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Gallery of South-east Asian flavours on a plate

"The restaurant used to serve traditional Nusantara fare and launched its new menu in December 2021.

Nusantara refers to Maritime South-east Asia, including the Indonesian archipelago, Borneo and the Philippines. Each region lends a different influence and flavours are surprisingly novel despite their proximity to Singapore.

Permata Samudera or Nusantara ceviche ($22) is served in a martini glass, atop a shocking blue pea gel that looks cocktail-saccharine, but is piquant with notes of calamansi, lemongrass and kaffir. The starter is inspired by umai, a dish of raw fish, onions and chilli tossed with vinegar that Mr Dean's late grandmother, who was from Sarawak, used to make.

And nasi rawon - rice flavoured with the buah keluak nut - is reimagined as Rawon Risotto ($28) and gussied up with tempeh chips and slivers of blush-pink chateaubriand, or beef tenderloin.

There are also unique condiments such as tempoyak, a sambal made from fermented durian that is more funky than spicy; and budu, an anchovy sauce similar to cincalok. The latter is served with the Timor Leste dish Ikan Sabuko, or barramundi seasoned with tamarind and baked in turmeric leaf.

The menu is extensive, but keep an eye out for a degustation menu in the pipeline. There are also plans to include dishes with Peranakan influences for Chinese New Year.

Through his cooking, Mr Dean hopes to educate diners about the food and culture of Nusantara. "Our dishes are like the artwork and the restaurant is like a gallery displayed on plates," he says." Clara Lock, The Strait Times

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