As predicted, there was nothing bohemian, hallucinogenic nor waitresses with green dresses and wings of sorts. We've gotten instead, a charmingly green modern restaurant that displayed a classy interior with a nice touch of humour. Throughout the night, we were entertained by the very hospitable and informative restaurant manager, Phillipe Pau. It seemed to me that the girls were enjoying their little chat with Chef François Mermilliod too, while I indulged in the starters. Absinthe had definitely gotten my vote for their impeccable service.
While waiting for Ciki to make her trip here from her day of cardio-shopping workout at Orchard, we started off with some pata negra. As I'm typing this, I wondered why I didn't sandwich them between the sourdough, which I should add, was served warm and soft. Perhaps it didn't feel appropriate at that time. Well, that's not going to stop me from doing it on my next visit.
Somewhere between champagne, Iberian pork and salivation while breezing through the menu, Ciki made a grand entrance (as always) and we wasted no time in placing our order. Secretly, I've made my order weeks ago. You see, I was already planning for a visit and had eyed on the rather attractive degustation menu before suggesting it to Ciki, who wanted something swanky this time round. I guess the name of the restaurant did play a part in her decision.
The degustation menu comes with 3 starters, a main and a dessert. Of the starters, my favourite was the tartare of Hokkaido scallops, which I thought was the amuse bouche. It worked well with the citrus dressing and to have a tartare served warm was interesting. Oh, it came with apportions of caviar as well. The second starter was a very French terrine of foie gras and smoked duck. I like the rich, sort of buttery taste of the foie gras here but the condiment of caramelized fruits could have been more flavourful for a good contrast. I've heard a lot about their kurobuta pork belly (and foie gras too) and was really looking forward to some pork action. It smelled and tasted similar to the Chinese version of roasted pork belly except that here, the meat was much softer, with fats almost melting in the mouth. Is it just me or do I see nothing French in this dish? Still, it was delicious. While I had the grilled grain-fed beef tenderloin, Ciki and XLB shared a fish and seafood bouillabaisse that was full of flavours from the sea. Some thought it was too briny but to me, it was just nice. Again, being the inappropriate one, I thought some noodles in it would be great. If they sell the saffron aioli by the jars at the counter, I would have gladly bought some as dip for those couch potato nights. Back to my beef, although cooked to my preference and moist, it was definitely not as memorable as the kurobuta. A first for me was the parsnips mash and it was well complemented with the black truffle sauce. We all shared my dessert of coconut panacotta that got everyone smiling. I believe they had incorporated vanilla into the panacotta, hence creating a uniquely fusion taste. A sourish coulis of berries provided some balance to the dessert. We ended the night with some Valhorna chocolate and...absinthe! To quote Phillipe, it wouldn't be complete without it.
I did mention somewhere up there about my next visit. When I do, it'll be for their famous pan-fried foie gras. Checking their website a couple of hours ago, I realised that they had changed many items on the menu, including the foie gras where the wild hibiscus flower compote has been replaced with morello cherries. Well, still sounds good to me. The degustation menu differs as well, so do check out their website for updates.
It's only right that
Shrek Hairy should take this shot.
Tartare of Hokkaido Scallops with Citrus, Wakame and Seaweed Tuile
Terrine of Foie Gras and Smoked Duck Breast with Herb Salad and Toasts
Braised Kurobuta Pork Belly, Shimeji and Fennel Salad, Star Anise Scented Jus
Fish and Seafood Bouillabaisse Scented with Absinthe, Saffron Aioli & Croutons
Grilled Grain-Fed Beef Tenderloin Served with Parsnips Mash & Black Truffle Sauce
Coconut Panacotta with Jubilee of Fresh Berries