In the great big world of museums and art galleries, there are gift shops, and then there are gift shops. What differentiates a regular gift shop from a truly outstanding one then? In our opinion, it’s one that stocks some truly fabulous items we’d be willing to shell out for, and beyond the usual exhibition catalogs, comes up with some inspiring collectibles that scream class and makes friends jealous that you had the chance to see an awesome exhibition.
So when The National Gallery opened with its latest showcase Century of Light, we were incredibly pleased that resident gift shop Gallery and Co. did just that and proved themselves an outstanding gift shop. Century of Light consists of two exhibitions – Between Worlds, featuring Southeast Asian artists Juan Luna and Raden Saleh and Colours of Impressionism, bringing in Impressionist works from the Musee d’Orsay. Considering the exhibition runs all the way till March 2018, it made complete sense of Gallery and Co. to bring in and design some seriously cool merch for the exhibition – from tote bags depicting the biggest and most beautiful paintings featured, to even specially created chocolate bars encased in gorgeously printed boxes featuring the work of Juan Luna, Raden Salleh and Claude Monet, from local chocolate manufacturer Fossa Chocolates.
But beyond simply simply a gift shop, Gallery and Co. also doubles up as a cafe and kitchen. During the recent Yayoi Kusama exhibition, Gallery and Co. served up thematic food relating to the Kusama’s works, such as a yellow dessert dotted with chocolate dots resembling her famous spotted pumpkins, and even Boba Tea with black pearls. This time around, they’re drawing inspiration from both exhibitions featured in Century of Light, coming up with an all new special menu that features food from the Philippines, Indonesia and France.
First up, we have the Pulled Pork Adobo Burger ($18). Inspired by the Filipino dish of adobo (a method of marinating meat), this pulled pork burger is served with pickled achara (unripe papaya) and fries. Together, these ingredients and varied flavours really come together when you take a big bite out of the burger, making for a little mouth-gasm when consumed. Don’t knock the fries either – they may look ordinary, but in fact, are really crispy and adds a nice crunchy side to the already delicious burger.
Next, check out their Spiced Roast Chicken with Sambal Ijo Pesto ($17). Inspired by dishes from Indonesia, this was a roast chicken whose skin was crispy, while the meat was still tender inside. Served on a bed of mixed grains and salad, the real standout of this dish was no doubt the sambal ijo pesto, a twist on the Indonesian Ijo Padang, or green sambal, and complemented the chicken perfectly. We have no doubt that if they started to bottle and sell the sambal separately, it’d do very well on its own.
Finally, what meal isn’t complete without dessert? Introducing The Pomme ($9), literally translating to apple. You might be surprised when this dish is first served; it’s quite literally shaped into a shiny red apple. But take a knife and gingerly slice it open, and lo and behold – it’s actually made of soft apple mousse, filled with a surprise centre of fresh apple cubes, served atop a shortbread base. As Instagrammable as this dish it, it’s not just for show – it’s light, a mix of flavours and textures, and overall, a great way to end off the entire special menu experience.
With so many creative interpretations and inspirations from the theme, celebrate a Century of Light with Gallery and Co. when you visit the exhibition. Whether you’re buying back a unique souvenir or consuming a dish from the limited time special menu, it’s evident that Gallery and Co. is stepping up their game to offer up one of the most well curated gift shop experiences in Singapore, and we’re beyond excited to see how they continue to develop their culinary and retail concepts with each new exhibit the National Gallery opens.
Century of Light, featuring Between Worlds and Colours of Impressionism, will be shown at the National Gallery from 16th November 2017 – 11th March 2018. Gallery and Co.’s special themed menu will also run till the end of the exhibition. For more information and to book tickets to the exhibition online, visit their website here