Zén – Singapore

Our date night adventure saw us departing from our fave restaurant to check out Restaurant Zen run by chef-restaurateur Bjorn Frantzen. The 24-seat restaurant will serve tasting menus only, priced at $450 for nine courses plus snacks (apparently the priciest in Singapore) and the food is chef Frantzen’s interpretation of Nordic, French and Japanese cuisine – his take on kaiseki dining.

Perhaps being somewhat new to the dining scene in Singapore and with the high price-tag per diner, reservations were not particularly too difficult to score when we headed down in January. The Man booked us in sometime in December 2018 and Zen only opened its doors in Singapore around November.

I’ll have to admit that doing research on the restaurant and checking out a couple of reviews before heading there, the stakes/ expectations were high.

As the restaurant took over the premises of Andre which was formerly a 3-storey shop-house, diners are expected to be moving through the different floors throughout dinner. So for starters, we had them on the first floor where we also saw the open kitchen and watched how the chefs prepped our meals using the freshest ingredients on-hand that were proudly displayed for the evening.

Our starters were all prettily plated with different servers coming to us to explain the philosophy and the inspiration behind each dish. In fact, throughout the meal, there was a lot of attention paid to explaining the concept behind each dish.

There were elements to some of the dishes which both the Man and I enjoyed very much but for some dishes, we thought it could have been done better.

Lighting was also not the very best so the photos taken in the dim light didn’t do much justice to the dishes. But one thing that served my memory well is that we walked away with a lot of rich flavours left lingering in our palette. Some of the ingredients complemented one another but sadly, there were more that didn’t.

Perhaps it’s also the teething phase that some new restaurants go through when they open their doors in Singapore or perhaps we have been spoiled by oh-too-familiar flavours by our fave chefs. One thing we do know is that we won’t be visiting Zen again too soon and perhaps let some time pass before we head back again to try out the meal.


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