Birds of a Feather launches its first-ever tasting menu today, Redefining Sichuan, which takes Chef Eugene See’s intentional interpretation of Sichuan-influenced contemporary Western cuisine to new heights with seven stunning, elevated and memorable dishes certain to impress loyal fans and new diners alike.
Redefining Sichuan takes guests on a holistic Sichuan-Western culinary experience – taking the creative approach to this fusion cuisine Chef Eugene is known for and elevating it beyond humble, comfort fare. Through the menu, the French-trained chef hopes to surprise and delight but, more importantly, foster diners’ interest on the deep complexities of the nuanced Sichuan palate.
The Redefining Sichuan menu is an opportunity for guests to enjoy a robust variety of Sichuan flavours within a single dining experience – a departure from the restaurant’s more familiar shared plates. Using fresh, vacuum-packed ingredients directly imported from the restaurant’s contingent in China, the menu boasts truly authentic Sichuan flavours through Chef’s creative and refined lens of French cooking.
A carefully selected wine pairing menu, which was designed via an exhaustive tasting process, features Telmont Grand Reserve Champagne, a 2015 Regnard Bourgogne Hautes Cote de Beaune, a 2016 Domaine La Louviere Malepere La Seductrice, and a refreshing palate cleanser cocktail of gin, mint, basil, yuzu and elderflower can be added onto the menu for just $60.
The gastronomic journey begins with Homemade Pickled Vegetable Focaccia, served alongside a bright, salty Sichuan compound butter made from carefully whipped and aerated pure English butter combined with dried ya cai, or pickled mustard greens – a familiar household preserve in Sichuan cuisine.
Next, Chef Eugene presents a rotating Bird’s Snack, spotlighting the Sichuan flavour profile of burnt chili. A translucent ravioli made with delicate gyoza-like skin is filled with burnt chili eggplant, luxuriously combined with rich foie gras, balanced with an earthy celeriac purée and thoughtfully garnished with edible flowers, gold leaf, chopped green chili and seaweed.Subtly building upon the first course’s layers of salt notes, the ravioli asserts an opulent mouthfeel while maintaining an elegant and mild spice level, hinting at stronger flavour profiles to follow.
For the third course, an artfully arranged Octopus Carpaccio is a multi-sensorial delight, showcasing the classic wasabi-like Sichuan mustard that is typically used in cold appetizer dishes like goose feet. Chef Eugene re-imagines and modernises the assertive flavour profile by serving it with hand-sliced octopus that has been painstakingly sous-vided, torched and vacuum-sealed before being segmented. Dotted with a sweet purple mustard and red wine vinegar gel to balance the savouriness of the dish, the octopus sits alongside a saffron-infused block of mung bean jelly – a staple in Sichuan cuisine beloved for its silky and refreshing texture – topped with pastry chips, cucumber and apple slices. Fresh coriander oil rounds out the dish with a balanced note.
Chef Eugene leads diners into bolder territory with the ‘Yu Xiang’ Carabinero Prawn, spotlighting the classic Yu Xiang sauce – a punchy flavour profile that combines sweet, spicy and sour. Despite its name – which translates to “fish fragrant sauce” – in-the-know diners will know that Yu Xiang actually contains no seafood, but is comprised of garlic, chili, dou ban jiang (fermented chili bean paste), and vinegar blended into a smooth paste. In this dish, the tormentingly sweet, tender and succulent deep sea Carabinero prawn is barely cooked to preserve its flawless texture and separated from – but still served with – its head, which naturally, is meant to be sucked for its intense flavour. The prawn is served on top of a polenta-like cake that is ubiquitous in the home village, Qian Wei, south of Chengdu Sichuan of Sous Chef Si Yang. Alongside the head, a dehydrated charcoal sponge, meant to evoke the classic Chinese mantou, provides visual and textural contrast. Nasturtium flower leaf tops the dish off with a peppery balance.
For the fifth course, the Sichuan Fish Stew offers a modern take on the beloved Sichuan dish Suan Cai Yu. Traditionally composed of thinly-sliced river fish gently poached in stock with dried chiles and pickled mustard greens, Chef Eugene uses the same pickled vegetable stock but adds a dash of cream, along with chive oil and butter, to balance the classically pungent Sichuan elements. The same sour and spicy flavours of the classic dish still shine through, with the luxurious broth poured tableside atop succulent barramundi with crisp skin, mussels and strips of sea cucumber – all locally sourced and plated on a bed of pearl couscous. With so many impeccably cooked elements, to gather a perfect bite is an seemingly impossible, yet worthy endeavour. The stew is garnished with dried tomato chips and fennel ribbon that provides balancing notes of anise.
In the menu’s final savoury dish, the Wagyu Striploin MBS4 showcases an immaculate slice of Australian Wagyu grilled to perfection and served with a tea tree mushroom jus and silky butternut squash purée blended with umami-laden bean paste and topped with chili oil. To balance the purée’s rich texture and flavour, raw and fried brussels sprouts topped with eryngii mushrooms serve as a complementary contrast. Chef Eugene surreptitiously presents the unsuspected highlight of the dish via a small pile of spiced salt along the plate’s border. Jiao yan, a classic Sichuan spice mixture of Sichuan pepper, salt, chili powder and cumin bring each bite of tender meat to new heights. Guests can also choose to upgrade their Wagyu to an indulgent MBS9 for +SGD25.
The gastronomic journey comes to a memorable and refreshing end with the Mandarin, a dessert that encapsulates the intense essence of the orange through a multitude of innovative culinary interpretations. A citrus-flavoured French baba cake, infused with Grand Marnier instead of the classic rum for added brightness, is topped with Mandarin ice, freeze dried Mandarin segments, Chantilly cream and a delicate tuille made from orange peel and sweet orange juice. The dish is sprinkled with a dash of pink peppercorn for colour and balance.
An imaginative amalgamation of contrasting notes of orange, from bitter to sweet, as well as a cornucopia of textures, the Mandarin showcases the concentrated flavour profile of beloved and auspicious Chinese fruit in an unprecedented and truly delicious way.
The Redefining Sichuan tasting menu is available every evening upon special reservation for SGD89++ with an optional beverage pairing for SGD60++.