Intimate pocket bar 50Fifty brings together 3 internationally-proven stars of the Singapore gastronomy scene for limited sessions only in February. Pastry chef extraordinaire Janice Wong, Chef De Cuisines Tryson Quek, and award-winning mixologist Bannie Kang have teamed up for a prestigious 6 course dinner paired with 4 cocktails.
I was salivating at the prospect and the experience lived up to all my expectations.
What I tried
Dinner began with Algae, Iris Oyster served with a side of cucumber, kombu, and frost. I am not the biggest fan of shellfish but the cool, refreshing cucumber countered the oyster well.
Algae is paired with Clean Water, a light blend of Macallan Sherry Oak 12Y, guava, osmanthus, sencha, and verbena. I loved its presentation— a carefree dusting of seaweed powder on one side of the glass. Intriguing asymmetry aside, the seaweed is your key to fully appreciating the seafood notes.
I eased into the Ugly Duckling entrée next, which is confit duck rillette served with duck foie gras, a creative change from the usual goose liver. The crunchy meat was presented artistically sandwiched between two cute duck-shaped potato crisps. Bannie served White Meat to accompany the swan-in-waiting. It’s a light and fruity concoction of Brugal Especial, pineapple, coconut, and cream clarified, just perfect for the occasion (and for fledgling drinkers).
Rounding up the first half of the evening was 50Fifty’s Cow On Field, a steak tartar served with kale and topped with leafy dust, yuzu, and grain.
The tartar is a soft and cold dish of dried meat served with sourdough slathered in butter and mustard seeds. I think the addition of yuzu is a brilliant touch— it introduces a zesty, refreshing edge to a classically restrained mixture of interesting flavours.
Accompanying this from the bar was Bannie’s Green Land, an aromatic cocktail made with Naked Malt, fernet hunter, curry leaf, watermelon, and spicy maqow pepper. The pepper and curry leaf combined seamlessly together to bring a delightfully sharp accent to both the tipple and the meal.
Next up was Tryson’s Chicken Broth with cepe mushrooms, duo zucchini, and butter and Fatty Fish. The fish is salmon cooked in caramel butter and fermented tea, served with a side of potatoes.
Tryson bends the wonderfully crunchy green and yellow zucchini into an ‘S’, ostensibly an homage to the Sidedoor logo. (As an aside, I love the subtle creativity of that logo!) He also let us me on a secret— the chicken broth is filled out with a 1:1 ratio of butter, an uncommon mix but the combination does wonders. I’ve always liked cepe mushrooms but the Chicken Broth took it to another level entirely.
For me, the broth was the undeniable highlight of the evening. I am not ashamed to say that I channelled my inner Oliver Twist and asked for more.
Five dishes down and it was time for a culmination in sweetness. The indomitable Janice Wong pulled out all the stops in characteristic style with her Drunken Island.
It is an enthralling concoction of whisky crème anglaise, ginger, sea salt caramel, chocolate and bergamot. I really wish there was more chocolate and caramel here but I’m still trying to decide if that sentiment is rooted in a shortcoming of the dish or if Janice just makes immensely irresistible chocolate that leaves you yearning. (Knowing my chocolate greed, it’s more likely the latter)!
The dessert is paired with Double Red, Bannie’s cocktail of Macallan Double Cask 12Y, Campari, Amaro, Amontillado sherry, bitters and strawberries. Don’t let that last ingredient fool you— this is a drink with a kick. It is overwhelming for non-drinkers like yours truly and I’m not exaggerating when I say it made my eyes water.
The 6-course, 6 hands dinner at 50Fifty is filling but don’t expect to leave loosening your belt a notch. As I left the bar, I found myself appreciating the art behind each dish, drink, and dessert. The intimacy of the setting, stories straight from the three accomplished individuals behind the masterpieces, and the extravagance of the evening played on my mind for many hours afterwards.
This is not ‘dinner and drinks’; it was deliberately designed as an experience. In that respect, it is right on the mark. I found my night to be an illuminating insight into how bold Singaporean talent is wow-ing the world and still making time to share the journey with epicures back home.
Gastronomes with a penchant for experiential dining should book early to reserve one of the limited seats (S$138++) at 50Fifty. Available till the end of February.
Expected damage: S$138++ per pax
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