Corner House

The buzz: Formerly occupied by fine dining restaurant Au Jardin, the space has been swapped out for an equally chi-chi gastronomic experience.

The vibe: Plush and colonial (and right in the middle of the Botanic Gardens). Much of the storied black and white house pays homage to the Gardens’ botanist E.J.H. Corner with anatomical paintings of garden specimens and a muted gray and dark wood color palette characteristic of lush fine dining spaces. Broken up over two floors, the second storey has a quieter corner for those extra romantic moments.

The food: Coined as “gastro-botanic” cuisine, expect everything on chef Jason Tan’s menu to play up each ingredients’ sesaonality. Whether it’s vegetables, proteins or herbs, the ever-changing menu possesses a certain lightness and delicacy that is as pretty to look at as it is to eat. A mainstay on his menu is the clever French Cevennes onion four ways: thinly sliced and crisped, puréed on to a cracker, mixed with a sous-vide egg in its onion casing and an earl grey onion tea. He serves up a series of refined dishes like cod with crispy skin in a vin jaune sabayon; Hungarian Mangalitsa pork with heirloom beetroot, black garlic and jus; as well as a realistic interpretation of garden pebbles as a decadent chocolate dessert with alpaco, mandarin and shimeji. It doesn’t come cheap though – at $248 for a Discovery degustation menu, $98 for four courses and $148 for a six courses.

The drinks: With a dedicated claret corner (Bordeaux, to some), we’d expect nothing other than an impressive and extensive wine list. The restaurant houses more than 600 labels of wine (from $85), including a 2011 Pontcin by Chateau Grilet – the first of its kind in Singapore. If you’re lost, the sommeliers are adept at recommending wines, as well as pairing them with each course.

Why you’ll be back: Uber romantic space aside, the food certainly lives up to all its refined glory. Chef Jason manages to beautifully balance proteins and veg without relegating one or the other as the supporting actor in a given dish. It’s certainly not an everyday, (nor is it an everyman) venue, but it’s worth the splurge.

Book a table at Corner House with Chope