Note: Twice Odette took home the double trophies for The Best Restaurant in Singapore and The Best Restaurant in Asia (2019 and 2020). In 2021, voted The Best Restaurant in Singapore.
Brave New World & Future
Since my visit back in February 2020, a new concept of à la carte French cuisine is underway in Q3 2021. Odette celebrated the 5th anniversary and introduction of new dishes that explore South East Asian ingredients (such as torch ginger flower in Promenade à Singapore). Beating the pandemic, enhanced hygiene & cleanliness installed in the restaurant (such as patented Cerafusion™and UV and PhotoPlasma technologies), and at least one per hour cleaning/disinfection on high touch surfaces. Pivoted business model with delivery/takeaway service via Odette At Home. Odette Experience
Odette received three Michelin stars in 2019 – the year I watched the local tv interviewed Chef and owner, Julien Royer (its first accolades of two stars was in 2016).
As per The Michelin Guide, ‘restaurants may receive zero to 3 stars for the quality of their food based on five criteria: quality of the ingredients used, mastery of flavor and cooking techniques, the personality of the chef in his cuisine, value for money and consistency between visits.’ Not on interior decor, table setting, or service quality.
I made up my mind to one day experience the culinary creations. And so the time came after roughly 2 months of prior booking. Taxi dropped me and partner on Coleman Street at the historic National Gallery building where the restaurant is located in Singapore.
Entered the restaurant after a little walk around the gallery, I didn’t expect soft and pale tone shades but it exuded a sense of grace, timelessness, and elegance.
Odette certainly not too formal as I suspected from a French establishment. The hanging decorations from the ceiling showed creativity representing the floating universe of shapes and forms – called Theory of Everything by local artist, Dawn Ng. It reminded me of handmade wrapping flower paper. But instead of flower, raw ingredients from Chef Julien’s kitchen being displayed.
We were seated just across the glass-enclosed kitchen at noon. The kitchen crew was eagerly awaiting orders, I could sense. The oldest linen-maker in France, Garnier Thiebaut dressed the round tables at Odette.
I read beautiful words on the round paper. A nice heartwarming opener. Chef Julien explained his story of the food journey and dedicated it to his grandmother, Odette.
Terre & Mer 6 Acts
The waiter reconfirmed on dietary requirements requested in advance of no alcohol, meat, and poultry. Between ‘Nature & Découverte’ and ‘Terre & Mer’ tasting menu, we chose the latter. Seafood lover yours truly but the plant-forward/vegetarian menu looked not bad at all. Then, swapped the signature Rosemary Smoked Organic Egg dish with supplementary Périgord black truffledish only because I haven’t had a proper taste of this darling ingredient before. An opportunity that couldn’t be passed.
The knowledgeable French waiter, Dan Zenou, who’s the Head Waiter served sparkling water installed in-house by Nordaq Fresh. Water that is straight from the tap, filtered, chilled, and sparkled on site. Therefore, environmentally friendly claimed to have pure and good effect on food taste.
Mushroom Tea Amuse Bouche
Note: an amuse-bouche is not ordered from a menu but is served free and according to the chef’s selection alone. Basically ‘to prepare the guest for next meal and to offer a glimpse of the chef’s style’ according to Wikipedia.
We had a selection of grignotages (snacks) before mushroom tea dish. The mushroom sabayon (beaten egg yolk custard-like) came in a cup. Then, the hot mushroom broth or tea was poured into it. Dipping brioche into the cup was comforting. One of my favourite dishes during the lunch affair.
Normandy Brown Crab
This fresh crab dish was the most standout dish and exquisite from a taste perspective. The Asian salad flavour and ingredients (hello wasabi oil) worked like magic – a bit of sweet and sour hint. I’ve enjoyed the flesh of brown crab hiding under light green jelly with freshness, and crunchiness of Nashi pear, and avocado.
Heirloom Beetroot Variation
Beautiful plate but not a dessert, I tell you. A celebration of earthy beetroots – salt-baked, fused well with slightly sour and very creamy artisan stracciatella (Italian cheese). I loved that the cheese prepared differently – one with horseradish, one with honey and one au naturel, which we paired the beetroot with cheese one by one to compare taste. The local blue butterfly pea flower as decoration – what not to like about this dish?
Périgord Black Truffle With Oita Eggs
The Senior Sous Chef, Yeo Zheng Xiong, placed the Périgord black truffles (preciously kept in a box) on our table. The king of truffles (Latin for tuber melanosporun) is harvested during winter from Southern of France. Thinly shaved displaying black flesh with white veins – they looked luxurious on the bed of Jerusalem artichoke puree, chanterelles, hazelnuts from Piedmont, and egg from Oita prefecture, Japan.
Truffles tasted earthy yet pleasant. Not very strong odour like the type I sniffed in Borough Market ages ago. Must be off-gassed after the journey from Europe, I reckoned. I may suffer from a ‘truffle coma’ as every bite was full of richness. The yolk was as bright as the sun – thanks to the carotene enriched eggs that chickens being fed with high nutrition food.
‘No break of black truffles! Truffles till the end of April. After that supply will come from Australia’, said Yeo Zheng Xiong.
Red Mullet ‘En Croute’ De Pain
This delicious fish came top-crusted in thin brioche served with rutabaga (swede). The amazing flavour of yari ika (spear-squid) cooked on hot grilled with prawn, and muscle. Then bathed in delicious jus with Iranian saffron and dill oil.
Sushi-inspired look dish, this Hokkaido cod is wrapped in Swiss chard along with tarragon mousseline. Miso caramel, Romanesco cabbage, mushroom ketchup, and zucchini scattered freely on the plate. The ketchup was simply divine! I didn’t see ikura (salmon caviar) on the plate as advertised on menu and wondered why. Upon checking with the restaurant manager, ‘the ikura normally soaked into rice alcohol such as mirin or sake to enhance the flavours. Due to dietary requirement of no alcohol it was removed from the dish. A yuzu zest placed on top of the cod instead.’
‘Honey is half Malaysian half Singaporean, as the bee is sourced from the forest of Malaysia and production took place in Sembawang’, explained Dan when asked about the source. Great to see a Michelin restaurant that supports the conservation work of the local apiary, Nutrinest (I met the mastermind and learned about bees here). The delicious honey ice cream served with chocolate mousse and buckwheat ‘Diplomate’ cream. An elegant dessert to sweeten the palate.
Douceurs and Tea Infusions
The final 4 delights served by Chef de Cuisine, Adam Wan. My favourite was the lychee lollipops. When asked about tonka beans, he said ‘it is a natural pairing with chocolate, and you can eat them but not too much’. The aromatic seed of the Amazon tree tasted very complex – a combination of vanilla-like, bitter, sour and sweet.
A pot of herbs placed on the table. It assisted or rather influenced the choice of tea orders. We picked Green Garden (Lavender & Lemon Balm) and Sunset In Provence (Spearmint, Lavender & Thyme). Sweet Night (Bergamot Mint & Moroccan Tarragon) was another tea on the menu.
At SG$248 for 6 acts lunch menu (without water and tea) plus additional SG$68 for truffle dish before tax and services charge, certainly steep. But not sure if we can expect anything else. Upon checking, the pricing seems more or less comparable with the 3 stars establishment I visited in Hong Kong.
Excellent service provided through quality, care, and politeness. Could have been a notch higher like greater attention to details. What a pleasure seeing the young and homegrown talented team prepared dishes from my table – nice to hear French spoken in the air!
I thanked Chef Adam for accommodating our dietary requirement, to which he replied ‘it was an easy one to provide!’. Dan escorted me to the reception for the exit. I will cherish this 3 hours ‘land and sea’ experience. To see the meals in action, check out the video on SOTG’s Instagram.
Do yourself a favour and tantalise your taste buds with Odette’s food. Would recommend this establishment as a top must-do culinary activity and for special occasion. Have you dined in Michelin stars restaurant? Any worth recommending?
More on Odette Restaurant here.
Merci and Terima Kasih, Odette.