Talib Centre , 36 Purvis Street, Singapore, 188613 , Singapore

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Chef interview

Gunther's is one of the top restaurants in Singapore, with classical French food.

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Belgian chef/owner Gunther Hubrechson opened this restaurant in August 2007, having previously built a reputation for his cooking at Les Amis in Singapore since 2002. He trained to cook in Bruges and prior to coming to Singapore worked for five years with Alain Passard at Arpege, reaching the position of sous chef. The dining room is compact, with just seven tables and plainly decorated. Walls and carpet were black, with just a single painting as decoration on one wall, though lighting was good. There is a second dining room available in addition, next to the main one.

The wine list stretches over 45 pages and is heavily oriented towards prestige wines. The cheapest wine on the list was SGD 78, and I only spotted two wines under SGD 100.  Examples include the lovely Reichsgraf von Kesselstat Kabinett Scharzhofberger 2007 at SGD 105 (£53) compared to a UK retail price of £16, Rene Rostaing Cote Rotie Cuvee Classique 2005 at SGD 180 (£91) for a wine that will set you back around £32 in the UK high street, and Vega Sicilia Unico 1994 at SGD 1,050 (£533) compared to a shop price of around £244 in London; the sublime Guigal La Turque 2003 was SGD 2,645 (£1,342) for a wine that, if you can find it, costs £379. Bread was a simple baguette made from scratch and served warm, and this had good taste and texture (16/20).

A signature dish of the restaurant is cold angel hair pasta with caviar. A twirl of pasta is coated with truffle oil, kombu and chives, then topped with osetra caviar:nothing more. The pasta had excellent texture and the combination of seaweed flavour and caviar worked well together, the truffle oil adding an additional layer of flavour (17/20). My starter was tartare of Australian wagyu beef (grade 9 i.e. the highest and hence the most marbled on the "Ausmeat" grading system) served on a light crisp bread and topped with a little salad, garnished with egg confit, capers and Tabasco, drizzled with balsamic vinegar. The wagyu had nice flavour and the crisp base was very light; I would have been happy with a bit more seasoning, but this is a matter of taste (610).

Shoulder of pork was presented with pasta and Parmesan cheese sauce as the main course. The pork was properly cooked and the pasta had nice texture, the overall effect being a comforting dish (16/20). I did not try the cheese board but it is supplied by top affineur Bernard Anthony so it was doubtless very good indeed. For dessert, a thin apple tart featured light pastry; for me there could have been a little more apple relative to the pastry, though this was certainly a very pleasant dish (15/20). This was offered with rum and raisin ice cream. Coffee had good flavour. Service at this meal was excellent throughout.

Then bill came to SGD 122 (£62) a head, with no alcohol. Overall this was a very capably cooked and enjoyable meal, where the ingredients were not overworked. An excellent restaurant.


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