Championing modern Singapore cuisine with creativity and innovation, Restaurant Labyrinth lives up to its name with unexpected turns and surprises on every corner.
In the heart of the Esplanade Theatre, the restaurant’s owner and Head Chef, Han Li Guang, draws inspiration from his childhood memories of Singapore in the 1980s, and has set himself no small challenge: to introduce local fare to modern flavours, while keeping authenticity intact.
A former banker, Han began his fine dining career by apprenticing under Michelin-star chefs on weekends. After years of planning and hard work learning from industry leaders, Han opened Labyrinth in 2014.
“When it comes to overseas guests,” he said, “they often know Singapore as a financial hub, but no one really knows what Singapore cuisine is. I want to showcase it in a modern way, while protecting traditional flavours as well.”
This ambitious approach is already turning heads with the restaurant receiving its first Michelin star in 2017 which was repeated in 2018. “Labyrinth is not just a restaurant to me,” Han said. “It’s a platform to grow awareness around and become a champion of Singapore cuisine.”
Each dish requires around four to six months of development, refinement and testing before it makes it onto the menu – a process that begins with mastering a traditional recipe. Only then is it given that modern edge. Even once the dish has made it onto the menu, the refinement process continues. Han is nothing if not a perfectionist.
Guests can enjoy the tasting menu which takes diners on a gastronomic adventure with optional wine pairings. Explore dishes like the signature Ang Moh Chicken Rice with Kin Yan Mushroom.
Other seasonal dishes include the Nasi Lemak, featuring chicken skin, ikan bilis and egg yolk gel, the Homemade Lap Cheong, or the Heartland Waffle made of local chicken pate and goji berry jam. Ingredients are selected to showcase the best produce Singapore has to offer, with 80% sourced from local producers and sustainable fisheries such as Hay’s Dairy Farm, Jurong Fishery Port, Nippon Koi Farm, Farm Delight, Kwong Woh Hing Sauce Factory, Chinatown Market and Stringless Honeybee Farm.
The wine list is “live” and Han is constantly rotating the wines. They are unpretentious and sourced from all parts of the globe. The list features a changing collection of wines from Australia, Italy, France and the United States, as well as a selection of Singapore-inspired cocktails.
For all the emphasis on exquisite cuisine and drinks, the atmosphere at Labyrinth – just like the quirky cocktail names – is unpretentious and relaxed. Located in a cosy corner of the Esplanade, the restaurant is the perfect pre-theatre indulgence. The interior is understated and elegant with two feature walls being set up as part of Chef Han’s inspiration. He also uses spotlights to enhance the dining experience for our guests.
And the food of Han Li Guang is worth watching: by tempering the glitz of fine dining with the flavours of traditional hawker fare, Labyrinth is serving up something special.