Chef André delights the senses at Kurumba Maldives
Maldives.net.mv – André Chiang might have been born Taiwanese but he spent most of his life in the south of France, Basque country. With a family of artists of all forms, including a brother who is an actor and father a calligrapher, it was no surprise that André himself took on pottery and cooking. Making his way to be the head chef of Michelin star restaurant Le Jardin des Sens in France, was no ordinary feat for a young man from Taiwan. It was sheer talent as an artist and chef, that lead him to his five successful restaurants around the world today, including the aptly named, Restaurant André, in Singapore, which was recently awarded two Michelin stars. Today his restaurant in Singapore is ranked as the most sought after and recognised as the 5th best restaurant in Asia as well as being 39th from the world in 2016, according to the British Magazine Restaurant.
Sitting by the beach, listening to the waves, we were treated to an artistic demonstration of chef André and his team, at Kurumba Maldives. Introducing himself humbly, André was quick to point out that his restaurant does not carry a standard menu. He has a standing deal with artisan farmers and fishermen and traders to get the best of their produce each day, and by nine am he along with his team, they will look at what has arrived and come up with creative, gastronomical masterpieces. There are no lesser dishes as starters but each was a unique creation that delighted the eager eater, at André’s.
He began with a dish of ‘charcoal’ and seafood dip, crafted with smoked piquillos puree, amaebi carpaccio and wild herbs. It was more a breadstick that was black and with some cheesy filling which too was black, left to be kept warm in a plate of charcoal. The moment the bread stick touched your tongue was the moment you realize the rest of the afternoon was going to be a life time treat. It was followed by a dish of scallops left to dry in a special paper that takes only two days to dry out the fluids and give it the tasty unique flavor. The scallops bit was then wrapped with mushroom floss and then the top was ‘burnt’ with the blow torch. To describe the taste would be simply to say that each of the ingredients were purely represented equally, without one, overpowering the other.
The final dish was a healthier and lighter substitute for risotto, with five types of sautéed mushrooms and topped off with pecan nut shredding’s. Grated tofu was then spread across the top and a buckwheat cracker was laid to rest on top. Dipping the folk into the mushy center with the crusty top broken into pieces, the mouthful was so delightful, that it tingled awake sense buds, that seemed to have not been there before. To the lay person, it tasted like a wonderfully rich risotto dish but so much lighter and with far more flavors and absolutely no spices.
Everyone at the table were pretty much drooling for more than just a mere taste and asking for more dishes, quite blatantly. Unfortunately, Chef André and his team had to catch a flight back to Singapore to start cooking for dinner at his restaurant. The restaurant is closed when André is away and he is there every single day of the week. The master chef, concluded the event, with a dessert of locally available fruit in a sweetened syrup and some fizzy grapes to give you that extra pop and coolness.
If you are in Singapore, you must stop over at André’s, but as André points out, please remember to make a reservation a few days before your trip. The thirty seater restaurant is in so much demand that there is a long waiting list; but people still wish to experience the gastronomical artistry of the chef André and his talented team. We wish André much more good tidings and many more restaurant openings in the future and hope to see him in the Maldives sooner than later.
Chef Andre Chiang visited Kurumba Maldives as part of his world Octaphilosophy tour, visiting top destinations around the globe to display his culinary skills centered on eight elements of gastronomy that inspire him; salt, texture, memory, pure, terroir, south, artisan and unique.
Kurumba Maldives is a melting pot of cuisines and with ten restaurants and bars it offers some of the most diverse culinary experiences in a Maldivian resort. This was one amongst many such events that Kurumba Maldives has been holding throughout the year, allowing their guests to experience creations by top chefs around the world. This event was hosted at Thila restaurant of Kurumba that holds the title for the top restaurant in Maldives, on TripAdvisor, for few years running.
Written by Hamza Khaleel
Photos by Kurumba Maldives