Xperience @ SO Sofitel Singapore: Launches New Signature Menu

Young, exuberant and a tad eager to please, Chef Trevor Paulo's more forward initiative rubbed me off in the wrong way at the start of the dinner. Thankfully, after a few conversations exchanged, that was corrected immediately; his over-enthusiasm misinterpreted for challenge in authority, was one that valued true feedback for his artistry. Hired to revamp the Signature menu of Xperience restaurant at So Sofitel Singapore; he had big shoes to fill and yet a large reputation to live up to seeing that he had just been deemed one of Singapore's youngest hotel executive chefs.

Promising to "please discerning diners", I awaited for that vibrant and tantalizing selection of dishes that were set to implode my expectations for the usual hotel lobby diner.

Sure enough, the first dish set the tone. The no-nonsense Cured Salmon ($25) danced with flickering tones of acidity across the palate; accompanied by pickled cucumber shavings, cauliflower florets and tobiko; the entire concoction dressed in homemade fermented apple juice was everything you would want to intrigue the palate.

This was chased immediately by a mound of Spanner Crab ($25) - it's worldly combination speaking volumes of the Chef's travelling inspiration. Sweet and savoury juxtapositions are strong in this starter dish with the moreish tempura-ed seaweed crackers acting as dip sticks to the creamy luscious pile of crab meat, enhanced with a good hit of lime and dollops of lime mayonnaise. Sansho and wasabi snow powder boxed in neat squares is fragrant without robbing the palate of taste.

What I really went crazy for is their Beef Short Rib ($38). The display of  onions in various form showcasing the Chef's dedication to sourcing ingredients with ties that bind. The melt-in-you-mouth protein lifted my spirit; paired with a sweet onion puree, spring onion tempura, confit leek and onion 'paper' fashioned into a maple leaf that served more decorative purposes than taste contributor - I revelled in the party of flavors tied in with rich ruby red shallot jus which had an almost syrupy alcoholic quality to its glistening body.

The Lamb Confit ($38) transcends its showy design on white plates - the gamey lamb (somewhat toned down due to a clever choice of cut) is paired with Heirloom carrot and vadouvan jus; assertive tones of masala presenting in the commonplace association of lamb and spices in a different light. 

Desserts are the most engaging of all courses, ticking all the boxes for entertainment and flavor enlightenment. Chocolate lovers will come to enjoy the Chocolate Dome ($24) - hot vanilla creameux is poured gingerly over a chocolate dome encasing a 'shimmering' golden mess of chocolate cake and hazelnut ice cream within. Verdict: love the theatrics, not so crazy about the textural contrast.

Opt for the intricately composed Carrot Cake ($22) instead; Chef Trevor shedding new light upon the honest and humble classic with the slab of moist cake studded with walnuts and raisins paired with caramelised white chocolate crumble, heirloom carrots and cream cheese foam. The side of apricot sorbet melting quickly across the plate with such dexterity that would yield an overly sweet and wet mess. So act quick.

If you're looking for something with a little more showmanship, Xperience offers up a package dubbed the Xperience Celebrations ($100++ for four) that essentially creates a kitchen environment, table side. Customised desserts are formulated right before you, each ending with a pop, crackle, maybe a mini blue bonfire and definitely plenty of smoke. Worthy of a visit in place of the stodgy birthday cake option.

SO Sofitel Singapore
35 Robinson Road
t: 6701 6800

Operating Hours:
Daily: 11 30am - 2pm; 6pm - 10 30pm

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