|Odette with its light pastel palette and high ceilings|
Back in June I had a chance to try chef Julien Royer's food at a pop-up he did at the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong. Despite cooking in an unfamiliar kitchen, the dishes he presented were beautifully plated, and of course delicious. I vividly remember the beetroot, and the pigeon dishes, so flavourful and not heavy.So on my recent trip to Singapore I had to try his food again in his restaurant, Odette. It opened in 2015 in the National Gallery Singapore, the Supreme Court building re-purposed into an art gallery. Odette isn't the only restaurant -- there are many others, like National Kitchen serving Singaporean cuisine, Yan with Cantonese food, and even a bar called Smoke & Mirrors on the sixth floor.
|Chef/owner of Odette, Julien Royer|
But back to Odette, which is named after Royer's grandmother. He watched her cook as a child, getting all her ingredients from the farm in Auvergne, France -- he didn't grow up buying food from a supermarket like the rest of us.
|A cep mushroom tea with a slice of truffle brioche|
Inside it's airy with high ceilings, a very romantic palette of dusty pink, cream and beige, with an open kitchen off to the side, and diners seated in comfortable banquettes. The staff are well dressed, friendly and chatty with guests as they introduce each dish -- there is no atmosphere of condescension or arrogance. Everything is politely explained. One server admitted to us he didn't like beetroots at all -- until he tried Royer's dish that I mentioned earlier.
|Uni with red prawn tartare, mussel foam and caviar|
So what did we eat? A lot, but we were not overly stuffed.
|Japanese Kegani crab "ravioli" with Granny Smith, celery|
Then came bread -- a pastry with truffle paste in it, a delicious crusty sourdough bread, and another with lemon flavour. What was even more interesting was the spread -- there was whipped butter with olive oil, and the other was lard! We didn't have too much of the latter.
|Heirloom beetroot variation in a colourful presentation|
My favourite dish arrived -- heirloom beetroot variation, featuring segments of the humble vegetable that was also made into a sorbet, mini meringue and paired with horseradish, stracciatella and even honey. The plate was too pretty to eat, but we were encouraged to mix everything together to try the various flavours.
|Crispy skinned amadai in an eel consomme and nori oil|
The main event is Royer's signature roast pigeon dish, here it was covered in a pepper crust and cooked medium rare. It was accompanied with another humble vegetable -- corn and here it held its own with its crunchiness and sweetness against the juiciness of pigeon.
Each pigeon leg has a different message attached to it tied with string, talking about how he loved eating pigeon as a child, or how one should eat the leg with your hands. We certainly polished it off down to the bone.
Before dessert we had a cheese platter with some goat cheese, a triple cream brie, and comte, with the largest dates I've ever seen.
|Roast pigeon with a pepper crust and message attached to it|
Then we had our pre-dessert, a refreshing cucumber sorbet with seaweed sprinkled on small bits of meringue, and green apple granita. We would have already been satisfied with this dessert. But there was more.
The actual dessert was clafoutis, a kind of flan cake, decorated with cherries, elderflower sorbet, vanilla cream and almond slivers.
|Cherry clafoutis with elderflower sorbet, vanilla and almonds|
Many media at the Michelin announcement were disappointed that Odette was not elevated to three stars, but Royer insisted he was very happy for the team that the contemporary French restaurant retained its two stars and they would work harder next time.
Nevertheless we were delighted, thrilled, amazed and sated by our lunch at Odette. A chance to savour and to catch up with a dear friend who accompanied me. What a treat.
(65) 6385 0498