinner... 
We ate at Waku Ghin, the only Asian outpost of Autralia’s famed chef Tetsuya Wakuda. The restaurant seats just 25 people, all in private dining rooms with the multi-course tasting menu cooked right in front of you by your personal chef. (I suppose the concept is a bit like a super upscale, exclusive Benihana.) Ours was a serious young man, a veritable monk at the temple of haute cuisine. He almost made me feel a bit guilty, like I had laughed in church, for chatting and drinking and having a wonderful time, instead of savoring his creations with the solemnity with which he prepared them. His devotion to food was evident in the way he handled every ingredient- the caviar, the wasabi, the wagyu- and even in the ritual of cleaning the cooking surface. 
The quality, inventiveness and luxury of the meal can be summed up by the starter- a perfect sea urchin shell stuffed with layered sweet shrimp crudo, uni and caviar.   It was phenomenal.  

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