André Chiang brings philosophical food to life
‘Octaphilosophy’ might sound like something dreamt up for an underwater sci-fi movie but it is, in fact, a well-considered approach to cooking undertaken by forward-thinking chef André Chiang.
Art and philosophy are guiding principles for Taiwan-born, French-trained Chiang. Octaphilosophy is his way of describing the key characteristics of his gastronomy: Unique, Texture, Memory, Pure, Terroir, Salt, South, and Artisan. Through his dishes Chiang explores the role these characteristics play in his food, and in gastronomy as a whole, whether it be grilled Taiwanese baby corn for Artisan; lobster, potato gnocchi and caviar for Texture; or foie gras jelly with truffles for Memory. Each dish could equally come under the name ‘simple’, with none containing more than a handful of ingredients in order not to drown each other out. But the cooking is also highly nuanced and champions food in unfamiliar formats and textures; the work of a chef at the very top of his game.
Accompanying wines are of the natural variety and have been sourced from little-known artisanal vineyards, with service as sophisticated and engaging as anywhere in the world. The 19th-century terrace house in Singapore’s China Town that is the stage for Restaurant André’s multi-course feast is just as carefully created as the menu. It has been designed to be an environment that encourages guests to open their minds to Chiang’s gastronomic philosophy. The intimate 30-seat dining room features antler lampshades, Chiang’s hand-crafted clay figurines and Christofle organic-formed crockery.