Chef Luis’ Excellent Adventure, The Night Version
I’ll get right to it, and won’t vacillate with an intro about how Flame at Discovery Primea has been one of my favorite eating places since it opened. The new Flame dinner menu of executive chef Luis Chikiamko is the bomb! While inspired by Asian flavors, and finally giving Chef Luis an opportunity to stamp his own persona throughout the menu, it’s not your typical culinary journey through Asia, replicating familiar menu items from across the region; rather, in a novel twist, it’s Chef Luis reinterpreting old favourites and ‘pulling rabbits out of a hat’.
Discovery Primea’s Margaux Hontiveros and Executive Chef Luis Chikiamco
Yes, the dinner menu items come from a comfort zone, where familiarity reigns; but the crazy magic that Chef Luis expertly wields, is to add flourishes and twists that make Flame’s versions transcend the familiar, and extend as flights of culinary adventure. The appetizers I sampled are prime examples of this wizardry. And beyond the taste experiences, there’s also the visual and design aspect of how these dishes are presented.
Mini-architectural marvels, or design scale models - that’s what I was reminded of when the appetizers arrived. Look at the image of the Thai Shrimp Salad to glean what I’m saying. The Pomelo Sorbet, Tomato Mousse, Bangkok Salsa, and Lime Vinaigrette, are heightened by the manner in which the ingredients are arrayed. It’s almost like you feel you’re committing a crime as you break up the dish to eat it!
Thai Shrimp Pomelo Salad
My favorite—Tuna Yukhoe Tacos
And for the sheer pleasure of tasting them, my two favourites would be the Scallop Ceviche, and the Tuna Yukhoe Tacos. These you really have to break up to ensure each mouthful has a little bit of all the ingredients. The Scallop has Ponzu, Ikura, Tempura Flakes, and the absolute kicker, Wasabi Mousse. As for the Tuna Tacos, there’s Gochujang, Carrots, Asian Slaw, and Soy-Honey Vinaigrette—and they all add up to something unique and delightful.
For our main courses, we opted for the Crispy Pork Belly (with eggplant, ground pork, tofu, tomatoes, hot bean paste) that had a spicy element to it; and the Duck Congee (with ginger-rice sauce, shallots and garlic, spring onions, sesame oil, sous vide egg, and crispy wonton chips) - this one is a deconstructed joy, with the rice blended to be part of the sauce you pour over the slice of duck.
Crispy Pork Belly in the house
Flame’s Deconstructed Duck Congee
To top the night, the Chocolate de Pan was an exquisite blend of soft, creamy chocolate, with a more solid chocolate ball that yielded an altogether different texture, accompanied by a fruit-flavoured blob. Yes, I know blob doesn’t sound all that appetising, but it is what it is!
Chocolate De Pan
Apparently, there’s a daytime menu that’s drastically different from the Dinner Menu; so needless to say, one of my next articles for this food section, will highlight the lunch menu. Kudos to Chef Luis for once again, making me a believer!
Photos by Philip Cu-Unjieng