The new restaurant, where Tetsu used to stand, is now a combined effort of two great chefs: Lauren Peugeot, the chef-owner of one-Michelin-star Restaurant Le Charlemagne in France, and Tetsuya Yoshida whose restaurant was awarded Best Restaurant in Singapore in 2009 and 2010. On normal days, the restaurant is helmed by Franck Pelux. However, Peugeot will be in Singapore from 20 Jun – 30 Jun. On 29 and 30 Jun, there is a special Sake & Wine dinner, 6-course meal with alcohol pairing for only $180++.
A separate promotion: No corkage charges till end of June 2012. The chef can also pair your wine if you select the surprise menu ($190+).
The prices aren’t cheap. Lunch menu starts from $45 (3 courses). The other sets cost $98, $138 and $190. You can look at the details of the menu here. Since this is a food tasting, Chef Pelux has arranged the “best of” dishes for us.
According to Sarah, the helpful, friendly and informative French assistant manager, the best seat in a restaurant in France is always in the kitchen, right beside the chef. Kinda like a sushi counter huh? Perhaps this similarity in dining habit makes the fusion of French and Japanese food so compatible.
Our initial response to the modern decor is for a fine-dining restaurant, it is a bit kitschy with big round (Japanese?) bowls and color-changing lights. We’d like fine-dining restaurants to be classy–padded tables and no red bowls please–but we may be old-fashioned that way. Something should be done to the music too.
What saves the design is the element of fun. The cutlery, which is for sale, is embedded in a rock. Pierre Goh quipped, “This is exactly like drawing the Excalibur!” The rock is also used to hold the complimentary bread, salted brioche and baguette. Nori (seaweed) olive oil as dip.
Another wonderful aspect of the restaurant is the knowledgable sommelier (sorry! didn’t get his name). He rolls off information about the wines–when the grapes are harvested, the processes, etc. Many wines in the restaurant are from Burgundy where Peugeot comes from. For aperitif, the sommelier recommends Cremant du Jura Brut, a sparkling wine, made by the same traditional method as Champagne. We trio think it is superior to champagne. It is less sharp than champagne, floral and almond–is there vanilla?–undertones, with crispy bubbles and a clean finish. Easy to drink. This is one of the best sparkling white wines we have had.
The amuse-bouche, served on a slab of rock, is gorgeous, unique and delicate. A liquid is contained in a sac on top of a cheese cracker: from nearest to furthest, tomato; celeriac sesame wasabi, and zucchini chilli. You put the entire piece in your mouth and let it burst, let the tastes mingle. Three similar-looking appetizers, three different tastes. Quite extraordinary.
Mushroom veloute (or cream soup), another amuse-bouche, is equally gorgeous in a rustic manner, served in a egg-shell on an egg carton. Unlike the new generation of Mediacorp actors, the soup is as delicious as it has style. Not overly heavy, not overly musky, there is a subtlety, just a hint of this and just a hint of that, that leaves you wanting for more. One of the best mushroom soups in Singapore.
Finally, the first course. Set on a plateau of glass, the balsamic sorbet, as appetizer, sits in a cold tomato soup with vegetables and cheese. While my eating companions were not especially wow-ed by this light and refreshing dish, the creativity and how the ingredients tie in so beautifully together–especially when you bite into a sudden burst of cheese, a contrast to the lightness of the dish–make this dish Michelin-star worthy.
Salmon rillette (which is a pate, which is a meat jam) with funnel and Sudashi jelly (a citrus). Remember to keep your bread for this dish. Although this dish is excellent in its own right, light and not at all fishy and refreshing with sudden spurts of citrus, we think that given the previous astonishing dishes, this is okay.
The name of the dish is Oishi Sushi. Otoro (tuna belly), mixed with salmon roe, is put in a dispenser so air is infused into it to give it fuller taste. Nori, soy espuma (foam) and saki are in the mix. Although somewhat lacking the orgasmic factor of otoro, it’s still a well-balanced and not-fishy fusion sushi. This dish is best paired with Cremant du Jura Brut as recommended by the sommelier.
The escargot tempura with edamame in garlic butter emulsion comes in a spaceship-like capsule. The server will uncover and place the cover near your nose for you to smell the fragrance. This dish is more fun than tasty. The tempura does nothing for us. There is a thin line between subtlety and blandness and while all the dishes so far fall on the subtle (and hence, sublime) side, this dish crosses the line, is bland.
The sommelier recommends a Burgundy chardonnay from Etienne Sauzet Puligny-Montrachet, which is salty, faintly sulphur-ish, with a clean crisp acidity.
For the main course, Sarah the assistant manager, presented us with a box of knifes that we had to draw ourselves. Very Kill Bill, very fun. Pan-fried pigeon, Noa cucumber, Chioggia beetroot, in pigeon reduction. Pierre said, “Pigeons are the pigs of the sky!” Actually, Pierre’s friend is more correct to say that it tastes like beef, or to be more precise, beef cooked to medium. An accomplished but safe dish.
The sommelier recommends three wines: (1) a pinot noir done by Lauren Peugeot himself from the region of Pernand-Vergelesses in Burgundy, where his Michelin-starred restaurant is. (2) While I prefer, another pinot noir from Burgundy, 2005 Chorey-les-Beaune Domaine Tollot-Beaut et Fils, for its fullness (easier to drink and pairing with the pigeon better), my wine virtuoso-friend prefers (3) the shiraz, 2009 Crozes Hermitage Cuvee Alberic Bouvet Domaine Gilles Robin, for its sweetness.
Burgundy Epoisses cheese is awesome! Mixed with mascarpone, pistachio, mashed potato, the cheese is deep fried. On top of it is a sweet sauce (almost tasting like BBQ sauce). You break out the cube, see the cheese ooze out and eat it with the toast. The cheese is pungent but it tastes milder than it smells and has a salty finish. With the sweet sauce, it’s almost like eating goreng pisang. Very addictive, good till the last bite.
Desserts are of course paired with sweet dessert wine, from Chateau de Chavanes, a fortified wine of 17% alcohol. This one will get you drunk because its sweetness masks the high alcohol content, easy to drink like sweet plum juice, kinda like Choya Umeshu.
The freebie palate-cleansing pre-dessert is a thimble-sized (which doesn’t photograph well, hence no photo) cold non-alcoholic version of pina colada, sweet coconut cream on top, sourish pineapple bits below. YUMS. Can I have it in adult size now?
The lemon sorbet is sweet and sour to the max, which may be appetizing for some. The cake is quite something. It has white chocolate, lemon cream, hazelnut feuilletine, with a sugary grainy texture and a taste of sweet chewy marshmallow. Given that it has so many ingredients, it comes together surprisingly well.
Service: Pitch-perfect. We’d like to compliment Sarah and her team of servers. They are friendly, helpful, informative and professional.
Verdict: Wonderful food; excellent service; modern decor. Good for special occasions and romantic dates. But wait, they have a kids menu, starting at only $15++. They are not kid-sized but specially designed dishes, such as Chicken Lollipop and Dragon Fire Ebi-udon, for the young ones.
Rating: 3.796/5 stars
PS: Many people came together for the making of this review. Thanks to Sarah, Pelux, the sommelier, and staff of LP+Tetsu for making the eating experience memorable. Thank you, Stefan and Pierre for the invite.