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Taste of Wanderlust

Celebrity chef David Myers' trump card at his first Singapore establishment is his cross-cultural menu.

Taste of Wanderlust

Celebrity chef David Myers' trump card at his first Singapore establishment is his cross-cultural menu, Sara Yap finds out
It's hard to miss Adrift, the newly opened restaurant-bar at Marina Bay Sands hotel. With its stylish facade of wrapped wood and copper, the establishment stands out strikingly against the golden-hued lobby of its host venue. Inside, industrial-chic metal and timber fixtures adorn the Ginza-inspired bar, swing-like benches are tethered to the ceiling in the main dining area and black-framed pictures line the walls of its cosy private room. Add in some upbeat background music and warm lighting, and the 4,000-sq-ft place looks every bit the quintessential hipster's playground.
Situated in the space formerly occupied by hotel lounge Fuse (which closed last year), Adrift is helmed by Californian celebrity chef David Myers, who runs two restaurants in Tokyo. And much like its eclectic interior design, the eatery prefers not to be confined to a specific cuisine type and features dishes with Eastern and Western influences. For instance, ricotta cheese and Okinawan black sugar come together in a contrast of flavours on a piece of toast, while sweet caramel popcorn gets a dose of Asian spice with a dash of togarashi — a Japanese condiment mix. All the dishes come on sharing plates that can feed two to four.
But before one dismisses the establishment as yet another flash-in-the-pan fusion outfit, Myers explains that his cuisine is more geared towards the theme of “wanderlust”. “Adrift's concept is meant to be one that's very playful, explorative and adventurous,” says the 41-year-old, who has trained under Michelin-starred chefs Daniel Boulud and the late Charlie Trotter. “The food here is based on my experiences as a chef, my memories of travel throughout the years and how those travels have inspired certain tastes and techniques.” He plans to visit the restaurant every other month to check on operations.
Adrift's premise sounds like an eccentric clash of cultures, but it works particularly well in some instances, such as its deceptively plain-looking fried baby potatoes. Generously laced with shaved parmesan and seaweed, the deliciously crunchy spuds are packed with umami. It seems a simple dish, but much effort goes into its preparation: The potatoes are first simmered in dashi (a Japanese cooking stock) before being smashed, fried and seasoned with seaweed butter.
Myers' finesse in making magic out of seemingly ordinary fare also manifests in his grilled baby corn. The corn is dry-roasted before being caramelised with bacon dashi butter and crusted with furikake (a seasoning containing sesame seeds and dried fish), resulting in a delectably savoury dish. Other worthy contenders include the king crab melts with Pimento cheese, which comprises sandwiches stacked with Alaskan crab meat and gooey, salty cheese. The dish is a bit of an outlier on the menu as it doesn't incorporate Asian influences, but it is good old Southern American comfort food at its best and a nice respite from the other more complex flavour combinations.
For the adventurous, there are creations such as a preserved green papaya soup, which is served with chunks of Maine lobster, papaya and sago pearls (the black, starchy type in bubble tea). While the broth intrigues with its sour bite and subtle spiciness, its accompanying ingredients are a tad questionable. The delicate taste of the lobster does not quite blend with the overall flavour, while the pearls are an unnecessary addition.
When it comes to desserts, the restaurant excels. Its Guanaja chocolate pot is an indulgent treat, while its raspberry and rose parfait comes with bits of cocoa mochi. Round off the meal with cocktails by consultant mixologist Sam Ross. His take on the classic Singapore Sling comprises aged and dark rum, Bénédictine, maraschino liqueur and orange bitters, and is less cloying than the original.
Like its name suggests, Adrift's appeal lies in its willingness to break away from the norm and take risks with its food. It's too early to tell if the restaurant will be a game-changer in the fusion dining scene, but based on its bold and promising debut, it looks to be on the right path.
Adrift, Tower 2, Marina Bay Sands Hotel Lobby, 10 Bayfront Avenue; Tel: 6688 5657/8