More than a year after its debut, one-Michelin-starred Restaurant Born has unveiled its second menu this August – remembering significant food memories that have intrigued, inspired, and galvanized Chef Zor Tan’s culinary journey of flavor discoveries.
A fine-dining restaurant set within the iconic Jinrikisha Station, Born is based on the Circle of Life: a philosophy that fuses Chef Zor’s childhood memories, professional journey, and personal ideals. The identity of the cuisine is expressed through 9 guiding principles of Birth, Roots, Memories, Craft, Relationship, Vicissitudes, Time, Progress, and Legacy.
Each contemporary presentation is a story on a plate, revealing an indelible moment in Zor’s life through each bite. Marrying Zor’s training in French gastronomy and roots in Chinese heritage, the dishes come together in a 9-course tasting menu that tells a personal culinary story through nuanced, familiar flavors, presented with flair and finesse.
In the restaurant’s second phase, Zor dives into personal food memories that spark moments of flavour discoveries. While birthed from these revelations, each dish is more than an interpretation of flavour. Rather, they are unique creations, moulded through the perspective of time, and finessed through Zor’s pursuit of excellence in craft.
The multi-dimensional dining experience starts with a series of five snacks. A take on Zor’s childhood favourite, a humble snack of canned pineapple from ‘Pekan Nanas’ – a Pontian ‘Pineapple Town’ known for its plantations, Pineapple / Licorice / Chilli encapsulates his fascination with the refreshing mix of sweet, earthy, and spicy flavours. This opener sees the juice of roasted Sarawak pineapple infused with chilli padi and dried licorice root presented in a cocoa butter sphere.
Memories of having fast-food joint French fries dipped in soft serve ice cream and the surprising yet comforting sweet-and-savoury, creamyand-crisp combination inspired the Potato / Vanilla / Caviar of rolled potato crisp filled with a potato vanilla crème anglaise and finished with Oscietra caviar.
An assembly of hand-chopped, locally farmed prawns rolled with a scallop silk and crowned with uni, Prawn / Scallop / Uni is a recollection of ‘shu mai’. This was the first dish Zor made for his family when he was working part-time in a dim sum restaurant as a 14-yearold, and an item that brought him to realise that tastiness can be created through textural layers and using the freshest ingredients.
An unexpected reinterpretation of his mother’s home-cooked pig stomach soup with chicken and the elevated dish of a whole chicken stuffed in pig stomach pepper soup he had in Macau arrives before diners in the form of Chicken Wing / Pig Stomach / Pepper. Inspired by how the en vessie culinary technique of cooking meat in a pig’s bladder can transform flavors, he reverses the roles of the ingredients in this snack to stuff a boneless deep-fried chicken wing with a pig stomach paired with pepper gel.
The Beef Tongue / Five Spice / Cracker snack of Five Spice cracker tart filled with char-grilled beef tongue tossed in egg yolk and aioli, layered with slivers of pickled daikon takes a page from when Zor first tried ‘niu she bing’ (⽜⾆饼) in Taiwan. Puzzled to find that the sweet beef tongue-shaped biscuit does not contain any beef, and intrigued by Because a dish’s name may not always reflect its ingredients, he challenged himself to create a dish true to its name.
Another signature returns in the third course, “Aged” Cow / Oyster / Fried Bao: a dish of mala marinated vintage Wagyu beef tartare in a light, golden brown ‘bao’, on an oyster emulsion, topped with bresaola. Demonstrating how a meaningful cultural exchange can birth new flavors, here, Zor draws similarities between disparate dishes – the ‘bao’ served at Restaurant DiverXO in Spain, and his mother’s oyster ‘hao bing’.
Indeed, while Zor’s cuisine is rooted in his memories, his inspirations to create out-of-the-box recipes with familiar ingredients are gathered from rich life experiences around the world. The fourth course, Foie Gras / Custard / Espardenyes, tells of his first encounters with Espardenyes in Spain, and Portuguese egg tarts from Macau’s famous Lord’s Stow Bakery. Surprised by how different these are from what he tried at home, this rendition comprises a creamy, steam-baked egg custard topped with sea cucumber muscle, foie gras sauce, black balsamic pearls, and spring onion oil. Representing the ‘pastry’ component is a brioche brushed with maple syrup and sprinkled with toasted buckwheat.
Beyond a culinary presentation of Zor’s personal stories, Born’s second menu is a milestone in the growth of the restaurant since its debut in mid 2022. It is an expression of a restaurant presenting its own voice and identity on the world stage — all while delivering ‘the best moment’ for diners, at every given moment.
#01-01, 1 Neil Road, 088804, Singapore