Chinese cuisine

Li Bai X Maetomo creates fireworks at Sheraton Towers Singapore

It is indeed a rare opportunity to achieve cross-cultural collaboration in the art of gastronomy, especially in the highly sophisticated culinary world, and in areas that can be as far apart as Cantonese and Japanese cuisines.

Thanks to both Cantonese restaurant Li Bai and Japanese cuisine location Maetomo Kaiseki & Sushi in Singapore’s Sheraton Towers, such a feat is made possible.

This spring, Cantonese restaurant Li Bai’s executive Chinese chef, Chung Yiu Ming, will join forces with chef Akihiro Maetomo of Japanese cuisine Maetomo Kaiseki & Sushi, in a special four-handed collaboration to present an eight-course dinner menu. The experience runs from March 31 to May 1, 2022, Thursday to Saturday – perfect for that long-awaited reunion of family and friends, with the easing of dining restrictions.

Chief Akihiro Maetomo

Those who appreciate traditional Cantonese food in Singapore are no stranger to Chef Chung Yiu Ming, who is a heavy hitter with over 30 years of experience. For his part, chef Akihiro Maetomo, with an illustrious Michelin-starred CV, was once the chef de cuisine for the VIPs of the Singapore F1 Grand Prix in 2012. Foodies who have not yet savored the dishes of the talented young chef who has been running his eponymous restaurant for the past three years should certainly take advantage of this to ignite some gastronomic sparks.

Impeccable execution, the freshest seasonal ingredients, beautiful presentation and a balanced and refreshing marriage of flavors… This collaboration, presented for the first time during a media tasting, has it all – and was returned even more delicious with the presence of the chefs and the introduction of each dish prepared with love. .

The dinner menu is priced at $308++ per person, and there is an alcohol pairing option for only $68++ which I highly recommend for the simple reason that such a unique experience, coupled with the fact that dinner can now be enjoyed with more friends, is cause for celebration.

The menu kicks off with a duo of starters: plaice sashimi with freshly shaved truffles, and a mini bun wrapped in teriyaki kagoshima kurobuta and crispy tofu skin. Certainly, the start of a great meal calls for bubbles – in this case, in the form of a sparkling sake, Chikusen Junmai Daiginjo Usunigori Draft Sparkling. Soup lovers will appreciate the nourishing goodness of the bonito dashi broth with sliced ​​grouper and fish maw, which pairs surprisingly well with a classic mojito. Who knew?

Grilled foie gras and unagi

The following dish takes the intensity of the flavors up a notch with an interesting combination of foie gras with unagi. Topped with a sprinkling of ginger blossoms and sweet and tangy orange slices that cut through the richness, this dish is a real winner for me. A small cup of sweet but crunchy Yamadanishiki Yuki No Bijin Junmai Ginjo sake cleanses the palate, in preparation for the nuanced flavors of seafood.

The following course is a Japanese-influenced take on the classic Chinese treasure bag. Diced Alaskan king crab, Hokkaido scallops and okra are enclosed in a delicate egg white crepe bag that is truly the work of a Chinese master. Fresh Hokkaido salmon roe and uni do more than garnish the dish; they lift it with a brine that teases the palate. Brilliant. The sake pairing here is the moderately dry Yamadanishiki Sakura-Sakura Junmai Daiginjo, which has a refreshing nose of apples.

Japanese abalone then makes an elegant starter, and for someone like me who loves Cantonese cuisine, this dish is a star. The shellfish is cooked the traditional way (simmered for four hours) and served with charcoal-grilled bean, eggplant and abalone liver sauce. It’s as much a showcase of classic Chinese cuisine as it is a textural delight. The big, toasty Glenlivet 18, on the rocks, stands up to the satisfying salty flavors of the dish.

No “kaiseki” should run out of wagyu, and here is an appetizing piece of grilled A5 Kagoshima wagyu glazed in coffee and served with a side of junsai vinegar. Those who prefer pork could opt for ribs. Yamazaki Distiller’s Reserve, slightly tannic but super sweet, is another tonic to soothe the taste buds in case of overdrive.

Donabe rice

While many moderate eaters will protest more food at this seventh course point, any traditionalist at heart will never deny a good starch. This donabe rice dish is made in a clay pot style, with waxed meat, dried shrimp and mushrooms. These are two bites of heaven that feel more restrained and less heavy than the usual Chinese favourite. Black miso soup and Japanese pickles will help you finish it, slowly.

The dessert includes a pear topped with bird’s nest and umeshu syrup

I was curious what a Sino-Japanese fusion dessert would be, and I’m glad the item was unexpected: a poached Williams pear dressed in bird’s nest and umeshu syrup. It’s light, refined, pure tasting and goes down easily – just like the whole tasting, really. For inquiries and reservations call 6839 5623 or email [email protected].

All images courtesy of Singapore Sheraton Towers