Auor, offering unfiltered chef Edward Voon Experience
For some, preparing food is a simple necessity, a daily obligation to be joylessly observed. For others, it is far more of a journey, with curating fine cuisine and creating fantastic fusion fare, an ongoing learning experience and an essential part of a lifelong love affair. There is no doubt that Singapore-born chef Edward Voon falls very much into the latter category.
Arguably, the very apotheosis of his avowed ambition to sate appetites in his own inimitable style is Auor (pronounced ‘hour’), his new international fine dining establishment. For Voon, who more than distinguished himself as the culinary tour-de-force behind Le Pan, his latest venture is all about delivering a fine fusion of the very best Asian dishes with all the exquisite nuances of French haute cuisine.
Offering two menus, The Six Rounds (HK$1,680) and Menu Dégustation (HK$1,980), a six- and eight-plate fare of innovative dishes, each pays homage to a particular Asian cuisine style highlighting flavours from Thailand, India, Malaysia and, especially, Singapore, Voon’s home country. Outlining his mission/menu, he says: “Auor’s flavour profile is unique to me and close to my heart. It’s based on my travels, my taste and my experience of trying to understand people and discover cultures. It is a testament to my journey to date.”
Awakening the palette with a sensual, fresh and vibrant overture, The Six Rounds experience commences with smoky Petuna Ocean Trout, encased in sushi vinegar jelly and pickled green chili while generously topped with a serving of Oscietra caviar. This proves an invigorating mix of fulsome flavours, perfectly preparing the palate for the rich and savoury notes of the dishes set to soon follow.
The first of these is a moderately magnificent mollusc, the undoubted hero of the eminently edible Ezo Abalone, a classically understated cold noodle dish. Served ‘drunken’ atop a bed of cold ‘Xiang Zao Lu’ somen (thin wheat flour noodles in Chinese rice wine), it’s a flavour combination that packs a perhaps unexpectedly hefty punch. This is largely down to its sensationally savory broth, which artfully combines fragrant shiso leaves with the finest quality bonito flakes. Clearly prepared days in advance, it’s a flavour combination that owes much to its leisurely infusion.
Equally impressive is the Tandoori Crab Au Gratin, one of the undoubted highlights of the eight-plate menu. Although all but aglow with rich and fragrant Indian spices, this is ably balanced by the Comté cheese gratin and a sumptuous sprinkling of crispy bites of crumbled tandoor-baked chicken skin. A simply sensational fusion of fine east-meets-west cuisine, it is a dish that effortlessly orchestrates the rich mineral notes of Pacific crab meat, lobster stock, fragrant spices and creamy cheese.
The delectably tender Australian Kiwami Wagyu, meanwhile, also proved a truly satisfying melt-in-your-mouth serving, as well as the one most likely to delight the more meat-minded diner. A reimagining of Singaporean Black Pepper Crab, the intriguing incorporation of the peppery roughness and fruity aroma of Sarawak black pepper glaze, a Singaporean staple, made this very much a love letter to Chef Voon’s homeland. The red wine sauce – poured tableside – unites the complex tantalising flavours of the beef and the sweet tamarind black pepper glaze, melding them gorgeously with the puree, to complete the dish’s final flourish.
Expanding upon his unique philosophy, Voon says: “I want my customers to walk out of this restaurant knowing that the food was cooked by Edward from his heart – I think that is very important. I want them to feel that every dish that comes out, comes from my inner soul to the table. It’s like heart-to-table rather than farm-to table.”
(Text: Roberliza Eugenio Photos: Auor)