(GASTRONÔMAD had ceased operations at Thomson V Two, and is in the midst of re-branding and moving to a new location under the name of “The Halal Wheat Co. by GASTRONÔMAD”. More details to be released when it is made available)
Having been active in the cafe scene for years, it could be argued that the halal food scene had become more interesting over recent years, with many more options catering to the Muslim community than ever before.
Taking over the former premises of now-defunct November 8, Gastronomad is a new bistro that serves up “halal modern edge cuisine”; something similar to what is termed as “contemporary progressive cuisine” at other cafes. Adopting an industrial style to its interior decor, Gastronomad’s interior carries a simple yet raw vibe; pretty modern especially with the lack of partitioning that allows patrons to have a full view of the open concept kitchen behind the counter. The seats were also decently spaced out for privacy, while there are also quite a number of larger tables to cater for groups of six pax and above. Having previously operated as a caterer providing catering services, the physical shop space of Gastronomad is only open during selected hours for the day; Gastronomad serves up dinner on Thursdays to Saturdays whilst serving up all-day brunch on Sundays. We visited Gastronomad on a Sunday morning; the brunch menu consists of two sections; sweet and savoury, with a whole list of beverages to go along.
(Ghost Chicken Bagel)
Going for one item each from the sweet menu and the savoury menu, the Ghost Chicken Bagel was our pick from the savoury menu for our meal on the day of our visit. Described as “Overnight Marinated Juicy Chicken Thigh, Silky Scrambled Eggs, Sous Vide Burnt Banana Shallots, Alfalfa Sprouts and Sauteed Beetroots”, the dish was well-executed and big in flavour. Going straight for the chunks of chicken thigh, the chicken thigh lived up to its expectations with the succulent and moist flesh that carried a familiar hint of turmeric and garlic which were pretty evident; really flavourful and good on its own. It matched well with the chewy bagel; the bagel spread with cream cheese and carried a hint of saltish flavours in between the rich and creamy cheesiness; the bagels are topped with sweet caramelized onions and runny scrambled eggs along with the alfalfa sprouts atop the scrambled eggs which are also well seasoned with pepper. A sauce that is reminiscent of hollandaise is being smothered on the side of the plate; creamy and tangy, it complimented the light sweetness of the beetroot well, whilst also coming with bits of seaweed on the side that helped make the combination of ingredients carry a slight umami flavour. Despite the dish being somewhat of a plated version of a bagel served in an open-face form, the dish was a showcase of the thought process behind the flavours of the ingredients which make up the entire dish, as well as good execution from the chef himself; a well-designed dish that certainly seemed to have pushed boundaries and left a memorable impression on our meal here.
(Coconut Berries Pancake)
We also tried the Coconut Berries Pancakes from the sweet menu; the item was being described as “Butterscotch Sauce, Desiccated Coconut, Pomegranate Jewels, Cherries Wild Berries, Burnt Peaches”. Comparing this item against the Ghost Chicken Bagels, the Coconut Berries Pancakes was a safer choice, though still really well-executed nonetheless; perhaps only lacking the gastronomic adventure that the Ghost Chicken Bagel brought us. The pancakes here are presented in a form similar to crepes, though still made with a substantial thickness; somewhat reminds us of what we had a few years ago from now-defunct Sarah’s The Pancake Cafe. The Pancakes are fluffy whilst carrying a hint of buttermilk fragrance; mopping up the cherries wild berries sauce with the pancakes, we were impressed with how the sauce strikes the right balance of sweetness and tartness of the berries. It was noted that the berries sauce did not carry a mouth-puckering sourness, yet not being particularly overwhelmingly sweet; even well-enhanced by the sweet butterscotch sauce that provided a caramel-esque sweetness to the pancakes. The desiccated coconut provided some flakiness to the item whilst carrying a refreshing note that cuts through the sweetness, while the burnt peaches are somewhat similar to poached pears in terms of texture; itself carrying a light hint of sweetness of peach that helps to refresh the taste buds in a subtle way. Whilst not as exciting as the Ghost Chicken Bagel, the Coconut Berries Pancake still carries its own set of surprises behind the well-executed elements; just albeit toned-down and somewhat works as the “safe” item on the menu that would please the crowd.
Being a concept opened by the Muslim community for the Muslim community, Gastronomad seems to be pushing the boundaries of halal bistros with their take on contemporary cuisine. The concept does remind us a little of Brothers in Fine Food; a Muslim-run cafe run by the folks behind Penny University that serves an interesting take oo Asian-Western fusion cuisine that is made halal for the Muslim community. The food at Gastronomad certainly exceeded our expectations; the food comes with many surprises in its flavour, texture, quality, and execution, a testament to the thought process placed on the design of every dish. The items we had also felt relatively refined, with details concerning flavour and texture being well taken care of; something that is pretty impressive for any bistro, let alone a halal bistro. A place with their own ideas on contemporary halal cuisine, Gastronomad is a spot that is likely to be a to-go spot for the Muslim community for the interesting and inventive fare that sets themselves apart from other halal establishments around; we were certainly impressed with our meal there, and we definitely would find ourselves returning to Gastronomad sometime soon just to check out their offerings on their dinner menu. Here’s wishing the folks of Gastronomad all the best in what is to come in the days ahead!
Thomson V Two
11 Sin Ming Road