FIZ uses ancient methods to create modern refinement
Fine Dining in Tanjong Pagar
(October 11, 2023) The diversity of restaurants in the Tanjong Pagar area of Singapore makes it no surprise that there are unique, quality dining options in those narrow streets. Top of my list is the recently opened fiz. While it was hot outside the décor, inspired by the architecture and the environment of SE Asia, contributed to the cool inside.
Chef-Owner Hafizzul Hashim (pictured above) explained that inspiration for the interior was taken from the ancient architecture of places such as Ankor Wat and from the rainforests of the region. In the private dining room the wallpaper images of the jungle mists helps create an ambience of isolation while a window provides a view of the kitchen where the magic takes place. And while the contrasts exist in the décor, contrast and compliment contribute to the exciting and sparkling tastes of the dishes served in fiz.
Chef Hashim, who has been working in professional kitchens since the age of 18, (he's now 40) says fiz offers, “A celebration of our regional diversity through the merging of cuisines prepared with ancient cooking methods and a touch of creative modern refinement.
The cosmopolitan chef, who began life in Malaysia, “Lumut, Perak, was the only place I knew as home and is where my love for food began,” who studied in England and lived in a number of places including Tokyo and Ho Chi Minh City turns Southeast Asian cuisine on its head. He shies away from calling it fusion saying what he does is to refine well-known dishes. “We aim,” he says “to represent, inspire, honour, innovate and excel by making a positive impact in our food and service industry.”
Enjoying a menu of six dishes fiz presented familiar names that contained very unfamiliar aspects. Beginning with the familiar Nasi Lemak and then Satay both dishes were quite different than what is usually served. About the Nasi Lemak Chef Hashim’s notes, “This is my go to breakfast every morning.” A free range egg, Beras Adan (rice grown in the cool climate of the Bario Highlands in Sarawak) and anchovies sambal are the ingredients. Chef Hashim’s version is more condensed than typical servings but it is brimming with flavour that isn’t overdone.
Satay is “the most famous grilled skewer” but at fiz you don’t get the skewer. You get a ball of meat that is soft and tender. No using great effort to pull it off the thin twig. Quail, macadamia and lemongrass contribute to its succulence and success.
The daily catch from yesterday’s fishing trip was mackerel plated with heirloom tomatoes and calamansi to create a spritely dish that enlivens the palate. Assam Pedas is wagyu beef brisket drenched in delicious gravy. The tender slices of meat, like much of what was presented, were rich in flavour and lovingly tender.
Dessert came in the guise of banana on banana on banana. Pisang Goreng ice cream with coconut kremis. Once again, Chef has gone to refinement and enrichment, escaping anything heavy when it might have been easier to deep fry or lay sauces on thick.
And even at first glance when it looks like fiz is fizzling with traditional looking Bahulu - the dainty fluffy cakes come through with a soft outer layer and even softer inside that flows through your mouth. Surprisingly good and lighter than what you usually snack on.
If there was anything of negative to note it would be the time it took for the dishes to arrive, but learning that the culinary team was making everything for the first time, they could only be praised for the perfection they presented.
Before I departed Chef Hashim noted, “We value both ancient methods and creative modern refinement, pay attention to every detail, perform with integrity and passion, and believe in true hospitality from the heart.”
fiz will also be one of the featured restaurants as part of the Kita Food Festival Singapore Weekender that will be held 19-23 October. Visit the website: www.kitafoodfestival.com for more information and to book tickets.
Tuesday - Saturday from 6:00pm to 10:00pm
21 Tanjong Pagar Road
T: +65 9679 8021
05:56 AM, 29 Nov, 2023
06:23 AM, 16 Nov, 2023
06:46 AM, 17 Oct, 2023