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Artful Dining

Headlining chefs across the globe are increasingly complementing museums’ visual offerings with their own delicious works of art


Please check the latest government advice before booking travel and departing on any trip, as this may affect the travel insurance cover provided with your card account (if held).


The recently debuted Louvre Abu Dhabi has been almost universally fêted not only for its art and antiquities on display, but also for its remarkable architecture by Jean Nouvel. And yet it’s a different Frenchman who’s earning headlines at the moment: superstar toque Pierre Gagnaire has lent his Midas touch to the menu of Fouquet’s, an outpost of his beloved Paris bistro set within the Abu Dhabi museum. A mouthwatering hodgepodge of French brasserie fare and gussied-up comfort food, mains range from braised lamb shoulder with zesty lentil hummus to fish and chips paired with sauce gribiche.


Meanwhile in Milan, Michelin favourite Enrico Bartolini’s revamped Italian classics – such as cuttlefish cooked in cedar and pumpkin or peanut ravioli with blue lobster – are among the many rare ethnographical treasures housed in the new eatery at the Museum of Cultures.


In Amsterdam, homegrown chef Joris Bijdendijk joins the ranks of local heroes from Rembrandt to Van Gogh at the Rijksmuseum’s Michelin-minted Rijks, where Dutch-grown ingredients feature in edible artworks like trout with unripened gooseberry and kohlrabi or guinea fowl with truffle and chanterelles.


Farther south, Frank Gehry is said to have taken inspiration from a herring’s scales in creating the shimmering titanium-panel façade of the Museo Guggenheim Bilbao, and chef Josean Alija, too, considers fish in many of his thoughtful creations – among them, his iconic cod and onion in green pepper sauce – at the in-house Nerua eatery.


Within the National Gallery Singapore, meanwhile, chef Julien Royer’s three-Michelin-star Odette opened in 2015 and remains the standard bearer for museum restaurants. Complementing the museum’s monolithic collection of Southeast Asian Art, it serves Nouveau French dishes with an Asian twist (think wild Atlantic turbot sautéed in yari ika and Iranian saffron, or foie gras served alongside abalone and smoked eel) in a blush-toned dining room decorated with custom art inspired by the menu.

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