Restaurant review: Odette, Singapore (3 Michelin stars, 1 on Asia's 50 Best)
A perfectly executed lunch at Julien Royer's Singapore restaurant
When I lived in Singapore, I was in my early twenties and just getting my career going. As in, any extra money I had would be spent on travel and the occasional luxury good. Eating at Michelin-starred restaurants just wasn’t something I craved, especially when there were so many insanely delicious cheap eat options. I don’t think I’ll ever get over my constant craving for Zion Road’s char kway teow (S$4) or Punggol Nasi Lemak ($7).
Since moving to Hong Kong in my mid-twenties, my pay check and palate have expanded. The latter is largely thanks to the amazing people at Foodie who took me on as a contributor and send me out for tastings. Before I mostly ate for pure pleasure, whereas now I’m quite a curious student and love understanding the stories, ingredients, concepts behind the food...in addition to eating for pleasure.
So on a recent trip to Singapore, I booked a lunch at two Michelin-starred Odette; they received their two stars after being open for only nine months. I chose Odette for two main reasons: one, because I’d heard what Chef Julian Royer was cooking up was truly fresh and interesting, and two, because it’s housed in my favourite National Gallery of Singapore. (Note: I booked a month or so in advance and they were already short on tables. I actually rearranged my flight so I could make this lunch.)
Chef Royer and his two Senior Sous-Chefs all came from one Michelin-starred French restaurant Jaan. The dining group backing Odette is Lo & Behold, who are behind some of my favourite mid-priced spots including The White Rabbit, Overeasy, and Tanjong Beach Club. As for the name, Chef Royer named it after his grandmother who taught him that great food can come from simple, pure ingredients.
For detail-oriented, visual people, Odette is blush-tinted, neutral heaven designed by Singaporean artist Dawn Ng. I loved the artfully broken marble floors, the floating gold hearts, the large plants, and long curtains. We were told the plates by Peter Stockholm and cutlery by Atelier Perceval were designed for the pleasure of eating rather than for aesthetics alone. We’d agree with that, though they sure are pretty.
Food (31 August 2017)
We opted for the 6-course lunch menu (S$148). A part of me was worried that it wouldn’t be enough food, but I worried for nothing. In addition to the main menu, we had amuse bouche, unlimited bread, and petit fois. We rolled out of the restaurant, having overeaten because we couldn’t say no to the delicious things on the table.
Bread Basket: The basket contained black truffle brioche, provencal focaccia and slices of sourdough. These were served with unpasteurized salted butter and pork lard with pancetta. Fat and carbs = heaven.
Rosemary Smoked Organic Egg: This is an Odette signature, and for good reason. The presentation is spectacular, and the taste is on point. The soft sous vide egg goes perfectly with the smoked potato puree, salty chorizo Iberico, and meuniere sauce. While eating, the smell of burnt rosemary wafting from underneath the bowl makes this a treat for all the senses.
Hokkaido Scallop Tartare: My dining companion was on the fence about this dish, but I loved it for being an unusual combination that worked. Kyoho grapes, compressed nashi pear, and sliced raw scallops were beautifully presented...on their own. There was very little seasoning; rather the individual flavours created a combination my taste buds had never experienced before. And for a bit of sin, we were given a side of fried bread with brown butter roe sauce. Delicious.
Heirloom Beetroot Variation: This very cool dish showcased a variety of ways that beetroot can taste. Rather than just tasting earthy, it can be made to taste sour (pickled), muted, and spiced. It can also go with sweet cherry tomatoes, tangy pomegranate seeds, creamy cheese, and sharp horseradish. It’s an adult way of playing with food, trying out different combinations to see what goes.
Overall, this was the most tightly executed meal I’ve ever had. Service, presentation and atmosphere were flawless. They don’t rush you, so guests can immerse themselves in the Odette experience which only has 12 tables (and a private room that seats 6 to 8). The food was an amazing experience, and I loved the opportunity to try new, innovative and delicious flavour combinations. My only complaint is that there was a bit too much fruit in the early courses. I would have preferred to start the meal on less of a sweet note.
1 Saint Andrew's Road, #01-04, National Gallery, Singapore 178957, +65 6385 0498