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First look: Tease by CreatureS

Fusion soul food from Singaporean slingers

Images courtesy of Tease by CreatureS
First looks are initial sneak peeks at a new venue. Unlike reviews, which are strictly anonymous and paid for by Time Out, 'first looks' may be based on press trips or other non-anonymous visits. Look out for the full review coming soon.

What is it? From the folks behind Singaporean restaurant CreatureS – a three-time winner of Tatler's Best Restaurant in Singapore award – comes new concept Tease by CreatureS, a modern Asian fusion restaurant located in co-living space Stey Wangfujing. Deriving its name from its pledge to 'tease your senses and palate', Tease takes CreatureS' – yes, that errant 'S' is unfortunately intentional – Straits-Chinese (Peranakan and Nyonya) roots and combines them with Beijing-style influences, promising a menu of fusion 'soul food' to diners.

Not content with merely serving up food, Tease is also home to La-Bar-Atory (get it?), a slick new bar which, as its name suggests, is home to all manner of mad-scientist-like concoctions, playing around with techniques such as distillation, fermentation, clarification and ageing.

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What's on the menu? Tease's cheeky menu is divided into four categories: Teasers (appetisers), Prelude (entrées), Climax (mains) and Postlude (dessert). Embarking on a steamy culinary interlude sees a menu filled with plenty of familiar names executed in a not-so-familiar way – namely, achingly hip takes on classics such as babi pongteh (Nyonya-style braised pork belly), Hainanese chicken rice and beef rendang.

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Hainanese chicken rice collides with Vietnamese rice paper rolls in Tease's aptly named Hainanese Chicken Rice Rolls, which sees poached chicken and fragrant rice rolled with cucumber ribbons and Vietnamese rice paper, then served with a trio of homemade chilli, sesame soy and spring onion-ginger sauces.

Tease's babi pongteh, on the other hand, sees pork belly braised in a soybean paste and assam gravy, served alongside fried mantou. Put it all together and the Nyonya dish becomes reminiscent of Taiwanese guabao.

越式海南鸡饭卷 HAINANESE CHICKEN RICE ROLL (1)

虎咬猪 BABI PONGTEH WITH FRIED MANTOU (1)

One of the most divisive dishes, by far, comes in the form of tofu (as it so often does). Enigmatically named The Tofu Blooms, this delicate dish features Japanese cold tofu placed on top of a freshly blended pidan (century egg) sauce laced with additional salted egg yolk, crispy lotus root slivers and tobiko (flying fish roe). Spoiler alert: this dish will split opinions as much as actual pidan and tofu do.

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For those with more traditional tastes, other dishes also include Kampung Beef Rendang – beef slow-braised in an 'heirloom' rendang recipe with butterfly pea coconut rice – and Traditional Peranakan Laksa, featuring prawns, quail eggs, chicken thigh and fish paste simmered in a rich coconut laksa broth.

家传任当牛肉 KAMPUNG BEEF RENDANG

传统峇峇叻沙TRADITIONAL PERANAKAN LAKSA

Unlike many Asian restaurants, Tease comes equipped with a luxurious dessert menu courtesy of pastry chef Jacob Justus (previously of New York's Eleven Madison Park). Desserts include the Beijing-inspired Peking Opera – a luridly pink dome of vanilla chantilly cream, raspberry crémeux and passion fruit curd – and Tease Chocolate Cake.

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On the drinks side of things, La-Bar-Atory's currently still playing around with a soft menu, but expect off-the-wall, experimental flavours and infusions such as sticky rice and pu'er vodka, bonito flake (yes, as in the fish) vodka and fermented garlic gin. Non-drinkers will most likely need to be as adventurous as drinkers with tipples such as the Madame Butterfly blue lemongrass latte.

农(氟)山泉 FARMER'S SPRING

We say Finding a restaurant that isn't located in either a mall or hotel in Wangfujing is rare, and Tease by CreatureS is doing its part to offer trendy eats and drinks in an area that often leans towards buttoned-up formal dining. With flavour profiles you won't commonly find elsewhere – whether that's for better or worse – we're keeping a close eye on this one.

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