May 23, 2016

Singapore trip 2016 day 3: Ode to Odette

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Not having spent nearly enough time with my friend Chubby Hubby and his lovely wife S at the party for Asia's 50 Best Restaurants in Bangkok, I figured it would be good to catch up over dinner while I'm in town.  As S handles PR for quite a few of the top restaurants in town, I was not the least bit surprised when they offered to host me at these places.  Not wanting to take advantage of too many freebies - as I always prefer to go on my own dime - I arranged to meet up with them only at Odette.

I'd had a taste of Chef Julien Royer's cuisine when I came to Singapore this time last year, shortly before he left JAAN to start things up here.  I enjoyed my meal very much, so I was pretty confident that I wouldn't be writing up a post trashing the chef's food after I had just eaten a free meal there - and putting my friends in an awkward position in the process.

I was pretty distressed to find out yesterday, though, that Chubby Hubby had come down with a case of stomach flu.  Naturally he was still recovering and purportedly having porridge tonight, so poor S was left with no choice but trying to entertain me while listening to my drivel all evening.

Chef Julien came over to greet me, and when we were ready - after I confirmed to the restaurant that I have no dietary restrictions - the procession of yummy bites started arriving.

We started out with a smaller platter of nibbles...

Parsley crisp with confit tomatoes

Charcoal Mediterranean pita bread with olive spheres - very nice with eggplant inside.

Cantal cheese cake with candied walnuts - contrasting savory flavors from the cheese on top with a sweet sponge cake bottom.

Tartlet with Le Puy lentils and grain mustard

This brings back some memories from JAAN.  It's even presented on a porcini-shaped board!

Here we've got mushroom sabayon on top of wild mushroom tea, with puffed buckwheat and shimeji (しめじ茸) mushrooms.  I love it when it's soooo.... mushroomy!  So hearty and comforting.  Nice acidity in the sabayon, and crunchy buckwheat.

Porcini puff with cep butter

The bread basket came and along came this lard butter.  Not many things can get me to totally ignore Bordier butter, but this thing certainly did...

Hokkaido uni: langoustine, mussel 'cloud', Oscietra caviar - this familiar dish has been tweaked a little since the last time I had it.  Mozambique langoustine tartare, apparently...  There seemed to be big chunks of green apple inside, but provided an interesting crunchy texture and also a little bit of acidity and sweetness.

Hand-dived Scottish scallop: oyster leaves, jalapeno, ikura - a nice mix of ingredients here... with marinated scallops together with salted salmon roe (イクラ), along with rice crackers, nori (海苔) seaweed, oyster leaves, edamame (枝豆), and a small quenelle of jalapeño sorbet.  Except for the sorbet and the oyster leaves, the flavors here were pretty much all Japanese and very familiar.

Majestic oyster 'Jacques Cocollos' 2 ways: 

Tartare, dill sea pearl - the bottom layer of the bowl came with oyster tartare along with shredded spring onions.

Tempura, vadouvan, sea grapes - the tempura (天ぷら) batter was a little thick and the flavors of the oyster were kinda obscured, but I did taste the vadouvan in the emulsion.  Garnished with Japanese sea grapes (海葡萄).

Egg/egg/egg: scrambled organic egg, Le Puy lentils, truffle 'mouillette' - while many of the other tables were getting Chef Julien's smoked eggs, I'm glad that we got something different that I haven't tried before.

The "eggs x3" is basically the lentils, the egg, and the Oscietra caviar on top.  I get a warm and fuzzy feeling after spooning this into my mouth.

I love the mouillettes that often come with runny eggs, but in this case the top was covered with truffle shavings... so I guess I wasn't gonna be dippin' it into the egg.

Duo of asparagus: mimosa, wild garlic, sauce mousseline - three types of asparagus here... green from Provence, another from Rhône valley, and white asparagus.  Mixed with both jamón ibérico and ibérico pork belly, as well as morels and wild garlic.  With hollandaise sabayon on top.  Love the acidity together with the salty flavors of the jamón.

Seared foie gras: miso caramel, lemon quinoa, ichigo - the foie comes from Landes, and sits on a bed of tasty lemon quinoa.  Here we have more "ichigo strawberries"... this time as confit.

Yes, I rolled my eyes when I heard the words "ichigo strawberries" for the second time in 3 days.  It's as silly as saying "homard lobster"...

Crispy-skinned Japanese kinmedai: charred Fremantle octopus, cupidon tomato, fennel and bouillabaisse - I always like golden alfonsino (金目鯛)... especially when the skin is crispy.  And having with bouillabaisse is perfect.  I liked the texture of the octopus with fennel, and the added fragrance from olive oil caviar.

We were shown the pigeons for our next course and asked our preferences for doneness.  As usual, I asked for "rosé".

'BBQ' pigeon Fabien Deneour: petit pois, roasted porcini, pickled cherry - now this looks familiar... n'est-ce pas?  The pigeon with the stretched out confit leg... extending its middle finger at the diner - in a last act of defiance, in death.  The execution of the breast was perfect for me.  It even came with half a heart... which oozed out blood when I applied pressure with my knife.  The confit cherries were very yummy, as was the foie gras coulant with liquid foie gras inside.

Cabri Ariégeois - the cheese trolley with goodies from Bernard Antony was rolled over, but I decided to take things easy tonight, and only asked for the Cabri Ariégeois.  Unfortunately this was not ripe enough in terms of texture... and wasn't at all liquid.

A pretty porcelain spoon was laid on the table in preparation for the pre-dessert...

...which came in a cup with lemon verbena granité at the bottom, some mint syrup, compressed and diced apple and cucumber, a quenelle of cucumber sorbet, topped with bay leaf espuma and garnished with a cucumber flower.  Soooo refreshingly perfect.

Lemon tart: organic lemon curd, sable Breton, basil - sitting on the sablé Breton was organic Amalfi lemon curd, with Amalfi lemon foam on top garnished with basil leaves and basil flowers.

There's Italian basil ice cream inside.  This was very, very good.  I love me a little acidity at the end of a long meal.

Finally we get the mignardises... Passion fruit meringue with kaffir lime; canelé, pistachio and raspberry tart; salted caramel bonbons.

I wanted to bring a nice bottle to share with my hosts, and I thought this might be appropriate with the food tonight...

Jacques Selosse Exquise, dégorgée à 15 Juin 2009 - this was much, much sweeter on the palate than every other bottle I have had before.  Also very rounded and mature on the palate.  Nice toasty notes with marmalade.  Such a pleasure to drink.

This was a long but beautiful dinner.  I knew I wouldn't be disappointed, and I left the restaurant stuffed but beaming.  Many thanks to S and Chef Julien for this special treat.  I sure hope Chubby Hubby enjoyed his porridge at home.

P.S.  Many thanks also to Chef Julien for a jar of the restaurant's groseille jam.  I look forward to popping open that jar soon.

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