Robuchon in Singapore: When?
McD and KFC are arguably the most popular fast-food chain in the world consistently delivering their food that tastes pretty much the same wherever you are. Is it possible to do the same in the high-end dining? In the mid-level, we may know Cheesecake Factory. Joel Robuchon, the most decorated chef, has shown that it’s do-able to open fine dining franchise with his L’Atelier. Even more amazing is that Chef Robuchon doing that with his gastronomy place – Joel Robuchon restaurant (there are currently 4 of them world wide – the latest just opened last year in Singapore). His step has been followed by Pierre Gagnaire whereas Alain Ducasse only does the same with his chic Spoon and bistro Benoit
Food (and wine) – 95/100
Having been to all Robuchon’s fine dining places, it’s known that all of these places serving > 50% of exactly the same dishes. His latest restaurant, located in Resort world sentosa, is lead by a Japanese chef called Tomonori Danzaki. His resume includes working with Robuchon for nearly 20 years as well as becoming Chef de cuisine at Robuchon mansion in Vegas. With this, I know I will be in good hand when having my meal here.
I was a bit picky with the tasting menu since I would like to try as many new dishes as possible. The staffs were helpful and the chef was flexible to accommodate my request in advance. If you often read my review, you can expect that I will order the long degustation menu (14-course), don’t worry most dishes were quite small actually, Below is the short summary on what I ate,
The top dishes for my meals were
(Crispy soft boiled egg served with smoked salmon and oscetra caviar) - One of Robuchon's signature dishes. The warm and runny egg-yolk was 'absorbed & balanced' by the salty salmon and briny caviar (served in generous portion). The crunchy pastry also soaked up the soft egg and the cauliflower cream below.
(Homemade spaghetti served with soft poached eggs and shaved Alba white truffle) - An excellent dish. It seemed straightforward yet impressive. The al dente spaghetti was around the poached egg. To make the most out of it: break the egg yolk and mixed it together with the pasta, cream sauce and the white truffle. Then enjoy this delicious dish and its texture and temperature contrast. The stronger the truffle, the better the dish
The other dishes with caviar and Alba truffle were alright, but not as spectacular as above. I referred to sweet and chilled corn veloute with sour cream and caviar (Robuchon has done much better caviar-based dish). Also, I quite enjoyed the combination of earthy potato, rich foie gras carpaccio and shaved truffle. In addition, I also had ‘repeated’ dishes (I had them at other Robuchon before) such as scallop with fregola in coral emulsion – the ‘sauce’ is consistently good, but the US scallop was not that sweet and inferior to Hokkaido/Brittany version. The chef also prepared sole with lemongrass and citrus. Normally, this dish will be prepared with sea bass (more flavorful and better texture) and indeed Le Bar > Le Sole for this kind of preparation. For the main course, I had a perfectly cook Wagyu beef cooked on rock salt. The beef was delicious except the skin part a bit too salty – I was told that the rib-eye was cook on top of bacon.
The desserts a Robuchon are generally very good; these were not exceptions. I had Smooth passion fruit served with dark rum granite and light coconut foam - A great tropical dessert showcasing different flavors: sour passion fruit cream, sweet coconut and bitter rum granite. Overall, it's very refreshing AND Chuao chocolate served with sesame seeds biscuit and Sicilia pistachio - The chuao cocoa (from Venezuela) was awesome combined well with the biscuit below. Eat the pistachio ice cream before it quickly melted. I had a few glasses of wine for the pairing, but the Sommelier was kind enough to give me one extra glass free of charge.
Eating lots of courses can be quite tricky at times. The more dishes you have, the more ‘mistakes’ the kitchen is likely to make. Well, there wasn’t any disaster dish I ate but not many of them were that fantastic – they’re consistently good and tasty. Although chef Danzaki could be the least experience chef compared to chef Verzeroli, Semblat and Le Tohic, I confidently say that the meal at Robuchon Singapore is every bit as good as at other Robuchon establishments. However, I don’t yet experience my meals at Robuchon reaching the level of Ledoyen or Le Meurice, let alone compared to Gagnaire Paris/L’Arpege … Nevertheless, I gave this place 95 pts (equivalent of 2 ½* by Michelin guide)
Service (and ambiance) – 95/100
If there’s one thing that Robuchon Singapore is more superior than the other Robuchon’s places I’ve visited, it will be its hospitality. The staffs are professional, friendly and enthusiastic – they never forget to replace my napkin or refill my water. The Filipino maitre d’ that attended my table was excellent; unlike other Filipinos I’ve encountered in Singapore, this young gentleman is passionate, informative and sincere. He used to work at hotel’s F&B (Raffles Singapore and Burj Al Arab) prior to coming here, too bad that I didn’t ask his name. Since the restaurant was rather empty, I was often served by the manager and the sommelier themselves – both are from France. I wasn’t really sure why, but in terms of restaurant service, French-style hospitality is the best. Possibly they’re not only professional, but also loved fine cuisine themselves. Moreover, they’ve dined at many top Michelin places in France and Europe and thus know how to deliver top notch service themselves.
The restaurant’s ambiance is greatly influenced by Robuchon Vegas except it’s much more spacious. You will find the black and white marble checkerboard at its foyer, rest rooms as well as kitchen. There’s also a more private section called “winter garden” with a giant tree in the middle, but don’t worry it’s not an open space. The attention to details extends to its meticulous décor of the guest’s tables. The best part was that everything was brand new. Overall, it’s a satisfying 4-hour dinner experience. By using Michelin lenient standard in Asia ex Japan/Europe, this place should easily get 3-star accolade should the red guide decide to come to Singapore in the future.
More detailed reviews: http://zhangyuqisfoodjourneys.blogspot.com/2012/04/joel-robuchon-restaurant.html
Pictures of the dishes: https://picasaweb.google.com/11823790...
Had dinner at L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon last Sat. After all the hiccups & delays in opening, Robuchon's finally in Singapore.
We thoroughly enjoyed the experience - the staff were friendly, efficient and very eager to please. It's only open for dinner currently (5.30pm and 8.30pm seatings) and has a degustation menu (SGD250++ per head) which won't be tweaked for a while. Chef de cuisine Lorenz Hoja was busy with much PR-building work - meeting & greeting customers.
Food was standard L'Atelier stuff - foie gras was fabulous, fish was divine, bread basket was a delight (best in Singapore!!), but desserts were ho-hum.
What we had:
L'Amuse Bouche - Foie Gras Custard with Porto Red Wine & Parmesan Foam (the Singapore L'Atelier's version was much, much better than the one at its Taipei counterpart's)
L'Hamachi - Yellowtail fish tartare with tomato coulis (tasted surprisingly like a Singapore hawker dish - don't ask me why ... or how!!)
La Langoustine - langoustine a la plancha with vegetables & lemongrass oil (nice, if a bit undercooked)
Le Foie Gras - seared duck foie gras, candied apricot & fresh almonds (perfect!)
Le Navet - Daikon veloute flavoured with citrus oil (my friends liked it, I didn't - a bit bitter for my taste)
La Barbue - Brill with herbs & spring sprouts (another "Chinese" tasting dish. What's up, Robuchon?!)
La Caille - foie gras-filled free-range quail with Robuchon's famous mashed potatoes* (yummy)
Le Boeuf - French-style hanger steak with fried shallots*
Le Multivitamine - Red berries spiced coulis, Victoria pineapple sorbet (ho-hum)
Le Cube - Roasted hazelnut Dacquoise, creamy Caribbean chocolate (double ho-hum - Robuchon needs a good pastry chef, definitely)
* for main course, one chooses either the quail or the steak. Wished I can have both actually.
Call ahead to book - the place is very popular at the moment. The more formal Restaurant Joel Robuchon is just next door (both restaurants share one reservation line and reception lobby), but the much-promised bakery/tea room is not slated to open till next year at least.
L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon
Resorts World Sentosa
Hotel Michael Level 1
8 Sentosa Gateway
Tel: +65 6577 7888
Agreed - costs for fine dining in Singapore has skyrocketed in the last couple of years. Set dinners at Santi (by the late Santi Santamaria) at Marina Bay Sands were pitched at S$195++, S$250++ & S$350++. Over at Guy Savoy, the menu degustation was priced at S$375++, and can be even more expensive if you opt for a la carte - the desserts were priced at S$50++ each.
I tried the same menu degustation last month. I enjoyed the daikon soup because it tasted creamy even though we were told by our waiter that the soup did not contain any milk or cream. I wonder how they do it.
My favourite course is a amuse bouche which had a strong but not overpowering foie gras taste and smell.
But I thought my pan-fried foie gras was a bit overcooked and slightly hard, while my langoustine was practically undercooked & nearly raw. Shades of inexperience by the new kitchen crew?
But like you, I love the place because the waiters made us feel very comfortable and very welcome. I would go back to L'Atelier again most definitely. By the way, my hubby also ordered a plate of jamon Serrano which was beautiful.
Was the "creaminess" of the daikon soup due to heavy gelatin from long-simmered bone stock, or maybe from the use of fu-yee?
Hmm, I get very nice Jamon Serrano at my local (good) charcuterie shop at around US$22/pound which they will shave almost paper-thin for you in lovely entire slices. :-)
At the moment, the fine-dining restaurant & the more casual L'Atelier are slated to be opened sometime in mid-Feb 2011:
The restaurants were supposed to be opened in May 2010, but were delayed due to various factors. Maybe you should plan your trip after they actually open, just to be on the safe side. I walked past the spots where the restaurants were supposed to be at Resorts World Sentosa, but so far, could only see the large posters of Messr Robuchon.
Mario Batali's Osteria Mozza and Daniel Boulud's DB Bistro Moderne at the Marina Bay Sands casino, on the other hand, are both completely ready (cutlery & wine glasses laid out on tables), just awaiting their launch in a few weeks' time!