Story

Ryan Clift

Happy, British, unique

One can say a lot about British-born Ryan Clift, but certainly not that he’s just an average guy. He’s the creator and chef of the extraordinary “Tippling Club” – a unique mix of bar and restaurant – in Singapore. The interplay of avant-garde cuisine, culinary science and cocktails really creates a stir. Clift’s club regularly appears in the list of the “World’s 50 Best Restaurants”. Since 2018, Clift has also been an ambassador for the V-ZUG brand and adds a touch of wildness to the renowned team of Swiss and international chefs such as Tanja Grandits, Andreas Caminada, Franck Giovannini, Walter Klose and Anton Schmaus – and fully equipped with a spirit of exploration. When he was 14 years old, Ryan Clift literally began his career washing dishes. In a 1-star restaurant near his home town of Devizes, Wiltshire (UK), young Ryan first began washing dishes, then he became a young apprentice chef and graduated from culinary school before starting at the upscale Claridge’s Hotel in London.

Throughout his career, he learned from a number of distinguished chefs such as Marco-Pierre White, Emmanuel Renaut and Raymond Capaldi. In 1999 Ryan Clift, energetic, funny and untiring in his personal encounter, moved ‘Down Under’ and spent nine years running one of Australia’s best restaurants, the “Vue de Monde”. Nine years later it wasn’t far from there to Singapore, the next stop for the ambitious culinary world traveller. In 2008 he opened the “Tippling Club” in Singapore, a mix of gourmet restaurant and bar, which “in contrast to other kitchens, relies heavily on science and research”, according to Clift. “My philosophy is: Taste comes first,” says the innovative chef. “We put a lot of effort into discovering the secret of taste through natural processes and scientific methods.”

Despite the location of his restaurant, he doesn’t cook Asian cuisine, reveals Ryan Clift with a grin, and then clarifies: “Japanese ingredients are very important to me, but we also play with traditional dishes from Singapore like curries or the classic oyster omelette” A fixed menu at the Tippling Club features around a dozen dishes, from scallops and foie gras variations to Wagyu beef, cheese and desserts. Guests can select the flavours of the accompanying cocktails from an assortment of home-made gummy bears and the cheesecake that Clift serves is sometimes shaped like a pill from the medicine cabinet. Ryan Clift’s kitchen is playful, surprising, humorous. His unconventional approach also dictates that salt is a no-no and only natural flavours and umami sources may be used. The precious Wagyu beef, for example, is “salted” by means of vacuum packing between two layers of kombu algae. Through the vacuum process, the cells open so that the glutamic acid penetrates into the meat, which is present in the alga in high concentration and provides naturally complex seasoning. Ryan Clift says that he wants to consciously go his own way and he even largely avoids eating in other restaurants. “I prefer not to be influenced in my ideas if possible,” says the chef, who is, without a doubt, an exceptional phenomenon in the colourful world of delights.

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