For Serene Sorensen, family comes first — which was why the founder of TeaSpa, among the first to introduce herbal tea therapy to Singapore, closed the concept tea store and cafe, so she could concentrate on starting a family. Now a mother to four energetic boys — Kristian, 14, Nikolai, 12, and Hayden and Lukas, both nine — she juggles family and social engagements with equal ease. To keep fit, she works out three to five times a week — running, boxing, spinning. Since 2016, she has participated in half and full marathons, including a 500m elevation trail race.
Our lunch date was at SKAI, which sits on Level 70 of Swissôtel The Stamford. Helmed by Chef Paul Hallett, it makes for an interesting alternative venue for a business meeting or a ladies’ lunch, with a breathtaking vista all around. We were here specially to savour its brand-new set lunch menu, comprising two- and three-course options that give diners a choice of appetisers, mains and desserts.
“The chickpeas in the Yellow Fin Tuna added crunch, though personally, I’d have added a dash of sesame oil,” Serene said of her appetiser. The main course of glazed salmon teriyaki got her excited though: “It’s cooked pink — just right! And I love the charred broccoli, which elevated the dish and made it tastier overall.”
What bowled her over, however, was the sourdough bread served just prior. “If I could just get my hands on this recipe! The crust is so delicate and doesn’t cut the insides of my mouth. Overall, I’m impressed with the setting and the food — definitely worth a return trip.”
Can you tell us what was one of your most memorable dining experiences?
I recently dined at Zén restaurant by Björn Frantzén, the man behind the famed three-Michelin-starred Frantzén in Stockholm, Sweden, and the experience left me wanting more! Some of my favourites were the blue lobster with butter emulsion and sansho leaf, the chawanmushi with king crab and foie gras, and the French toast ‘grande tradition 2008’ with grilled bone broth a la truffe. And it’s not just the food that impresses; the interior exudes hygge (a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality regarded as characteristic of Danish culture) and the executive head chef Tristin Farmer is one of the nicest chefs I’ve met — so affable and talented!
Can you recommend us one restaurant we absolutely must visit?
If I have to recommend a restaurant, I’d say go to the charming Ruths Brasserie in Skagen — the northernmost tip of Denmark, and famous for being the meeting point of the Baltic Sea and the North Sea. The menu is a mix of Danish, Scandinavian and French cooking. I highly recommend the fish and seafood soup with garlic croutons, the Michauds steak tartare, and the duck foie gras terrine with pear chutney and toasted brioche.
Any food item you always travel with?
I normally don’t bring any, except when I am travelling to Europe. In particular when I am back in Denmark, I will have a few food staples with me. As Danish food can be quite rich and heavy, I tend to crave for local food from Singapore. I cannot live without my homemade sambal belacan, curry spices and — don’t laugh! — assorted instant noodles! Tom yum and mee goreng flavours are a must!
Favourite food haunt?
One of my favourite haunts now Mui Kee at Shaw Centre. The steamed rice roll with sweet and sesame dressing is to die for. It is freshly-made, soft and tender. Also I love their Hong Kong-style porridge, best paired with crispy you tiao and a side dish of marinated raw scallops with shredded ginger and scallions. The meal will not be complete without the Hong Kong milk tea! Another place that I love is Tampopo, and I keep going back for their succulent black pig ramen in rich pork bone soup. I also love the Japanese chiffon cheese cake and milk pudding.
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What are some restaurants on your bucket list?
Now that Noma has reopened in Copenhagen, I hope to have the opportunity to dine there. There are so many talented chefs but if I have to curate a list, I’d have to say Joel Robuchon and Alain Ducasse for their creative take on French haute cuisine. I also think Chef Andre Chiang is extremely talented and creative. It’s a pity he has exited the Singapore market but I hope to check out his new restaurant, RAW, in Taipei soon.
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“ESqUISSE à RAW” 完整地以料理分享大地、自然和記憶，也從文化角度、情感上以及想像力中創造了更多意想不到的新靈感、新觀點和新事物。 “ESqUISSE à RAW” We tell the stories of the memory, nature and the land through our cuisines, also created more unexpected inspirations, ideas and new things from the cultural perspective, emotion and imagination. #RAW_Taipei #creative #gourmet #RAW #RAWTaipei #trend #food #foodporn #instafood #yummy #amazing #instagood #fresh #tasty #delish #Delicious #Eating #foodgasm #hungry @chef_lionel_beccat @andrechiang_sg @alainh001
Any healthy snacks that you recommend?
I am not into healthy snacks as they normally taste awful. If I am going to snack, it better be worth my calories or else, skip it.
Does your kids enjoy food as much as you do?
Dining with my eldest son, Kristian, is always a joy as he is a foodie just like me. He enjoys sampling different kinds of cuisines and talks about food passionately! Before he turned 12, he had already tasted foie gras, raw oysters, escargots and he loves durian. Kristian and I also enjoy exploring different parts of Singapore to find the best hawker food— laksa from Katong, roast duck rice, chicken rice, lor mee and the list goes on… He is absolutely willing to queue for one hour for his char kway teow at Ghim Moh hawker centre! Besides hawker food, he also loves dining at DB Bistro for its DB Burger, and the Peking duck at Imperial Treasure Paragon.