The World Gourmet Summit is an annual culinary festival, organised by A La Carte Productions (a division of Peter Knipp Holdings Pte Ltd) and supported by the Singapore Tourism Board.
The award-winning festival is held in Singapore and comprises events like master-classes held by world-renowned chefs, hands-on workshops and formal themed dinners.
As the World Gourmet Summit celebrates two decades of epicurean exploits, we were fortunate enough to be invited to one of its themed dinners, An Israeli Evening featuring Chef Meir Adoni, priced at $148++ per guest.
Headlining our Israeli evening, Chef Meir Adoni hails from Tel Aviv where he owns the Catit group of restaurants. Citing his home, heritage and Moroccan grandmother as some of his cooking inspirations, Chef Meir Adoni does a modern twist on traditional dishes, while still respecting the ingredients and their flavours.
The event was hosted at The Disgruntled Chef, brainchild of local head chef Daniel Sia. His second outlet, situated within The Club Hotel at Ann Siang, exuded sophistication with a cool grey palette utilizing dark wood and marble accents.
Our evening opened with flutes of Champagne Penet-Chardonnet, Grand Cru Prestige Grande Reserve, while all subsequent courses were paired with wines specially imported from Israel for a truly immersive Israel dining experience.
To begin, we had the Mediterranean Sashimi Slices of Yellowtail, an elaborately plated starter.
The complex dish featured a multitude of components – cured lemons, pomelo, Labane red chillies, just to name a few – which added a punch of tartness to the subtly sweet Yellowtail slices. The ‘Jewish artichoke’ element of the dish elicited a few giggles from our table, and had a pleasant, nutty flavour that I really liked.
I found this more of a ceviche than sashimi because of its robust flavours and use of acidity quite unlike the simple and understated flavours of the quintessential sashimi. Regardless, it was delicious.
The Middle Eastern Hairiri Soup came next in a whirl of strong, smoky flavours. With chunks of lentil and chickpea, it was every bit the comforting, rustic stew. The addition of lemon dust gave the soup a much needed hint of acidity.
Veal brain and sweetbreads were cleverly shaped into a soft patty that tasted slightly sweet and earthy, not at all like the unsavoury expectations I had of brain and offal. The patty came with a mound of smoked cabbage and root vegetables, stewed to a delicious melty texture that made me feel inexplicably warm and happy inside.
The Bar Fillet with Sea Mousse was essentially a slab of Sea Bass served atop smoked wheat stew, green vegetables and yogurt. The dish incorporated many different textures: smooth, creaminess of the yogurt, graininess of the wheat stew and buttery softness of the fish, which I thought made it a rather satisfying eat.
The yogurt was garnished with chive oil, adding an eye-catching pop of green that tied the dish together visually.
Lamb Chops with Lemons and Bharat was my favourite main of the lot.
The lamb meat was tender and beautifully seasoned with a Middle Eastern spice mix, and had just the right amount of gamey flavour. The saffron couscous served alongside the lamb was fragrant, enhanced by the sweet, smooth dollop of paprika and pumpkin puree that accompanied it.
I finished all of it, unabashedly.
For our final course, we were served a Middle Eastern Pavlova. As the earlier courses were rather heavy and flavoursome, I had my fingers crossed that dessert would be less taxing on the palate. This highly-anticipated course fulfilled all my expectations to a tee, on top of arriving so prettily on the plate.
The tartness of the Strawberry and Red Raspberry compote and the vibrance of the Blood Orange sorbet stood in perfect contrast to the denser creaminess of the Mascarpone. I personally enjoyed the distinctly Israeli touch of fresh Hyssop that gave the dessert a floral, somewhat liquorice flavour.
In all, I concluded the evening thoroughly satiated, and very thrilled after my encounter with the rich, multi-layered flavours of Israeli cuisine, thoughtfully prepared and skilfully executed by Chef Meir Adoni.
T’was a truly gastronomic experience, in true fashion of the World Gourmet Summit.