The best chefs in the world do more than present delectable food to diners. Besides harnessing deft culinary techniques and finesse into their creations, they also respect ingredients and innovate by experimenting. Thus, the renowned MICHELIN Guide tests their endorsed restaurants to venture beyond the comfort zone with fine dining.
Partnering with The Balvenie, Handcrafted By sought to engage selected restaurants in Singapore to forge gastronomic storytelling with whisky-paired culinary experiences inspired by craftsmanship and heritage.
Handcrafted By had a successful run with Madame Fan and Garibaldi last year. Hence, the series continues to tantalize diners with a 2021 edition with exclusive menus at MICHELIN Guide-handpicked restaurants in Singapore. First up is one-Michelin Star progressive Italian fine dining restaurant Braci.
Instead of pairing wines, The Balvenie's distinctive whiskies couple up with Braci's seasonal menu inspired by the former's tasting notes. Chef Mirko Febbrile, Chef de Cuisine at Braci, picked two of The Balvenie's celebrated whiskies and complements them with ingredients to highlight their gastronomic qualities.
“Like my food, The Balvenie whisky tells a story. It is interesting how many ingredients, no matter which corner of the world they are coming from, find their balance when paired with the right whisky,” shares Febbrile on discovering the malt-based liquor adds a fascinating complexity and depth to particular bites.
Febbrile's first creation, the Topinambour, is a medley of home-cured sardines, Alaskan king crab and rice broth. Pairing this savoury and moreish delight is the honeyed merits of The Balvenie 12-Year-Old DoubleWood. Diners will get to experience how this whisky interacts with the sweetness and creaminess of the Topinambour and the fresh taste of fennel.
“Topinambour, or sunchokes, is a potato-like root vegetable with a nutty taste. Sardine fillets are cured with Champagne vinegar and EVOO, while the Alaskan king crab is cooked over charcoal with smoked paprika, fennel and flowers. We try not to waste any of these superb ingredients; the toasted rice broth is made with aged seaweed and infused shells of the king crab,” Febbrile elaborates on this earthy serving.
The main star: Iberico pork and wild garlic raviolini
Another divine act in Braci's seasonal menu is the Savoy cabbage stuffed with Iberico pork and wild garlic raviolini. The superbly handmade wild garlic mini raviolini impressed with both texture and flavour. Serving as the base, it supports the layered savoy cabbage-stuffed black pork, ricotta cheese and sweet wine. Furthermore, its addition of caramelised with guanciale fat and crisps adds an exciting crunchy dimension. This dish completes with 5-vegetable jus (made from carrots, celery root, shallots, fennel and mushrooms) and Marsala wine.
The 14-Year-Old Caribbean Cask, which is Febbrile's favourite, serves as an inspiration for this dish. “The softness and how the taste develops with time is absolutely interesting. It is close to the flavours I love the most of my land: figs, molasses and oak,” he observes. There is an additional note of toffee, which he sought to recreate using Josper-grilled celeriac.
This Braci x The Balvenie menu paring is available till 14 July at Braci, 52 Boat Quay, #05-01/ #06-01, Singapore 049841. Reserve a table online or call the restaurant at +65 6866 1933 for more details.