When the Michelin Guide officially launched a Singapore version in July last year, The Kitchen at Bacchanalia was one of the few restaurants to earn their stamp of approval with a one-Michelin star rating.
Usually restaurants would not change their head chef after just getting a newly minted Michelin star. However, Bacchanalia announced such a change late last year.
Chef Ivan Brehm who led the opening team of Bacchanalia in Coleman Street in 2013, opted to return to his home in Brazil for a sabbatical in December 2016.
Replacing his shoes will be Australia-born Head Chef, Luke Armstrong, 30. Chef Luke brings with him, an impressive portfolio of ten years’ experience working in the kitchens of award-winning restaurants in the UK and The Netherlands, including Pied a Terre in London (one Michelin Star), The Ledbury in London (two Michelin Stars) and Sergio Herman’s world-renowned three-Michelin star Oud Sluis in The Netherlands.
Before arriving at Bacchanalia, Chef Luke was the Head Chef of Gordon Ramsay’s Maze restaurant in London which lost its one Michelin star last year, before Chef Luke joined. He took over a week after the Michelin guide came out and the Chef incumbent resigned.
Chef Luke is now based in Singapore to helm the one-Michelin-starred The Kitchen at Bacchanalia. It would be up to him to defend the hard won one Michelin star legacy, left behind by his predecessor.
“As we welcome Luke Armstrong on board, The Kitchen at Bacchanalia embraces a refreshed outlook to take the restaurant’s unique interactive dining experience to new heights,” shared Raj Datwani and Alex Chew, both Directors and Co-Owners of the restaurant.
Chef Luke shared that he will be leading his team with a focus on uncompromising quality of ingredients, solid culinary technique and dedicated personalised experience. He added: “These are very exciting times for me as this new chapter in my culinary journey gets into full swing. I am thrilled to be a part of The Kitchen at Bacchanalia’s dynamic team and giving Singapore’s diners memorable experiences that would have them coming back for more.”
We were invited to try out some of the dishes in his 8-Course Tasting Menu (priced at S$188++ per pax). These are the items we sampled:
Chef Luke’s dedication to top ingredient was evidential when he chose to serve mackerel instead of monkfish which was indicated on the tasting menu. He came to apologise to everyone about the change and explained his rationale – the monkfish that day was just not good enough and he did not want to compromise on quality, “just because it’s on the menu”. With seafood, the freshness and quality of the ingredient is seasonal and often unpredictable, depending on global conditions.
When Chef Luke came out of the kitchen to address everyone, his passion for his craft catches on you as he goes to great length to share on how he sourced for each individual component that goes into a dish to ensure the highest quality and taste.
The meal was exquisite and beautifully presented. Every dish is lovingly constructed with perfectly cooked ingredients and plated with the utmost attention to details, right down to the last little edible flower on the plate.
There was not particular standout dish for me, though I really enjoyed the tenderloin, with the artful integration of the bone marrow to enhance the natural beef flavours.
All the dishes were great, but perhaps, lacks one strong signature dish that totally wows you over. It’s still Michelin-worthy, though that’s for the Michelin Guide to decide later this year; if the one star is to be retained or even to be promoted with another star.
In any case, Chef Luke has a tough job ahead but he seems more than confident to excel at it.
Chef Luke’s 8-Course and 5-Course Tasting Menu are available at S$188++ and S$138++, with wine pairing from S$125++ and S$75++ for the respective options.
The Kitchen at Bacchanalia
39 HongKong Street
Lunch: Tuesdays to Fridays, 12pm to 2:30pm
Dinner: Mondays to Saturdays, 6pm to 10:30pm
Reservations Tel: +65-9179 4552