I’m a bit tired of hearing these two words. They are usually a license to charge quite a lot for fussy food that leaves a substantial hole in your wallet.
Well, not these guys. Labyrinth was a seriously pleasant surprise and has been set up by a breakaway group who previously worked together for Les Amis. It’s fantastic value at $78 for five seriously clever, gourmet courses with a wine menu that is not ridiculous.
The only real issue I have with the place is that it’s predominantly bar seating. Great if it’s only two of you (make it your next date night venue) less good if you are four – as we were – as it’s very hard to talk when you’re all positioned in a straight line. But as we were so last minute in making the booking we were hugely grateful to them for accommodating us as such short notice and on a public holiday (we went on Good Friday).
They do actually have one proper table that seats four, so if you book early enough, it can be yours.
Here’s a taster of what we ate. It is frightfully déclassé to photograph food, I know, but it was so beautiful I couldn’t not. In a way, the bar seating worked brilliantly on a foodie level because the chef (standing behind it) fills you all in on exactly what everything is and you can watch them assemble it all.
This (below) was mind-blowingly good. Labyrinth’s Chilli Crab, composed of chilli crab ice cream, crab mouse and mantou ‘sand’. The actual crab is almost softshell, the ice cream element is a beautifully complementary sweet-ish chilli and the bready sand is an inspired and wholly necessary addition. Who, after all, can eat chilli crab without mantos? I certainly can’t.
My diners were sophisticated foodies, one of which travels extensively for work and fills in time between meetings by eating the Zagat guide. Not literally, but you know what I mean; he only eats at highly rated places within its pages. He LOVED it here.
This Pork Ramen (pictured above, really risotto rather than ramen – a reference that was rather lost on me) was good but I think my deconstructed Chicken Curry which came with delicious quinoa risotto was better, but I’m afraid I scoffed it down without taking a picture. Whoops.
Pudding was two fold and began with Chendol Xiao Long Bao (below) which no one could argue with – I thought I wasn’t going to like it but you can’t not. It was better than their Apple Crumble which rounded everything off.
This place is an absolute must. They are about to put their prices up so hurry, hurry and go before they do. It’s currently only open for dinner but as of next month, it will be open for lunch too. Perfect for business meetings a deux as you can supplement your boring work chat with talking to the chefs and leaning all about the marvelous creations sitting in front of you.
Labyrinth is in a shophouse on 5 Neil Road (opp Maxwell Hawker Centre). Wildly convenient for post-supps quaffing on nearby Club Street.