Baked schulterscherzl (oyster blade) at Zott's, Singapore
Zott’s is a curious case. We wanted to know how Chef Lorenz-Maria Griesser would reinterpret "Alpine cuisine"—essentially hearty, comforting, cold-weather mountain food—in a fine dining setting. While the décor plays up the mountain theme with taxidermy animals and large paintings of menageries, his menu does make an attempt to modernize and elevate the food, with light touches like the use of tropical fruits. But on the whole, these touches couldn’t really rescue our meal. Our glasses of Champagne ($29), for example, came with an amply portioned dessert-like strawberries and cream amuse-bouche, starting the night off on a strangely sweet note. We then moved on to the Tafelspitzsuelze ($18), a reimagined Austrian classic involving terrine-like boiled beef encased in gelatine and served with horseradish and toasted dark rye bread. Boiled beef offset by the kick of horseradish certainly doesn’t entice you for seconds. The same can be said about their special, the Kaiserschmarrn Zott’s style ($29 as starter, $45 as main), a souffléd and caramelized pancake with pan-fried foie gras and pineapple-goose liver ice cream. Though (odd and) exciting on the page, the sweet pineapples and sugar-dusted pancakes had little acidity to cut through the fatty foie gras, rendering the dish little one-dimensional. We did like the curiously named Bavarian-style bondage chicken ($36), seasoned with sweet paprika powder, curry and cayenne pepper. It’s juicy, well-roasted and daringly-seasoned. We were also impressed with the wine list, featuring some little-known bottles from places like Slovenia. All in all, some dishes are good and the wine list is fun, but the stolid cuisine is an unlikely candidate for “a nice place” kind of dinner, and the dishes that do attempt gastronomic finesse seem a bit forced.