Date Night: Imbue brings the East and West together with great joy

Imbue, best described as a contemporary European restaurant dressed with an unexpected Asian flair, does its best to provide an all-rounded experience

Editor’s note: For more Date Night stories, click here.

Chef Lee Boon Seng. Photo by Imbue

What’s it like at Imbue?

While the interior doesn’t quite impress—simple wood panelling and plenty of grey—the beauty lies in the warm and friendly atmosphere. Led by Lee Boon Seng, an award-winning chef with a love of both East and West, Imbue is best described as a contemporary European restaurant dressed with an unexpected Asian flair. It is more casual than fine dining, but does its best to provide an all-rounded experience. Grab a drink at the bar for an aperitif, then get seated at the open kitchen for a more interactive session. Lee’s friendly and so is the rest of his team, though in some ways, the service has room for improvement.

Abalone and egg custard. Photo by Imbue 

What should one order?

Imbue’s open at lunch and dinner, but go for the latter. That’s when there are two set menus and the option to go à la carte. If the day’s been long and you’re done making tough decisions, let the kitchen do the work for you with the eight-course Simmer (S$198) menu.

It begins with a few different snacks, such as Oyster Mousse, a deconstructed oyster that tastes better than it sounds; the flesh is turned into a luscious mousse, brushed with sesame oil and algae powder, and topped with a citrus white soy and chopped jellyfish. There’s also Drunken Chicken, encased in a “crispy spring roll” tart shell, topped with doubanjiang emulsion and crowned with shaoxing jelly, and Century Egg Crab, where crab is marinated with kelp paste and paired with century egg emulsion, pickled ginger jelly and Kaluga hybrid caviar.

Mailai Bread, sweetened with malt molasses and flavoured with salt and thyme. It comes with salted butter, honey, and a sprinkle of ginseng powder. Photo by Imbue

The following courses feature a sticky, soft Malai Bread that’s a toss between ma lai gao and milk bread; a charcoal-grilled Wagyu Rump Cap that’s served with a fermented black bean sauce of beef jus and fat; and one of the most delicious things on the menu, the Abalone, where Lee makes a light egg custard out of gingko nut, cream and kelp powder, and tops it with abalone that’s cooked the only way it should—seared over binchotan with brown butter, pear, pine nuts and preserved green chilli. There is also Squid Sausage Claypot Rice to look forward to, if you’re fond of squid ink sauce and sausage that’s stuffed with squid, fish farce and salted fish.

What else is there to know?

Add S$98 for a wine pairing (a flight of five) or choose a cocktail instead. Order the creamy and slightly tart Grains if you love vodka, apple and vanilla, or the Opera, a rich and decadent mix of spiced rum, coffee, couverture and Irish cream. The menu also features a baijiu-based cocktail (Roots) that’s made with cognac, mijiu, chrysanthemum and turnip.

32 Keong Saik Road,
Singapore 089137
Tel: +65 6223 7266