What is it?
This integrated food and drink experience is led by executive chef Vicky Cheng (Foodie’s Chef of the Year in 2014) and award-winning mixologist Antonio Lai from Quinary (one of the World’s 50 Best Bars from Drinks International Magazine for three consecutive years), VEA offers a single eight-course tasting menu where signature cocktails or fine wine collection are introduced with each course.
Chef Vicky Cheng
The 30th floor of The Wellington opens to an elegantly designed dining room that serves as a lofty place to either focus on your date or watch the culinary team operating a state of the art open kitchen.
Welcome snacks served omakase style
The cocktail to food pairing for the most part works well, with cocktails concocted in a way that complements the food rather than trying to work the pairing the other way around; the food always comes first. The first cocktail was a vodka with dashi to bring alive the sea elements found in the starter. Balanced with cucumber and lemon, it was far milder than we thought it was going to be, unusual yet not overpowering. A tuna belly tartare with Hokkaido uni and burnt cucumber jelly was texturally satisfying with the puffed rice and smooth fish.
Next came hairy crab meat blended into a chawanmushi that came to be one of our favourite components of the meal, especially the bright hit of ki no me (young leaves of Japanese pepper shrub) which brought the whole thing to life. The cocktail used green grape vinegar that lends sweetness but remains staunchly vinegar, this was far more necessary to this course than predecessors. A tasty langoustine cooked a little too well was lost amongst the reduced langoustine head and tail sauce. Served with a salsify sauce, fennel and custard apple and a cocktail mixed with pinot noir, lemon and agave.
The Japanese Taiyouran egg with truffle, parmesan and caviar was one of the most memorable and indulgent dishes of the night. Served with a truffled Chinese doughnut (you tiao) and a warm mushroom cocktail infused with whiskey which, at the beginning is an explosion of flavours in the mouth, but by the end is rich on every level. A French pigeon aged for 12 days is served after being sous vide and marinated in mulled wine for 48 hours.
Truffle you tiao
The finale is an Australian M6 Wagyu, served in both filet and braised short rib form, with a sauce of fresh gingko nuts alongside yuba (tofu) chips. A mild lingonberry cognac, green tea and champagne cocktail round out the savoury accompanying cocktails, before a longan, oolong, honey and rum cocktail emerges to signal the first dessert’s arrival.
Wagyu filet and short rib
Dessert starts with a lemon ice cream, raspberry with pistachio cream, pistachio powder, meringue chips and frozen raspberry mousse which was half the table’s favourite, and a carbonised milk ice cream with puffed quinoa and a duck egg which has been frozen and then shaved.
Raspberry with pistachio cream, pistachio powder, meringue chips and frozen raspberry mousse
Carbonised milk ice cream with puffed quinoa and a duck egg
Rosehip hibiscus, apple, citrus and gin act as a cleansing digestif. Then the petit fours come in literally four iterations with Earl Grey orange madeleines (heralded by a most heavenly scent wafting from the ovens as each batch is freshly baked), Japanese mochi filled with mascarpone, raspberry jelly and toffee caramel in an edible wrapper.
Petit fours at VEA Restaurant
An innovative restaurant that meshes two of the largest homegrown culinary characters who have managed to harmonise drinks and foods in flawless synchronicity. There is a little way to go to achieve the perfect cocktail to meal pairing, but given it was the third week of operation when we dined, we have high hopes for one of the most eagerly anticipated openings of 2015.
VEA Restaurant and Bar
Website or Tel: 2711 8639