What in the world is Alpine cuisine? I guess as Singapore become more and more cosmopolitan, it is inevitable that cuisine types will also get more and more diverse. Which is why I was really intrigued when I received the invite to try out Zott's at Amoy Street, and was asked to take a look at the menu and pick out the epicurean journey I'll like to take through the alps from the regions of Switzerland, Germany, Austria, France, Italy and Slovenia.
This 1-month old restaurant in a shophouse sits open-jawed facing the street like a sleeping dragon amidst Korean restaurants and other eateries. Which is why I was really surprised to find the decor so different from the rest when I stepped into the "lair". What stood out was the numerous art pieces stored behind glass panels on the walls. I feel like I just stepped into a New York art loft / gallery, but the wooden panelling of the place gave me that Swiss cottage vibe too.
A unique open-kitchen concept sits at the back of the restaurant, where you hear head Austrian Chef Lorenz-Maria Griesser call out orders to the team that busied around purposely like a well-oiled engine. Here's the team photo, with the Chef looking imposingly strict. He wasn't all that stern when he was out of this picture though! I think he just wanted to maintain a certain look :P
His taxidermied pet bull lording over everyone in the kitchen. Yes, you did not see wrong.
Slightly grotesque, extremely interesting.
Before we start, how about burying your face in a glass of grass?
This was the starting cocktail we were given, where you have to tilt the test tube with the grass around it so you can smell the aroma while drinking. It is called the Haystack ($24) made with Vodka, Birndl pear liqueur, lime juice, Rose’s lime juice, sugar and matcha tea. There's a bar on the second floor which will be opening soon to serve up all kinds of drinks like this.
We were first given a complimentary plate of Konig Ludwig Brot – traditional Bavarian rye, spelt and malt bread, made in-house daily and served with chives and radish.
At this point, when I asked our host Amanda on what will be on the menu that night, all I got was a non-reply. Which is really worrying. Because that means we can't plan for our portion intake. But I suppose it is also quite exciting to not know what's coming next.
This Carpaccio d’espadon ($28) which is swordfish carpaccio with Topaz apple mousse was a delightful surprise that came up next. While the carpaccio tasted normal, the 'apple' was actually made up of really soft cloud-like apple sorbet which I did not expect to find. It was really refreshing and innovative.
Next we tried the insalata di finocchio, arance e olive ($26) which in english means fennel salad with oranges, goat cheese mousse and an olive sphere.
Some really good white was served to go with our dinner. This is an indie label you won't find widely available.
Next, the Suedtiroler Apfelsuppe ($26). Again in plain English it is apple cream soup with potato "stones" and marinated “Saibling” (char, lake fish from the Alps). The black balls you see there are the 'stones', which Chef explained to be made with potatoes and coated with squid ink. That is a lot of effort for 1 small ball! The apple cream soup actually tasted quite... Indian curryish. I don't know why, but that is fine by me because it warms you up (not spicy though!)
Next, the much-raved Anchois Provençale ($22). It is in fact pickled anchovies with melon sorbet and pistachios, which was delightful. I think this could be my favorite appetizer as well! The anchovies were super good, together with the sweet and fruity sorbet.
We had some Saint Pierre ($56) John Dory fish with sugar snap peas, “plum coals” and kumquats as well. The plum coals were the things that stood out in this dish. I won't say the fish itself was very spectacular.
One of the highlights of that night was tasting the Bouillabaisse Marseillaises ($87) made of provencal fish broth with poached fish and fennel, served with toasted ciabatta and sauce rouille (red scorpion fish was specially imported from the alps) that is meant to be shared between 2 – 3 pax. The red scorpion fish was such a rare delicacy, I felt really glad to have tried it! The sauce that was produced was rich, filled with complex flavours and very satisfying. I could just mop this up with some bread!
Then there's the 3-course Tellerfleisch for $75. It comprises of several cuts of beef boiled in its own juice, served in three courses.
The 1st course: Baked “Schulterscherzl” (oyster blade) with parsley dip and tartar sauce was quite fun to eat because the parsley and tartar sauce with the breaded texture made it almost like a snack. Sort of something you would imagine being served at Savour.
The 2nd course is broth with homemade oxtail ravioli and bone marrow. It looks like a germ in this presentation, but tasted quite comforting. Just one ravioli is enough too because at this point we were pretty much stuffed.
Then there's the 3rd course: haunch and prime rib with carrots, leeks, served with freshly grated horseradish. Feels like something grandma will serve after you come home from milking some cows! The prime rib was tender and juicy.
Then we come to my favorite dish of the night. The Kaiserschmarrn (As a starter: $29 / As a main: $45) – Zott’s style, with pan-fried foie gras and pineapple-goose liver ice cream. Yes you've heard right, it is pineapple-foie gras ice cream. You won't believe how well the combination goes together, and then there's the savory foi gras on the side as well. I might just go back to have this on its own!
Alright, two more meat dishes. The classic Wiener Schnitzel ($48) with thinly sliced veal escalope, breaded and pan-fried, served with potato foam and red radish salad. The schnitzel was done very well - crunchy on the outside, goodness inside. The salad was almost not necessary, if not for the fun potato foam.
And the very evocatively named Bondage Chicken, Bavarian style ($36) made with roasted chicken seasoned with sweet paprika powder, curry and cayenne pepper and served with truffle mayonnaise or fruit sour cream. Well... at this stage I might have been slightly too overwhelmed by all the food to properly enjoy it, but as far as memory serves, this wasn't too bad. I won't come here specifically if I wanted a roasted chicken though because there's so many other exciting meat dishes to try.
The Griessbrei ($16) was semolina pudding served with pear ice cream, cinnamon sugar and mint basil butter. I liked the pear ice cream. The semolina pudding, not so much as I find the cinnamon to overpowder the rest (pun intended!)
For the Topfen-Nougat-Knodel, it is made of poached curd cheese dumplings, filled with nougat and served with rhubarb ragout and yogurt ice cream.
Unfortunately I did not think these two desserts stood out as much as the foie gras x pineapple ice cream. In fact, after all the complexities before, I had hoped that dessert could be a simple creme brulee.
To cap off the night we each had a horn's worth of Buttermilk cocktail ($24), which is made with buttermilk, elderberry syrup, blackcurrant syrup, Kernlos plum liqueur, Vodka and cream. It was such a sweet and creamy cocktail that this made for a better dessert compared to the non-liquid ones!
The novelty of drinking off a (plastic) bull's horn was also intoxicating, not to mention the drink inside. Cheers and thanks to Zott's for the invite!
An experience not to be missed. If you are looking for something special in a boring day.. or week.. or month, go to Zott's and be transported to the alpine region, where the hills are alive... with the sound of cowbells and cooking!
97 Amoy Street, Singapore 069917
Tel: +65 62230913
Mon – Fri: Lunch 11.00 am – 2.30 pm
Mon – Sat: Dinner 6.00 pm – 11.30 pm
Closed on Sundays