Yayoi Kusama is known for her paintings that incorporate dots and psychedelic colours, and the Japanese artist’s works were brought to Singapore for an exhibition in the National Gallery Singapore that will last from 9 June 2017 – 3 September 2017.
We have already covered the exhibition, but I was interested in trying out the food inspired by Kusama’s artwork at the cafe located at Gallery & Co. in the National Gallery Singapore.
Everything that was served, from the plating to ingredients used, was subject to approval from Yayoi Kusama Inc. so you can rest assured that this is definitely Kusama-approved.
Starting off with the Appetiser ($12), I immediately knew which elements of Kusama’s artwork inspired this dish — the vegetable salad had plenty of circular elements, paying homage to Kusama’s famous usage of colourful dots.
I was particularly fascinated with the yellow beetroot chunks as I had only ever seen red beets before this.
It was a refreshing salad, with the pistachio crumble beneath being the star of the dish. The crumble tasted like butter cookies, with the sweet and nutty flavour contrasting nicely against the slight tanginess of the beetroot.
The Main Dish ($25) comprised of pan-seared chicken chunks over a bed of quinoa and fregola, with mushrooms and slices of vegetables, including beet, radish and zucchini.
I loved the chicken, which had a beautiful flavour thanks to the ginger and hoisin sauce used to marinate it.
Paired with the quinoa, the dish had a nice earthy flavour without being too strong. The sweet potato puree and pumpkin puree also added a nice sweetness to the dish, while the crunchy vegetable slices had a good level of acidity that helped to balance out the dish.
The Dessert ($12.50) was possibly the most iconic dish from the menu, a bright yellow pudding-like dessert with black gel spots made of chocolate that draws inspiration from the pumpkins that Kusama paints in her artworks. Made with coconut mousse and mango curd, I found that the taste was predominantly coconut, light and refreshing with a hint of the tangy mango setting in after.
The black “stem” of the “pumpkin” is made from pumpkin sponge coated with chocolate, and the entire dessert sits on a disk of pumpkin biscuit. If you don’t enjoy pumpkin, rest assured that the taste is extremely mild, and the crunch of the biscuit provides a nice contrast against the smooth and light mousse.
I always thought that themed cafe food was tacky and overpriced for the quality, but I’m definitely impressed with how elegant and well thought out the Yayoi Kusama offerings at Gallery & Co. are.
These dishes are only available until 3 September 2017, so after an afternoon of gazing at Yayoi Kusama’s artworks, fans should definitely make a trip down to this cafe to round up the experience.
Expected damage: $24 – $40 per pax