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Araya Singapore New Menu Pays Homage To The Chilean Coast

Now approaching its sixth month since its launch, Singapore’s rst (and only) Chilean South Pacific fine dining restaurant debuts an eight-course degustation menu – the Costa ($368++).Costa, its name derived from Cordillera de la Costa or the Chilean Coastal Range, shifts the focus to the marine bounty found along the rugged forested coasts in the South Pacific. While Chile is known largely for having the most arid desert in the world, Atacama, in the North and lush vineyards, the country has an extremely long coastline, 6,437 km to be exact, along the South Pacific Ocean.

Continuing Araya’s culinary odyssey, Chef-Partners Francisco Araya and Fernanda Guerrero take on an innovative approach to reimagining the nest sea creatures, plants and cooking techniques native to their homeland.

Cochayuyo, large Southern bull kelp from the Chilean coast, is rendered to a briney spread in accompaniment to Pastry Chef Fernanda’s endearing bread basket at the start of the meal. Displayed to guests as a tight bundle of dehydrated seaweed that weighs lighter than it looks, the protein-rich cochayuyo has been found by archaeologists in the hearths of ancient communities in Chile. Till today, the seaweed is widely used by Chileans. Chef Francisco Araya recounts having cochayuyo in braises (it has a chewy texture when rehydrated), and it being given to teething babies to chew on.

The second new course, Taigairai, features the choro zapato (meaning ‘shoe’ in Spanish) or the Chilean giant mussel. Native to estuaries in water with low salinity, the mollusk gets its name from its size, comparable to the average shoe size of an adult man. At Araya, the choro zapato is served raw akin to a ceviche after it is marinated in an ají amarillo sauce, absorbing the fruitiness of the yellow chilli pepper.

Curanto is the third addition in the Costa menu and gets its name from a pre- Hispanic cooking technique. Used by indigenous Chilotes from Chiloé Island in South Chile, an assortment of meat and seafood are wrapped in leaves then cooked in an earth oven with hot stones.

In Chef Francisco’s rendition, a whole abalone is wrapped in corn husk then sealed in a dough parcel made from charcoal and corn husk ashes and cooked over the fire. It is removed from its receptacle tableside for a multi-sensorial reveal. The abalone is served with two sauces, a fresh chorizo sauce and another made with the shell sh’s organs, and chicharron.

The Chancho en Piedra is a prelude to the Costa menu’s only non-seafood course, the Aged Ecuadorian Cacao with Pigeon Supreme (the same dish from Araya’s opening menu). A cantaloupe gazpacho with cubes of compressed cucumber is a much welcomed cold sweet and savoury palate cleanser before the last main course.

Finally, Pastry Chef Fernanda introduces a new dessert called Lucuma. Native to the Andean Valley, the fruit, lucuma, has a starchy texture and tastes like butterscotch, sweet potato and maple syrup combined. Commonly used to flavour juices, ice cream and milkshakes, the plant has history dating back to the Incans who were found to have drawn representations of lucuma on their ceramics.

At Araya, the fruit takes the form of an ice cream alongside vanilla jelly, co ee espuma and caramelised rice pu s, inspired by Fernanda’s favourite bistro, Bogarin, in Santiago, Chile where luche de lucuma is sold to-go with sandwiches.

While the Costa celebrates the marine life in the region, Araya’s Andes ($298++) menu places an emphasis on the bounty of the land with favourites such as the empanada, Picaña and Moqueca courses. It includes the addition of Coral, a full vegetarian dish simulating the avours of the sea with a striking crown purple corn lattice decorated with two kinds of seaweed, caviar and rica-rica (a medicinal herb native to the Atacama desert) sauce. Underneath, a mashua espuma with crunchy quinoa.

Both the Costa and Andes menu, as well as the Vegetariano ($298++) menu, are available for Private Dining Room reservations.

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