Eat Your art out
Van Gogh-themed cafe, restaurant and concept store opens in Heritage 1881.
“I dream my painting, and then I paint my dream,” Vincent Willem van Gogh once said. It is with this idea in mind that Van Gogh SENSES – a restaurant-cafe-shop flagship in Heritage 1881 – was conjured.
The 4,000 sq ft venue celebrates the Dutch painter in all his glory. Split into different zones for your five senses to experience – it seeks to take visitors on a sensory journey through Van Gogh’s artistic pursuits. From the food and confectionaries to paintings and paraphernalia, each detail has been meticulously deliberated to allow diners and shoppers to enjoy the essence of his art in its finest form.
Bringing his artistic influences to the dinner table, Van Gogh SENSES has welcomed Macy Lai on board as executive chef, who has over 15 years of experience from renowned restaurants, such as Bo Innovation under her belt. Using the plate as a canvas, she seamlessly blends culinary finesse with visual art and seeks to embody the vibrant brushwork and expression reflected in Van Gogh’s masterpieces.
“Both art and cooking have a wide window for creativity, allowing me to reflect my own interpretation of Van Gogh’s work in my creations,” Lai says. “Rather than mimicking all elements of a painting, I incorporate elements of his life into my dishes”.
A business lunch is available, but the real feast happens in the evening, when diners will be presented with two tasting menus. On the eight-course Sunflower menu, dishes to look forward to include French oysters with gazpacho pearls, Hokkaido scallop with sweet corn purée and Carabineros prawns and mussels with sea asparagus. End on a sweet note with extra dark chocolate Dutch potato churros and orange sticky cake dressed in a vivid blue butterfly pea sauce.
Lai’s culinary interpretation of The Boat is reflected in the seafood bouillabaisse, encased under a bread crust and adorned with cherry tomatoes. Break into the crust and discover a colourful medley of cod, salmon, clams, mussels and Spanish Carabineros red prawn sitting in a decadent pool of fish broth.
Van Gogh’s Japanese influences are translated on an elegant dish of miso cod. Buttery and melt-in-the-mouth tender, the marinated cod sits alongside a flowing river of white asparagus and Romanesco broccoli.
The artist’s iconic paintings have also made their way onto the brand’s artisan cakes. Highlights include Caramel Sunflower, a creamy salted caramel pound cake inspired by one of his most well-known paintings, coated with an iridescent salted caramel cream and topped with a caramelised cookie crust. For something fruity, try Midnight Passion with flavours of blueberry and passionfruit. Glazed with sapphire blue and pastel yellow, the cake pays homage to Van Gogh’s most elegant work, Starry Night.
And what is a meal without a drink to wash it all down? Known for her experimental creations and daring to combine the unlikeliest of flavours, mixologist Taylor Lee has curated a selection of cocktails encapsulating the lacework of light and colour in Van Gogh’s art. The Sunflower is a striking libation of sunny orange and yellow, muddled with house-made chamomile gin. For something with a fruitier kick, the Almond Blossom is a mirage of flavours of fresh muscato and lychee liquer, blended with jasmine green tea and blue curacao.
At Van Gogh SENSES, one absorbs the painter’s work in all its forms and with all the senses. After all, art is not something to admire only from afar.