Poise delivers a memorable dining experience with exquisite European fare, sexy interiors and a rocking playlist
It is not always easy for a chef to strike out on their own, but Steve Lancaster is doing a remarkable job at his first restaurant, Poise, on Teck Lim Road.
The 33-year-old chef-owner has been working in kitchens since he was a teenager – he started out as a dishwasher in a pub at 13 – and has built an impressive resume at Michelin-starred establishments like The Fat Duck in England and Oaxen Krog in Sweden. More recently, he spent 3 years at the two-Michelin starred Saint Pierre in Singapore.
Now, Lancaster is stepping out of the shadows of these famous names and into the limelight. And quite literally so – the open kitchen at Poise is under a spotlight in full view of the main dining space, with only a glass panel between diners and the action.
Designed by renowned Singaporean architect Chan Soo Kian, the restaurant has sleek, dark interiors with carefully placed spotlights in a warm and inviting monochromatic palette. The intimate space seats just 18 in the dining rooms and 6 in a private room.
Before the food arrives, we already notice ourselves enjoying the playlist, which has been carefully curated (and constantly updated) by Lancaster himself. The music is a reflection of the chef’s personality – fun, feel-good rock classics featuring the likes of The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Queen, but nothing too rowdy and overwhelming.
Naturally, his food comes across in a similar way. Through a seven-course tasting menu, his modern European style reinvents some comforting and familiar classics, while incorporating techniques from Nordic cuisine – to which he has a strong connection.
Take the Chicken dish, which is Lancaster’s version of the Coq Au Vin, a classic rustic French stew and one of the first dishes he learnt to cook while working in a pub. While it is plated much more sophisticatedly in the form of a dainty chicken lollipop made by deboning chicken mid-wing and stuffing it with a thyme-chicken mousse before braising in red wine, the hearty flavours of Coq Au Vin are well present. The chicken sits atop bacon, morel mushrooms and a lacto-fermented white onion stock that counters the meaty flavours with a nice acidity.
Another standout is the Pigeon – a dish we’re confident would convert those averse to the fowl. Thanks to a painstaking cooking method that involves first marinating the bird in shio koji then a cycle of roasting and resting the pigeon several times over 45mins, Lancaster has achieved the most perfect texture and colour on the breast meat we’ve ever seen. Under a crisp skin, the breast is rosy pink throughout, extremely tender and with a deep but not overpowering flavour. With the goal of minimal waste in his cooking, Lancaster also serves the leg and heart of the pigeon alongside the breast in pigeon jus.
To end the meal, the chef surprises with a savoury dessert of N25 Hybrid caviar on a buttermilk white chocolate dome – an unexpectedly complementary combination. While Lancaster says he is still working hard to refine and perfect his food and we believe there is more to come from the young chef, our experience at Poise has us convinced it is not simply one to watch but one to make haste and visit now.
Poise is located at 6 Teck Lim Road Singapore 088384
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