Origin Grill & Bar Opens at Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore’s Refurbished Tower Wing
They have done it again: Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore has added another feather in its cap with the highly anticipated opening of Origin Grill & Bar. The new F&B establishment has roped in talented chef de cuisine Heidi Flanagan and bar manager Adam Bursik (formerly from The Library) to create two harmonising menus encapsulating Singapore’s eminent heritage.
The restaurant and bar are housed within the capacious space once home to the now-defunct Nadaman. Hong Kong-based design studio, A Work of Substance, brings back the romance of locomotive travel through a train terminal-inspired décor. Over at the grill, dark woods and industrial accents are accentuated by table tops fashioned into chess boards and rectangular benches reminiscent of the busy waiting rooms at railway stations. Expansive windows allow the afternoon sun to breathe life into the tasteful splashes of peacock blue on the hand-stitched Tripolina chairs and velvet drapes. The bar, however, takes on the same palette and turns into a convival watering hole, ideal for whiling the night away amid upbeat tunes.
Over at the kitchen, Sydney-born Flanagan fires up the grill for the palate. There is a show-stealing Wagyu sourced from boutique farms in Australia, Ireland and Japan, and the accompanying Tuscan kale from a local hydroponic farm, Sustenir Agriculture. The former includes an exclusive Snow-Aged Full Blood Wagyu from Niigata ($164, for Kin Full Blood Striploin), which delivers a natural sweetness, courtesy of the yukimuko (snow-covered storage) ageing method.
What impressed isn't just the unique cuts, but how Flanagan rounds off each individual steak with a beautiful cross-hatch grill, warmed through the middle with a hint of red – an exemplary medium rare. We saw that in the 400 days grain fed Williams River Cross Bred Wagyu, a beefy tenderloin ($58/180g or $88/250g) complemented with the smoky yet caramalised sear. Best of all, award-winning sommelier Britt Ng Choong Yoon pairs the dish with a bottle of 2016 Amy’s Cabernet Sauvignon, with its dark fruits and light acidity.
There are influences of Sydney, Bali and the Caribbean in the rest of the dishes, due in part of Flanagan's extensive travels. A succulent charred Fremantle octopus ($24) is presented with a complementing spiced tomato jam, made with locally grown cherry tomatoes, while slivers of raw tuna ($26), line-caught off marine-certified coasts in the Philippines, are served alongside a piquant avocado and jalapeno cream. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. The all-rounded chef also offers a delightful dessert menu, including a refreshing Origin Yuzu Tart with Strawberry Iced Lolly ($16).
Known to bring an eclectic twist to any tipple, Bursik continues to offer his inimitable concoctions over at the bar. The Slovakian translates his three years in Singapore into a menu inspired by the five key districts – Orchard, Chinatown, Little India, Boat Quay and Marina Bay.
We have our money on The Pearl ($26) for both its eye-catching seashell presentation and unlikely blend of ingredients. Bursik’s masterful shakes emulsify the silken tofu, adding a lusciously smooth texture to the floral blend of elderflower, barley shochu and Black Forest gin, refined by the natural brine of sea grapes. Much of the menu continues to be influenced by Asian flavours. Leaf the Curry ($23) is a tart yet sweet cocktail made with aromatic curry leaves, cardamom and tamarind, while the tropical Origin ($22) uses spiced pineapple and lime husk wine to bring out flavours evoking the bustling shopping district’s past as a nutmeg and pineapple plantation. Stop by from 5pm for a mellow, relaxed pre-dinner drink, or after 9pm for a livelier vibe. Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore, 22 Orange Grove. Tel: 6737 3644