Odette Restaurant is located in the National Gallery in Singapore and we are here to celebrate my beautiful wife’s birthday. Odette is owned by Chef Julien Royer and the restaurant is named after his grandmother.
The restaurant reflects a refined elegance with beautiful columns and the lavish use of marble throughout. The soft colour palette of timber, pink terrazzo marble, with nickel and brass with white linen tablecloths and gives the restaurant an understated elegance. The table setting is quite lovely with circular tables and soft cushion seats and banquettes. There is a marble disc which has a little note beneath highlighting the restaurants ethos.
A central element to the dining room is the glass-encased kitchen, where we can witness the chefs at work.
Grignotages & Champagne
We are brought snacks which included a Gruyere gougère, Onion tartelette and Saba taco. We paired these with a nice aperitif of the Larmandier-Bernier Blanc de Blanc Champagne; 100% Chardonnay from Grand Cru and Premier Cru vineyards. It was a beautiful champagne with stony fruit, herb, stoniness in the finish. It’s rich and beautiful to nurse on the palate. The Grignotages and champagne were a splendid way to start the proceedings.
A selection of bread; truffle brioche, mini baguette & rye sourdough with garlic & parsley butter and olive oil are brought out. Freshly baked these are real treats. I opted to taste the Truffle Brioche and it was flaky, almost croissant-esque with the earthy notes of truffle, a hint of sweetness and salinity to match.
We opt against the wine pairing (which is heavily weighted towards white wines) and select two bottles to pair with the dishes for the evening.
Domaine Chenu et Filles, Savigny-Les-Beaune 1er Cru Aux (2019), Burgundy, France
This was a decent wine which stood out on their list. A family operated vineyard, it was first purchased by Louis Chenu in 1914 and is now operated by his great-grandson and the wife and daughters. A good Pinot with notes of cherries on the nose which follows through on the palate with some lovely, sweet spice notes in the finish. An ease to drink and good structure, to hold it together. It’s perfect for the lighter dishes including the lobster which adorn the earlier courses of the menu.
Château du Tertre, Margaux, Grand Cru Classé (2008), Bordeaux, France
Chateau du Tertre is a thousand-year-old estate in Margaux, Bordeaux. It achieved acclaim in 1885 when it was classed as Grand Cru Classé. This vintage is interesting there are black fruit notes, a touch of olives and waft salinity which tingle the nasal senses to begin. On the palate its age has blunted the fruit but it still shows strength worthy of note; mulberry and blackberry flourish with pepper, clove and sweet spice while the soft tannins hold it together. The finish is rather unique with notes of tobacco and earthy notes which linger with ease.
Mushroom & Truffle (Bread and Consommé)
Before the first course we are brought a unique dish of mushroom tea (poured at the table) and bread with truffle shavings. The dish is defined by the pure unami through and through, the beautiful earthiness of the truffle, the delicate crème of the potato cheese foam, with the nuttiness of the walnuts and mushrooms intertwine in the consommé. The fresh truffle shavings infuse with the waft of the crunchy bread which offers a beautiful textural contrast to the smooth slurpy consommé. It’s a delight and we remind ourselves the official menu has not yet started.
Marukyo Uni: Red Sicilian Prawn, Mussel Cloud, Kristal Caviar
The uni (sea urchin) is removed from its shell and placed on a warm brioche while a tarte of Red Sicilian Prawn is placed in base of the sea urchin with a mussel crème on top and caviar scooped and placed on top at the table. A nice bit of theatrics which is often missing in fine dining today. The smooth delicate uni flavours contrast nicely with the crunch and sweetness of the brioche. The salinity of the caviar greets one on first taste melded with the lightness of the mussel cloud which balances the strength of the caviar. The red Sicilian prawns which are ceviche in the base are delicate, succulent and full of the natural flavours of the prawn. A dish which ticks all the aesthetics, taste and textures boxes.
Normandy Brown Crab, Avocado, Nash Pear, Coriander
The flaky crab sits beneath a green layer of coriander jelly. The mix is quite eclectic, with smooth buttery avocado mousse, tart sweet and crunch of the nashi pear cube and the bite of the coriander sorbet. It’s a refreshingly smooth dish rounded out with some salty ebiko which delivers a “cherry on top”.
Scottish Blue Lobster, Kyoto Miso, Sake Beurre Blanc
This dish is a star, the smoothness of the miso, the richness of the beurre blanc, soft succulent lobster with its natural salinity. This is dish that showcases the flair, charm and delightful presence of the lobster while other mild ingredients surround the lobster to ensure the lobster is shown in all its glory. The Pinot just goes swimmingly well with this dish – the perfect partner.
Bouillon Paysan, Foie Gras, Abalone, Shitake
The dish is translated as “peasant soup” but is anything but… unless you’re a peasant that’s just won the lottery. There is a delicate firm abalone, the soft shitake and the foie gras which dissolves in your mouth with a rich gamey flourish. The dish is rich but has a good balance of flavours and is harmonious by the bouillon paysan which brings it all together with its own mildness.
BBQ Kinki, Stuffed Morrel, Petit’s pois a la francaise, Vin Jaun
The dish is revolves heavily around the kinki and the vin Jaune. The smoky of the Kinki (especially the skin) has a distinct flavour which delivers on the palate. The vin jaune (yellow wine sauce) is complex and almost draws one to lick the plate at the end. There’s citrus, nuttiness, spice and light liquorice which dazzles and lingers and dances well with the kinki. There are the lovely earth tones of the stuffed morrel and the delicateness of the Petits pois a la francaise but for me the Vin Jaune is so well done it steals the show.
Kampot Pepper Crusted Pigeon, Beetroot, Black Garlic, Confit Leg
The Pigeon is brought out pre-presentation for viewing. The breast is served rare (sous vide and grilled), the heart & liver are parfait’d and turned into mini beetroot encased dumplings and the leg is confit’d, with a wrapped note tied to it akin to a carrier pigeon – though it looks like this bird didn’t get the note to its destination. An oval of black garlic coulis forms a “river wall” for the jus which is poured at the table. The fragrant kampot peppers from stand-up to the strong gamey flavour of the pigeon. The jus gives additional strength to the dish. The sweetness of the beetroot contrasts nicely with the salinity of the dish. A beautiful dish.
An interlude / palate cleanser is brought out ahead of dessert. The bitterness of matcha and the acidity of the sorrel are refreshing on the palate and the perfect little cleanser.
Floating Island, Blanc-Manger, Passionfruit, Kaffir Lime
The dish is really the aesthetics and textures; there’s the “taste like a cloud” floating island which dissolves on the tongue, the crisp blanc-manager disc adds crunch, and the chilled sorbet sends a little tingle down the spine. The flavours of lime and passionfruit is all about the tropics and this is a rather petit dessert to finish.
A half slice of a Tanariva chocolate tart and salted caramel ice cream is brought out to celebrate my wife’s birthday. Generally, for birthdays a cupcake or “ordered dessert” is brought out with a candle, but here a specific culinary creation is devised for the occasion. A melted hazelnut mousse is poured onto the tart at the table. It is a dish of richness, chocolate, salinity, smokiness and nutty textures which create a little dreamy sweetness on the palate.
Let me walk you through these from left to right (above):
There were the lychee ice lollies (lychee iced ball which was cocooned in a frozen mochi shell). A tropical delight. A selection of tropical fruit; just cut with nothing added. It was refreshing and did atone for a night of indulgence. Mini Cannelé au Bordeaux. These are a classic; the wonderful fragrance and flavour of vanilla with a burnt caramelised crust with a soft almost gooey centre. I say bravo to this pastry. Chocolate tart topped with shaved tonka bean. The tonka adds a unique dimension, but the reality is the tart is all about the chocolate.
As we departed, we were given a gift for us to savour the next day. Akin to the muesli from Eleven Madison Park, this was the Odette blueberry jam was based on Chef’s family recipe. To be enjoyed on toast the next morning.
I review many restaurants, but I do not publish a score just a narrative with only one exception, if a restaurant has received the perfect 10 / 10 score. As I leave the restaurant I reflect on the experience of the night. I review my notes and recollections of the evening to see if there was a slight flaw or something that could be improved on.
The produce was without flaw or peer; crab, lobster, pigeon, foie gras, caviar, red prawn, sea urchin and truffles. I don’t think I could recall a recent dinner with line-up. The staff were friendly, engaging and attentive even when though the night was busy.
The dishes were created with an artistic flair, aesthetically pleasing, contrasts of texture, temperature and flavour. I didn’t get to experience the sommelier knowledge of the wine given I didn’t choose matched wines but selected them from my own without assistance. The pandemic has been hard on all culinary institutions, I have seen some of favourites close, chef’s seek new careers in different industries, restaurants move to full takeaway forever; a displacement of a magnitude never seen before. Many have proclaimed the death of fine dining and I have mourned it myself. But no longer… for today has shown me it is well and truly alive if one seeks it.
So here it is Odette Restaurant– a well-deserved 10/10