May 15, 2018

Singapore hop 2018: cinq chariots sur l'île

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It has been a few years since Sébastien moved to Singapore to take up his post at Oncle Joël's restaurants, but I had never managed to pay him a visit on Sentosa due to scheduling conflicts.  But since we met up recently in Hong Kong over dinner, and I was introduced to Chef Kim Joinié-Maurin, I figured it was high time that I checked the place out.  So I ended up overruling Hello Kitty on her request to dine at Odette, and we took a ride to Resorts World Sentosa.

I stepped out of the elevator at Hotel Michael, and was greeted by Sébastien immediately.  He gave us a quick look of L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon - which was closed this evening - before seating us inside the fine dining, 3-macaron Joël Robuchon Restaurant.

We were offered a glass of complimentary bubbly to start our dinner:

Pierre Péters Cuvée La Perle - a blanc de blancs.  Nice and caramelized nose, lovely fragrance, with yeasty notes.  Ripe and rounded on the palate, with good acidity and lean on the back end.

We had been eating quite a lot over the last few days, and I had another weekend of heavy eating coming up, so we chose not to take the full dégustation menu.  We opted for the combination which offered us 2 entrées and 1 plat to try to keep it "light".  I should have realized that it was never gonna happen...  not when you know the people who run the restaurant...

As this is a "fine dining" branch of the Robuchon empire, you have the classic trolley service here - just like they do in Macau.  First up was the bread and butter trolley.

They do a pretty good job of scraping butter from the mound.  I was told that they use either Ponclet or, as was the case tonight, Pamplie.

I chose two pieces from the trolley: the baguette epi aux lardons and the pain au lait à l’encre de seiche.

But first, a surprise from the chef, who came to welcome us.  Vegetable tart with guacamole and seasonal spring vegetables.  We had breakfast radish, haricot vert, carrot, and Japanese micro tomato.

Next up was our amuse-bouche, which was tomato gelée topped with white asparagus espuma, Japanese micro tomatoes, croûtons, and piment d'Espelette.  Very refreshing and tasting very much of the spring.

Le caviar impérial et le king crabe rafraîchis d’une gelée de crustacés, légèreté de chou-fleur - this was a kind surprise from the chef, as it certainly was not on our menu.  Always a pleasure to have this extremely classic dish, and tonight there were 60 "dots" of cauliflower cream with corresponding parsley chlorophyll "nipples" on top.  Absolutely love the shellfish gelée with the cauliflower cream, and of course together with the king crab and Impérial caviar from Sologne.  It is pretty much perfect.

L'Asperge blanche sur une émulsion végétale au miso, feuilles de shiso et piment d'Espelette - there were two cooking methods for the white asparagus, and the textures were pretty interesting.  The blanched parts were so, so soft... as if no fibers existed and it was just a tube of Jell-O...  The black garlic dots and the miso dots nicely complemented the asparagus.

L'Œuf de poule mollet et friand au caviar impérial et au saumon fumé - another stunning-looking dish, also with Imperial caviar, but this time on a crispy, deep-fried hen egg.  Served on a bed of sour cream, with small cubes of smoked salmon.

The runny yolk had a beautiful color.  I took some of my bread to wipe my plate clean.

Next came an extra fish course for each of us, again with compliments of the chef. 

Le turbot en écailles de jeunes courgettes, sur un velours de romesco et condiment olives et amandes - I had a bite of this from Hello Kitty's plate.  I remember seeing green courgette "scales" on a fish dish presented at Eleven Madison Park, which Chef Daniel Humm has said was an hommage to Frédy Girardet and Joël Robuchon.  Very nicely done, but while turbot is considered a classic, high-priced fish in French or European cuisine, I do find it a little "boring"...

L'Amadai japon "bouillabaisse" relevés d'une rouille aux saveurs meridionales - for me, the chef sent the tilefish with its upturned scales deep-fried till crispy.  This is the type of fish that I prefer over turbot any day... as I love the tenderness of the flesh as well as its flavor.  Having it sit in a pool of bouillabaisse was even better.

Le porc ibérique "la plume" caramélisée au aoja, jeunes pousses de légumes grillées, sauce au poivre noir "Sarawak" - ibérico pluma is a great cut, and is served rosé here.  Deliciously tender, with egg mimosa, capers, ceps, pearl onions, turnip, carrots, dill, leeks, asparagus, and maitake (舞茸) mushrooms on top, and drizzled with Sarawak pepper sauce.  Very happy.

Pommes purée - didn't have a lot of stomach space, but did try a couple of spoonfuls of the classic side dish.

1999 Canon-la-Gaffelière - 40 minutes after decanting, showing smoke, ripe fruit, and lovely cedar notes.  A little pencil lead after an hour in decanter, and 1½ hours after decanting the nose turned pretty sweet.  Still some tannins here, but drinking pretty well.

Our second trolley today would be le chariot des fromages.  There was, sadly, much less variety than what I'm used to seeing in Macau, but good enough for tonight.  Not sure what's going on with the lights below the Mimolette...

So we asked for some 24-month Comté from Alléoss, which were lighter, with less salt, and more creamy.  The 24-month Mimolette from Bernard Antony was full-bodied and salty as expected.  I took the Époisses de Bourgogne from Gaugry because it's one of the few still made with unpasteurized milk, but it wasn't ripe at all.  The Mont d'Or from Antony, in contrast, was very ripe and nice.

The third trolley would be the ice cream trolley, which unfortunately came bearing only two options.

Mango sorbet - thankfully mango was one of the two choices, and this was VERY good.

Trolley #4 was the le chariot des desserts, but I was pretty full at this point.

Tarte au fraises de bois - I couldn't resist when I saw this.  A layer of wild strawberries, and each one of them turned out to be really ripe and sweet.  This must have been my lucky night!

The last trolley tonight was, of course, the mignardises trolley.  I chose two little bites.

Couldn't remember exactly what the flavors were in this macaron...

An apple with cream and Calvados inside.

This was a very good meal, as one would expect.  Very happy to have had the trolley service here, too.  Too bad we didn't end up ordering a bird so that we could watch Sébastien show us his carving skills once again...  Many thanks to my friend and Chef Kim for such an enjoyable evening, and I look forward to seeing them again soon.

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