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French

sometimes, you just need to take a break.

guys, i was so tired after returning from italy, so jet lagged, and realizing that i had much admin stuff to settle, i decided to apply for an urgent one day leave to really rehabilitate. and… well… take the chance to go eat some nice food with my parents – in particular, nice food that is out of my price range during dinner times but manageable for set lunches.

i think au petit salut is a pretty well known, french fine-dining spot, occupying a prominent spot along harding road that’s slight off dempsey — you can’t miss it when you travel down from holland road to orchard road as its this handsome, stately building. that being said, it’s not exactly that easily accessible as you have to make some sort of detour and enter from a side road, passing through golf courses and a beautiful, well-preserved old style church building.

ambience wise, au petit salut has this laid back colonial charm. we were seated outside at the verandah which was hmm.. tad warm considering that our table was placed at a spot where the roof was not exactly completely covered and the blazing sun rays seared inwards making my mom somewhat uncomfortable. service was pretty good otherwise, with good recommendations, polite and attentive servers and fast service.

let’s get to the food.

we ordered the set lunches. there’s two types of set lunch, the $35 one is the cheaper one with more selections whilst the $48 one is a executive set lunch that presumably contains the best dishes (foie gras, lobster ravioli etc..). we settled for the $35 one since it looked pretty decent itself.

my appetizer was homemade duck rilettes served with petit salad and toast (see picture above). the rilettes (meat that is cubed or chopped, salted heavily and cooked slowly in fat until tender enough to be easily shredded) was tasty and went well with the toast, which was fresh and crispy. i mean, its your quintessential authentic french cuisine recipe executed well — the flavors are great and tasty, but they’re a little tried and tested and lack the innovation that gives it a certain oomph. hmm.. i might be making a blasphemous statement here, but perhaps the dish could have that added pizzazz if some form of sweetness could have been incorporated into the dish? (say maybe changing the toast to a brioche?)

pan seared Onglet beef served with shallot confit, pommes frittes

so thanks to wikipedia, i found that Onglet, otherwise known as hanger steak, is a cut of beef steak prized for its flavor (but apparently not particularly tender). its kinda smallish compared to normal cuts of steak, and pardon my ignorance, but i didn’t feel that this cut was particularly flavorful or tasty. it was definitely good, and the shallot confit paired well, but it was a little too expected. pommes frittes were executed perfectly – crunchy, shoe-string style crispy and delicious. i’m not really impressed honestly.

soya cheesecake, jasmine tea sorbet and green tea sauce

yay for creativity once again! french desserts rarely disappoint (as compared to italian ones) and this was no exception. this dessert won my mom’s approval for being both utterly delicious and yet obviously healthy. the winner was the jasmine tea sorbet which was light, with faint whiffs of jasmine tea and very refreshing. the soya cheesecake was very light but still held its own because the the jasmine tea sorbet and the green tea sauce were similarly light on the palette and overall the dessert was refreshing, light and yet very yummy.

so.. all in all? if you’re searching for typical, authentic french fare, then au petit salut is your place. you get delicious french cuisine at a cheap price (if you choose set lunches) that is of an unparalleled standard. however, innovation and exciting new flavors is what this place seems to lack, except perhaps on the dessert front. perhaps its only the case for set lunches, im not too sure, but i would rather head to st pierre for a set lunch because it has really unique flavors served even during set lunches. and yeah, they serve a whole range of petit fours and amuse bouche, whereas au petit salut only gave fresh bread (which is nice also lah). 7.75/10

au petit salut | 40C Harding Road, Tanglin Village (Dempsey Road) | french, fine dining, set lunches, desserts               

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give us our daily bread – (from leftmost, clockwise, chausson aux pomme (apple pie) $3.46, ekmek orange  (honey dough with dried orange peel) $3.18, croissant praline (hazlenut and praline cream) $3.08, pain au figure (bread with figs) $3.18

shall we indulge?

i love french breads and pastries, what with the gentle aroma wafting into your nose and the creative and delicious confections that are displayed for all to drool upon.

my friend told me to go try maison kayser at scotts square (this new shopping center next to tangs) which also has eateries such as delicious and wild honey. its essentially a parisien bakery that went to japan, combined the japanese efficiency and sensibilities before landing in singapore. this bakery/cafe is located at the basement of scotts square, essentially not having much of a store front but just a ringed-in open space with sensible chairs and tables (read: not much decor to speak of) and the brightly lit counter displaying delicious looking bread.

but the decor isn’t what people come for – its more for the bread eh? and boy.. it’s really pretty good. i recommend the chausson aux pomme because of the crust which is buttery (yet not jelak or oily), light, crispy and multi-layered such that the sensation of biting into the crust is a really pleasant one. ditto with the croissant praline, that has this delicious buttery crust that makes it so good, and so authentically french. this is legit baking man.  but yeah, this needs to be eaten freshly made to best feel the effect, because the crispness sadly (and naturally) decreases as time passes.

the breads do not pale in comparison as well – being crispy on the outside but chewy and soft on the inside. the special ingredients make for an interesting taste and i liked the combination of honey dough and orange peel of the ekmek orange, giving the bread a slightly sweet, pleasant taste.

all in all, a decent place to stop by for a chat and some pastries. yummy. 8.0/10

maison kayser | 6 scotts road #b1-09, scotts square, s228209 | bakery, pastries, cafe

atas much?

yay! back to food blogging!

ya know.. it’s a bit of a chore at times to be honest.. taking picture of food in dimly lit conditions, trying your best to get that perfect, non-shaky shot, then post-processing images, trying to salvage the blemishes introduced due to taking photos at iso-400 (yeah my cam kinda sucks.. sponsor me please, canon?) and then having to write much about food whatsoever.

yet, some restaurants are simply meant to be reviewed — to me the motivation comes from eating food so inspiring, whimsically creative, complete and every dish a literal work of art both visually and taste-wise. and yes, jaan is one of them. but don’t expect this to come cheap.

let’s talk ambience. jaan is situated at the 70th floor of swissotel hotel, meaning it commands a really spectacular view of the city-hall-marina bay area that is really magickal and the sky dims and night approaches and you get to see all the beautifully lit buildings twinkling and being reflected by the esplanade bay waters. to be honest, this one of the things that every singaporean ought to feel somewhat proud of.. we have such a beautiful skyline and harborfront nowadays..

ok the interior of jaan is somewhat disappointing to be honest, because it looks like some plain ole’ dining hall with non-descript, sparse furnishings and deco. the statement piece i suppose are the interesting glass ceiling lights but to me they look kinda ugly, almost like some twisted scrap metal that was being suspended from the ceiling. hmm.

but who cares about decor when we come here for the food? let’s start the show.. we ordered the 5 course degustation menu for $148 (without wine and without the cheese supplement of $35).. seriously this place doesn’t come cheap, but good food is what you are paying for. the chef has generously littered the degustation menu with many free servings of pre-appetizers and pre-desserts as you can see from the picture at the top. they are intricate, really yummy stuff that was described kinda quickly and in that foreign accent-style that most european waiters adopt.. so errm.. i couldn’t really catch it. but its nice la.

ossiblue prawn ceviche – lime marinade, oscietra cream, pear and radish (along with rice cracker)

first course out of the gate and i’m really genuinely impressed. the prawns are tantalizing, but what is truly impressive is the thought that has gone into determining the combination of ingredients that goes on the plate and creates this harmonious and expertly balanced dish – the limey sourness and sliminess of the prawns counterbalances perfectly both the creamy savoriness of the oscietra cream and the crunchy texture of the pear strips and rice cracker. the pear and radish also lent that vegetal note to the dish, really creating a smorgasbord of flavors that complemented each other perfectly. i craved for more.

55′ smoked organic egg – with Jerusalem artichoke, chanterelles, iberico de bellota and porcini crumb 

OMG. this was like taking a humble soft boiled egg and elevating it into taste heaven what with the perfect pairing of ingredients at the side and with perfect execution. our waiter kindly informed us that the egg had been smoked at 62 degrees for 55 minutes, hence the name. whatever the rationale, the egg was perfectly done and smelled and tasted amazing. i especially loved the crunchy savoriness of the dried chanterelles (a type of mushroom), the iberico ham strips and the procini crumbs. omg.. yet another perfect blend of ingredients. this was really the highlight of the meal.

trondheim bay hand dived scallop (rosemary smoked), with reinette apple cider, boudin noir and burnet

hmm.. the first dish i didn’t particular complete embrace. the scallop (which the waiter informed us came directly from trondheim bay, norway) smelled heavenly, having been infused with the smoky flavor from the rosemary and was once again divinely executed to be just the right amount of chewiness. what turned me slightly off was the use of boudin nour dollops (essentially sauce made from pig blood) because the blood taste was overwhelming and just not appealing to me. but i suppose i can appreciate the thought behind mixing these flavors – giving a meaty savoriness to a fresh seafood, and perhaps boudin noir fans would be ecstatic over the dish.

saddle of salt marsh welsh lamb – done three ways, with bitter caramel, violet artichokes, quinoa, preserved lemon and fresh anchovies

something i found kinda amusing was the fact that despite having the menu right next to us, we still couldn’t exactly decipher how each ingredient was incorporated into the dish. this is cheem stuff man. the waiter explained that the lamb was done 3 ways for 3 different portions (which i sadly cannot remember the names of). i absolutely loved the long strip of meat though, because it had the most delicious crispy layer of skin coupled with a juicy slab of meat below. very well executed once again. the other ingredients (quiona, artichoke sauce and preserved lemon droplets) formed the sauce to couple with the three different cuts, each presenting a delicious and different combination of flavors that was really appealing.

“victoria” pineapple – roasted spiced pineapple, coconut blanc-manger and exotic sorbet

took some points off the service because we asked what “exotic sorbet” meant but the waiter didn’t know, said he would check back and didn’t return with an answer. hmmz. but anyways we deduced it to be having a decent proportion of passionfruit. this dessert was really interesting, creative and satisfied the sweeth tooth on multiple levels – the blanc-manger at the base satisfied the sweet-vanilla creaminess, the caramelized spiced pineapple satisfied the sugary, chunky fruit craving and the sorbet satisfied the refreshing, cooling icy craving. its like the ultimate dessert! haha.

complimentary petit fours

hmm all in all, a really satisfying meal that was nothing short of creative, perfectly executed and magnificently balanced. this restaurant deserves its hype as no. 39th ranking in s.pellegrino world’s 50-best restaurants list 2010. chef julien royer is a great addition to the restaurant and is poised to take the restaurant to greater heights i say. good stuff, worth it for that once-in-a-lifetime experience, that date, that anniversary or something. watch the cost though [spent $200 per pax in the end, and that was with the 25% discount for Amex thats gonna expire after january] . =) 8.75/10

jaan |  2 Stamford Road, 70F Swissotel The Stamford | fine dining, french, expensive

food art

mind you, i love it when food is so meticulously plated for one to be truly inspired and feel as though each dish is a work of art in itself. the combination of colors from the ingredients and placement.. it’s partly art and partly science, and when everything works together, you get quite the euphoric experience.

so i managed to snag a reservation at le saint julien during restaurant week on a coveted saturday lunch timing thanks to my dear online friend and fellow food blogger, Mr Wise Guy. and boy.. i really do have to thank him because it was really a splendid meal, but not exactly one i would venture to pay over 100 dollars per pax in a normal situation. ok let’s talk locale – le saint julien is sited inside the fullerton water boat house, a singular structure that is oddly situated at the intersection between esplanade bridge and the road leading to the padang, kinda ‘loosely’ connected to fullerton hotel. ambience wise, there is similarly an understated elegance within the restaurant that is very appealing. Wise Guy commented that the view was kinda sucky, which I agreed, considering that the restaurant had a ground-level view of the esplanade bay which was sadly obstructed by the esplanade bridge itself. this means, 40% of your visual field is the underbelly of a bridge. not very appealing imo. but ahh well, lack of view aside, the restaurant did exude a certain classy elegance.

i love the fact they sat us at a table with sufficient light that was angled in such a way that lit up the food perfectly for photography, so you’re gonna see more shots, because I was merrily snapping to the point where the manager lightly approached us and asked pleasantly whether we were professional photographers, to which we commented we were food bloggers. haha, i suspect this inspired more conversation and a better description of the food we were served, which was all the better i suppose. =) ok let’s get to the food.

appetizer: duo foie gras et poulet, terrine of foie gras and chicken with medley and mushroom and cress

LOVED THIS. this reminded me of the appetizer served in my favorite restaurant of all time, Enoteca Pitti Gola e Cantina. the dish was paired with brioche that was lightly toasted, and the combination of the sweetness from the brioche/caramelized onions along with the savory taste of the foie gras and the light crisp freshness of the mushrooms and cress worked perfectly and created a wholesome experience with every bite. i gravitated particularly to the sweet-savory pairing of the foie gras and the caramelized onions. a perfect starter. and can i comment on just how beautiful the plating is done? how can you not want to take a picture of such a dish?

appetizer #2: foie gras – pan seared duck liver with caramelized apple, glazed sauce of balsamic and honey

once again, amazing plating there. i noted that the apples came in both the caramelized darker brown chunky version and the non-caramelized shredded version, which was interesting and provided additional nuance, texture and sweetness to the dish. yet again, quite the classic pairing of sweet (the caramelized apples) with the savory (the foie gras). my initial impression upon a first sampling was that the dish was good, well.. at least, technically proficient, but not outstanding. Wise Guy likewise described it as competent. lol… that being said, i think the taste started to grow on you and the final few morsels were gulped down by me greedily. the duck foie gras did not feel any bit jelak or fatty and was tempered down with the apples and vegetables. good stuff.

mains: croustillant de canard – crispy rice with duck confit and truffle oil emulsion, with smoked duck breast sauce

delicious stuff once again – and the inclusion of the crispy rice was a nice fusion take of the traditional duck confit with dauphine potatoes. i thought the sauces in the dish blended perfectly well with the duck, whilst the vegetables added a slightly minty flavor to the dish. when taken all together, each bite was really quite the gastronomic experience. this being said, the duck confit was perhaps slightly tough and somewhat didn’t have enough flavor in itself inherently, though this was mitigated by the amazing sauce.

     dessert: clafoutis – french traditional strawberry custard cake with “signature” caramelized chocolate mousse

hmm, not a fan of the custard cake, which was kind of overwhelmed by the chocolate mousse and the strawberries (gotten from australia instead of america, so the flavors are more concentrated within the small berries, as explained by the manager). this dessert was somehow not meant to be mixed together to be eaten, as each component (less the custard cake) tasted really good by itself, especially the chocolate mousse. think the way to eat this is to sample a little of the chocolate mousse, then eat a strawberry with the lingering chocolatey taste in your mouth and eat a little of the custard etc.. haha, overall, not particularly impressive beisdes the chocolate mousse. sigh.. kinda wished that with such a superb appetizer and decent mains, the dessert would be out-of-this-world. but i suppose, lol.. too high expectations there.

overall, an excellent place for good contemporary french food in posh settings. this is the kind of place to bring your date to impress them sufficiently and then sojourn to like overeasy or lantern for some drinks. come here at least once. =) 8.0/10

le saint julien | 3 Fullerton Road, #02-02 The Fullerton Waterboat House| fine dining, french, contemporary

friday night reverie.

so after my disappointment in not being able to secure a table at absinthe during restaurant week, i decided to just screw it and head down there with my folks on our own account and try to food. apparently there was this OUB chef’s creation promotion with a 4 course dinner going for $64 per pax. it’s not exactly cheap, but its within an acceptable range depending on the food i suppose.

so absinthe is located along a kinda shabby portion of chinatown, along bukit pasoh street that has seen an injection of new life with swankified restaurants and refurbished hotels taking over old shophouses and sharing the same road with authentic chinese clan houses. this mix of traditional and noveau riche style is really quite something, and its obviously successful, judging by the many beautiful sleek cars parked by the roadside and just the general crowd within the restuarants. absinthe is right at the corner, and with an unpretentious storefront, it is easy to miss it.

once you step into the restaurant, you feel like you have walked into say a mid/high end east village french restaurant – the furnishings aren’t opulent nor as polished as that of say St Pierre, but there is a definite sense of luxury and french flair within. likewise, the service of the maitre de is topnotch, though my sis did complain that she couldn’t understand his french accent. lol. interestingly, patrons are given a glimpse into the bustling of the restaurant via a long horizontal window that well.. kinda diminished the illusion of transporting you away from singapore.. ah well.. i spied chef francois mermilliod bustling round the kitchen and he actually came out to serve patrons and recommend dishes in a warm, friendly and humble manner. i think that was really a cool gesture for someone of his stature. good job. ok let’s get to the food:-

our appetizer was this crab cake within a toasted brioche-like pastry paired with some garden greens, thai sweet sauce and melon candy at the side (see picture above). the crab cake was every bit the refreshing and went really well with the sweet sauce and garden greens to create this refreshing feel on your palette. i noticed that the pastry that contained the ingredients was shaped like that of a crab, which added a creative and playful nuance to the dish. however, methinks it was slightly difficult to break apart and made for not a very easy eating experience with me trying to taste all the flavors together. but overall, besides that mild inconvenience, the dish was fresh, tasty and a perfect way to start of the meal.

french onion soup with toasted bread covered with cheese

lol. i shall not pretend i know the cheese, but the combination of dipping the bread into the warm soup to let the cheese just slightly melt and soak up the onion soup was a stroke of genius and tasted really good. wished there was more such bread =(. found the soup otherwise nicely balanced but hmm.. somewhat not exactly out of this world. methinks soups always taste better was slurped down on a cold winter’s day.

beef cheeks with mashed potato and long beans.

the highlight of the night. the beef cheeks were absolutely tender and melted in your mouth upon eating. but what really made it work was the mixing of the beef cheek with pommery mustard (you must get this mustard when they ask which mustard you want)  and a dollop of mashed potato. the mix of flavors is really heavenly, with the meatiness blending with the smooth mashed potato and the tangy, unique flavor of the pommery mustard. i googled pommery mustard and found a website hailing it to be truly a historic gem in the culinary world and otherwise known as moutarde de meaux. someone who is making a trip to france, please buy it for me! i savored this dish for a full half an hour or so, having every portion slowly invigorate my tastebuds. =) we paired this with a 2010 canet vallete antonyme saint-chinian, a red wine that reminded me somewhat of beaujolais as it was fruity, smooth and easy to drink.

caramelized apples paired with hazlenut pastry, vanilla creme and apple creme

to be honest, i didn’t get the name of the dessert when the maitre de tried to explain it to me. he explained it was a traditional french dessert that resembled that of the mille feuille but with the creme substituted with apple-creme. hmm, judging by what actually came out, i guess i heard wrongly as well. lol. what i got was a caramelized apple slices paired with vanilla creme (bottom tier) and apple creme (top tier) separated by a hard hazlenut (i think) pastry. its.. interesting, but i think it lacked the oomph i expect with french desserts. the creme layers were really good but i didn’t get the combination of the flavors. hmm it was a pity.

overall, a nice french restaurant with a few culinary tricks up its proverbial sleeves. we noted that the restaurant was completely packed on a friday night with everyone pretty much dressed to the nines which must say something about its appeal. i found the ambience to be pleasant, service was really good, and the food to be overall pretty good. of course.. with what we paid.. hmm, i conclude that this place will work wonders if you are willing to splurge on it, because the inherent creativity of the chef can be found within the dishes. so head there if you have the cash and want some innovative culinary journey eh? 7.5/10

and sadly i didn’t ask whether they served absinthe. though i spied a few bottles on display. hee

absinthe | 48 Bukit Pasoh Road | french, fine dining, creative, contemporary

cornucopia.

finding fellow salad eaters is a difficult task here in singapore, so it’s a great relieve to find people who wouldn’t stare at you if you order a salad as your main and instantly assume you are on some insane diet or some religious mumbo-jumbo. no, i actually find salads nice and a refreshing choice if prepared well. no kidding. =)

anyways, finally got down to going to antoinette @ mandarin gallery after many misguided aborted attempts during the weekends. this place is really getting alot of buzz and probably raking it rich, considering a third outlet is being set up near ann siang (the first being at penhas road). there’s something posh, french and atas about the place that i think is irresistible to most girls and the find also matches the ambience – the menu serves all-day french breakfasts with crepes, waffles, pain perdu (french toast) as well as other french classics ranging from salads to beef bourguinon. and then of course the highlights which are the desserts. the fact that i really liked my salad dish but was still salivating at the dishes being served at other tables is testament of how well the menu has been crafted to attract crowds. =)

i think what creates the ambience is mainly the dim lighting, the posh victorian style cushioned furniture, the beautifully monogrammed napkins and menus all contribute to creating this fantastical theme of being in Versailles and living the life of Marie Antoinette or her many courtiers. mind you, this is a very good singaporean interpretation of french olden luxury. whoever did the branding for this place really did their work. ok lah, let’s get to the food.

salad lyonnaise, $14.00

I got the salad lyonnaise, which had a garden greens, tomatoes, buttered croutons, pieces of bacon strips and topped with a runny egg. felt that the combination was really pretty good, with fresh ingredients which is essential for a good salad. this salad is like a semi-guilty salad — u avoid alot of carbs (just the croutons), you get some sinful food in the form of the bacon, but it is offset with the greens and a general sense of lightness. its a good salad, perhaps a tad expensive. ahh well, paying for ambience again -_- but to be honest, i haven’t found many places that really pay attention to their salad selections and put in efforts to create delicious, creative novel salads (i mean, besides like mesclun and salad shop but they are irritating located in the CBD area and closed on weekends. like hello? it’s not only bankers and stuff that eats grass you know!?)

exotique, $8.00

the main highlight of course was tasting the desserts, since my friend and I were both very into desserts. we got the exotique and some meringue +creme + passionfruit compote confection (can’t remember the name) to share. the exotique was some mango layer topped onto a mousse and sponge cake with gula melaka fillings. the mango was somewhat slightly too tart initially, and it was only till u managed to get to the center to taste the gula melaka and balance out the tartness did the dessert kind of work. my friend commented that this dessert grew on her, lol.. guess that’s another way to interpret it. it’s interesting, but probably not good enough to warrant gushing over it or waiting for a second try.

meringue/creme chantilly/passionfruit compote confection. $8.00

 again a really interesting dessert, not some traditional cakey stuff. this dessert essentially was two meringue bits that enclosed the vanilla creme chantilly and passionfruit compote (which was spread kinda unevenly). the meringue tasted pretty light, but not light enough as compared to french patisseries (lol) but combined well with the vanille creme chantilly. i particularly like the creme chantilly (but errm i guess its pretty easy to make) but found it difficult to taste or interpret the passionfruit compote within the dessert. another ok dessert.

overall? to be honest, this restaurant works because it fills a niche that surprisingly hasn’t been fully developed in singapore excepts perhaps by canele — the posh-feeling, french-inspired patisserie + mid-range restaurant that attracts girls like bees to honey. the cakes are interesting but not as fantastic as they are hyped to be (wished we could have tried the antoinette but it was sold out by then). the salads are nice, but well, its a little overpriced and i guess i can’t comment on the level of cooking because i didn’t get any complex dishes. nevertheless i want to come back and try them. it seems weird but i cant really think of another place that serves similar food, except perhaps hediard, but even then, hediard only mainly serves croque monsieurs.

another thing that is nice is that despite the seemingly posh environment, you still can order ice water/hot water for free, no one scoffs at you if u are just ordering desserts and service is generally acceptable. its not like those irritating places that charge u money for fricking water. -_- overall, expect to see more antoinettes and antoinette-copy cats around town soon. 7.5/10

antoinette333A Orchard Road, #02-33/34 Mandarin Gallery | desserts, french

unabashedly french.

last monday is what people would call a bridge workday — an unfortunate work day stuck between the weekend and a public holiday. so the common notion would be to take leave and enjoy a mega long weekend. so take the leave i did, and i used the off day to bring my parents for an executive lunch at st pierre, since dinner options would have been scarily exorbitant.

st pierre is tucked away along magazine road, in a quite little corner where you don’t just chance upon the place. you have to know the establishment exists and actually go hunt for it. but i guess with celebrity chef emmanuel stroobant at the helm, its worthwhile to hunt for the restaurant. mind you, i hunted for this restaurant because i had gone for the more pared down, cheaper version of chef stroobant’s creations at picotin and thoroughly enjoyed myself and hence i wanted more stroobant. lol.

so the interior exudes a sense of classy, understated luxuriance. there’s an air of sophistication and quiet atas-ness that can intimidate casual eaters initially, but you are put to ease immediately by the maitre d’. speaking of service, i must really commend the maitre d’ for a class act, being able to put everyone at ease and remove any sense of pretentiousness that one would assume would be attached to a classy restaurant like this. you see, my dad was kinda not familiar with the dishes and their names but the maitre d’ instantly saw my dad’s troubles and deftly handled the situation, warmly explaining what the lunch menu entailed and introducing us the best picks from the menu without a sense of haughtiness and without losing any bit of professionalism. that’s singapore service at its best imo. ok lets get to the food.

the first amuse bouche was a smoked salmon concoction (see picture above). this was a nice refreshing start, the salt grains blending well with the salmon and tomatoes. i couldn’t catch the full breakdown of the ingredients sadly, because after the maitre d’ left, the ensuing waitress wasn’t too good at explaining the dishes in detail. =(

we were next served our bread and i must say, one thing i absolutely adore about french food is how the weave in design and aesthetic within food, be it in the presentation, the colors involved with the food and even how food is described in french restaurants. every dish feels like a visual art experience both literally and metaphorically. i mean, where else would you see bread being presented in such an interesting manner? and it was delicious bread i must say — we had milk bread on the top panel along with sourdough and a yoghurt bread at the side paired with salted butter and hazlenut butter (which my dad loved). each piece was warm and smelt heavenly, and the dabs of butter lent a complementary savory touch to the bread. yummy.

amuse bouche #2 – lobster carpaccio with zucchini. again, i’m kinda annoyed because i couldn’t fully understand what the ingredients were thanks to the mumbling of the waitress. the lobster carpaccio was fresh, refreshing and delicious, the salty seafood flavor blending well with the zucchini.

appetizer – classic foie gras – pan fried foie gras with caramelized green apples and old port sauce. HEAVENLY. the best foie gras i had tasted in a long long while that truly melted in your mouth thanks to the warm sauce poured atop of the foie gras (that i assume melted the foie gras slightly). really complex, intense flavors. between this rendition of the foie gras and kinki’s foie gras and salmon sushi, i’m seriously starting to become a fanboy of foie gras.

another classic from the restaurant, the cabillaud au miso, miso braised black cod with bacon pancakes, pan fried endives and parmesan emlusion. when i saw this in the menu i instantly gravitated toward the bacon pancakes which sounded so good. when this was served, i was awed by the size of the black cod – almost completely justifying the price of the entire meal instantly. the cod was perfectly done, flakes falling off cleanly and tasting fresh and wonderful. but what really sold the dish to me was the combination of the bacon and the cod – wow, i wouldn’t have thought of such a combination but this really worked. somehow the salty flavor of the bacon juxtaposed perfectly with the nuanced, more balanced flavor of the cod, and enhanced the flavor of the cod, giving additional complexity to the dish. amazing stuff.

ahh desserts – chocolate cake, grandma stroobant’s flourless belgian chocolate with raspberries and orange zest confit. ya’know, i get immensely jealous when i see grandman’s blah blah.. on menus because i wish my family had a long heritage of amazing chefs or something with many treasured recipes to pass down. lol.. wouldn’t it be amazing to head home and smell this baking in the oven? the chocolate was just the right amount of richness and complexity. yum.

petit fours (french translation of “small oven”, usually small confections served at the end of a meal) – for this we had passionfruit macaroon, some sort of meringue and.. sigh.. i can’t really remember because the passionfruit macaroon dominated my taste buds memory. haha.. the macaroon was delicious and light, not as creamy as Canele’s renditions or as intense a flavor as La Duree, but somehow it felt just right in terms of the lightness and how it tied the entire meal together.

all in all, a beautiful gastronomic experience. i think only in french food would you call a meal beautiful, and this is one such case. the damage to your wallet? well, for set lunches, dessert+main course goes at 32, appetizer+main course goes at 42, with a supplement of 8 if you order the foie gras (do it), and the entire trio goes at 52. methinks its really pretty value for money considering the food you eat. its not those stingy bite sized portions, but sumptuous and yet nuanced dishes that excite your palete and bring you on a gastronomical roller-coaster ride. come here once for the real deal. 8.75/10

 st pierre the restaurant3 Magazine Road Singapore 059570 | french, fine dining, desserts, contemporary