An afternoon with Chef Takashi Okuno, at Truffle Gourmet, Singapore

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, IMG_0788a

A selection from their wine cellar. It’s difficult to make a poor choice of wine at Truffle Gourmet, Singapore, though ideally you leave the choice to the sommelier.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

A few weeks ago, a new restaurant opened in an old shophouse along Club Street in a dining concept that combines fine quality ingredients with culinary heritage and tradition.

It is perhaps not surprising that Truffle Gourmet is located in the heart of the most fashionable and lively district in the midst of Singapore.

Club Street is one of Singapore’s older streets. It is situated at the edge of Chinatown just adjacent to Cross Street and Amoy Street. In these quarters during the 18- and 1900s, Chinese immigrant labourers would find letter writers and calligraphers to help them stay in touch with their loved ones back home.

Today, a long stretch of bars and restaurants offers a variety of interesting places presenting good food in stylish surroundings.

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Club Street, Singapore.

The restaurant, Truffle Gourmet, has its heritage in the Langhe region of Italy, in a Piedmont-based Relais Chateau hotel property that produces its own line of wines and a range of truffle-accented products. These products are based on recipes shared by the monks of the San Maurizio Monastery – from the Franciscans in the 1600s to the Cistercians in the 1800s – who have “[to] live by the work of their hands” as part of their life philosophy.

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The San Maurizio Monastery that sits on a hill in the Belbo Valley in Italy, has recipes from the Cistercian monks in the cultivation and making of their olive oils.

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There is no denying that this restaurant caters especially to truffle aficionados, who will find a wide range of dishes from which to choose.

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Truffle shaving.

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In season – white truffle or “trifola d’Alba” (Tuber magnatum).

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But beyond truffles, what makes this restaurant interesting is the very special brand of the Italian – Japanese fusion cooking that the Italian gastronomy-trained Japanese chef, Takashi Okuno, offers his guests, with a hint of molecular El Bulli inspiration.

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Chef Takahashi Okuno makes the first Truffle Gourmet entry into Asia, in Singapore. From burgundy truffle in the summer to white and black truffles in the autumn and winter, the dining concept uses truffles across seasons in their culinary fare, sourcing globally, though predominantly from Italy.

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Rule of thumb.

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A customised truffle shaver in this kitchen, is a precision instrument,
and is as much prized as are the truffles.

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Tamami Takahashi (right), explaining the making of truffle sauce.