Combining theatrics, escape room and fine dining, Absurdities promises to be a night of fun with fine dining. Don’t read this post if you do not want a plot leak.
You cannot find the signboard for Absurdities. If you follow the address, you get Asylum Coffeehouse. And if you come too early, the baristas would give you a funny look. They have been briefed not to disclose anything in advance. The place only transformed into Absurdities in the evening.
And Asylum is a proper coffeehouse with specialty blends and house made cold brew that you can also buy for the home. And then promptly at the agreed time, the host for Absurdities appeared from Panel “A” to get the dinner/show/escapade going.
Season in the Sun
And as the amuse bouche, it was a welcome drink called Garden Sun Wine. It’s a cocktail of orange peel, raisins, Sarsi and Black Mission fig juice.The only difference between the alcoholic and non-alcoholic version is the shot of oak barrel aged rum.
And the first course for the evening was served in the coffeehouse. The Garden in a Bowl was made up of fresh garden berries, puffed buckwheat, nasturtium and sorrel, served a herb and spice infusion poured into the bowl table side.
And to make it really hip, there’s the avocado toast thrown in for good measure. But wait a minute, the toast is not made of flour but of roasted vegetables. That’s the theme for tonight, expect the unexpected.
We were told not to expect anything out of the ordinary. Even the entrance to the dinner was properly concealed behind one of these panels. Spoiler alert!
Welcome to the Twilight Zone
The first stop, you come to greet the Genie in the thousand year old fibreglass tree. This first stop is to remind people of the deforestation due to cattle farming. So the first main course was totally vegetarian.
Because of the dim and psychedelic lighting, my taste buds were all tricked to believe whatever we were eating was meat. But there’s no meat in the Burger and Ash. And it’s not impossible meat too, the patty as I was told was totally organic and not food engineering.
The ingredients were jackfruit for the patty and shredded oyster mushroom and coleslaw served on a toasted brioche and “ribs” made with charcoal tapioca and olive ash.
After the good burger and a lesson on conservation, we were told to guess where the escape route was. Nope, I am not going to tell this time, but it wasn’t the tree hole.
A Fish is Still a Fish in Casablanca
Next stop, Moroccan-inspired tent serving Smoked Cod Tagine.
The theme of this room was fortune telling. And the tagine told me of a future that would involved a flight.
And what did these two have to do with my future?
The cod was rather bland and was supposed to be smoked using cherry wood chips together with the smoked tabbouleh, which was rather under seasoned. The only thing I enjoyed on the plate was the falafel, which held up its crispiness despite slightly cold due to the air-conditioning and delay from moving between the stations. Held together by a tiny dollop of pomegranate ketchup. Sorry you cannot ask for pepper and salt as this is not a fine dining restaurant per se.
I really like this next part of the meal. Pastel colours, a cosy kitchen, a really chatty and friendly host, and innovative entrance. Don’t worry, for the physically challenged, there’s a more civilised way to get over here.
This station serves Mama’s Famous Cereal Chicken Pot Pie. Well, it didn’t look like a pot pie, nor was it the Chinese-style Cereal Chicken pops 麦片鸡. In fact the “cereals” were made with savoury bits of crispy chicken skin.
And of course the “milk” was a heart-warming cream of mushroom corn soup. You can swear it tasted like Campbell’s.
And the main ingredients were fire roasted chicken and boiled 1950’s American Freezer vegetables (yes, frozen vegetable that you used for Chinese fried rice) on a bed of pureed roasted cauliflower. It was a substantial portion, enough to fill you up.
I was so intrigued by the details, the plate that showed the roast chicken flying away from the pot pie, hence the dish where there’s no pie.
Everything is not what it seems. The freezer is the pantry where Mama took out the meal, and the escape route is… I will not spoil the plot.
The next stop, the wizarding world inspired by Harry Potter. To call it Hogwarts, it would be flattery. It looked more like a Chinese medicinal hall. Here, the “wizard” gave us instructions on how to make the Mortar Purple Squid Risotto. Nope, there’s no rice in this dish.
Kids, don’t do this at home. The concoction is made by mixing “broken glass” of lime flavoured isomalt sugar and the small vale of seaweed crumble into a bowl of fresh uni, celeriac, purple carrot and bits of boiled squid to represent rice.
I decided to be cautious. Even it’s fake glass, it can still make a nasty cut when not properly chewed. So I didn’t add the broken glass. There’s a hidden ingredient which is ikura (salmon roe). There’s plenty of umami with every mouthful, but there’s only so little.
Last Stop… Dessert
And to bring us back to reality, we were transported back in “First Class” comfort, where champagne flowed and the “duty free cart” rolled.
Complete with comfy armchairs and an “air stewardess” to serve our dessert, the decor was inspired by the interior of an aircraft when travelling was hip and luxury, not like the commute that it has become.
And the dessert was named as Handcrafted Artisan Jelly and Edible Sand. It is essentially a cocktail made with Verjus Blanc and Bombay Sapphire Gin, with lychee flesh, elderflower and gold flakes set in jelly. Reminded me of osmantheus jelly.
And the final touches, a dial made with white chocolate set with the word “ABSURDITIES”, and popping candy. The taste was a zero, but the innovation was the hero.
And there’s a few things that reminded you, it’s all commercial fun. At the end of each course, there will be a collectable card given describing what you just ate (or drink). Including the welcome drink and the champagne at the end, you get eight cards.
But you will be missing one, which you can pay for it to complete the picture. No prize for guessing what’s the missing piece. You can get a picture in the photo of the interior of the aircraft.
You can also get the missing card by ordering the cocktail package. Let’s put it this way, for the completeness of the experience, I would recommend to go for the package. But they all tasted like cough medicines to me.
I have been to a dinner theatre, where a murder plot was intertwined in a Chinese wedding dinner and the actors moved around the tables to give you hints of what’s going on. And then the evening climaxed into a plot reveal of whose the adulteress and the who’s the murderer. Kind of Cluedo with a simple dinner thrown in.
The food part at Absurdities was definitely much better than that. Not sure about the fine dining part though, but it was definitely fun. Recommended if you have not tried something like this before.
It’s a secret….. but you can guess the approximate location from the map below
Visited in Aug 2022