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Oct 13, 2012 04:06 AM

Keystone Restaurant , Singapore

We have just returned from Singapore, where we had a couple of grat meals. The first remarkable dinner was in Keystone restaurant. Really great dinner, the chef has definitely a style of his own. Also when not each course was perfect, still it was a grat meal, and reasonably priced also. My favourites were:

Blue crab, Tamale Soup, Olive Soil, Avocado

Kelp, Angel Hair, Lobster Oil, Cod Goujons ( absolutely gorgeous!!!)

Wagyu, Mayura Short Rib, Purple Mustard, Shimeji Pickles

It is a shame, that they only had 3 tables booked for dinner.

We also have been to Andre restaurant, which was good. Something between one and two Michelin stars level cuisine, but very expensive. The wine list was very disappointing and also too expensive for the quality. The service was a kind of arrogant. Nevertheless, that was an interesting experience.

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  1. Good to hear. For some reason, Keystone had not appeared on the radar of most Singaporeans yet.

    Andre: its prices have always been pretty prohibitive, and I really don't understand their rationale for being snooty. Pretty self-defeatist in the light of keen competition all round.

    The latest talk of the town is La Cantine by Bruno Menard, joining the current wave of French bistros in Singapore.

    11 Replies
    1. re: klyeoh

      I have heard about La Cantine, but I'm not so interested in French-influenced cuisine, since I lived in Paris for some time and learnt a lot of French cooking. Probably that was the reason why I wasn't impressed by Andre so much.
      Keystone's style was special, though sometimes still imperfect, but they are also thankful for some feedback there. That means, there is a wish to improve.

      1. re: kobri

        Perfectly understandable. Not sure about La Cantine's offerings, but Bruno Menard tend to inject some Japanese influences into his cooking.

      2. re: klyeoh

        Is Majestic Restaurant right next door to super-snooty André still as good?

        1. re: huiray

          Yes, it's right next door to Andre's. I'd not been back there for a while, but the Executive Chef, Yong Bing Ngen, still maintains quite a high profile in Singapore, and is often touted as one of the top Chinese chefs here. He's KL-born.

        2. re: klyeoh

          Keystone is very good, but I suspect you can put its low profile down to the fact that (a) Singapore has not been receptive generally to molecular / avant-garde cooking; and (b) its pricing is ambitious considering it does not have a famous chef, etc, behind it. I rate Mark Richards very highly as a cook but he is not exactly a household name.

          I'm making my first visit to Andre soon and will report back. I can't comment on the snootiness allegations but it's booked solid for the next two months, so it obviously has a lot of fans!

          1. re: Julian Teoh

            I don't think that Keystone chef cooks molecular or avantgarde. In any case it is not what we in Europe understand under molecular and avantgarde. And today pretty each chef uses some molecular techniques. I would say, at Keystone he just has a style of his own, or is trying to find a style of his own.

            You may be right concerning the "famous chef" bonus. That applies for both, Keystone and Andre. I don't know if Andre is booked 2 or 3 months ahead, I have got a table 10 days before. That is true that the restaurant was completely booked out on the evening we have been there. 50% or more, including ourselves, were non-locals. That is probably the fact which allows him to keep the high price level. I don't mean that dinner by Andre was bad, no, it was very high level (definitely higher than Keystone), but there were no surprise, very clear french influence and somehow unstable.

            I'm really curious, how you, kleyoh, will find Andre's.

            1. re: kobri

              I hope to do so one day soon, kobri. So far, a couple of things deterred me: (1) That long wait list!, and (2) My "let's dine at an expensive celebrity chef spot" phase seemed to have passed. These days, it's back to old-school cooking and Asian street food.

              I'm waiting to read Julian's take on Andre's :-)

              1. re: klyeoh

                In a bid to keep whatever little credibility I have left, I must highlight that I loved Andre's food at Jaan back in early 2009 before his days of fame, so no bandwagon hitcher am I ;)

                Hope dinner goes well tonight! Sorry I couldn't meet up with you guys this time.

                1. re: Julian Teoh

                  Julian - I trust your taste, Catalunya was a fab rec from you, some of the best chow I'd had in S'pore for quite a while.

                  We couldn't do a Chowdown this time as not enough fellow Singapore Hounds were in town :-(

                  Maybe will do a Chowmeet near Christmas!

                  1. re: klyeoh

                    damn. i'd be in tokyo for christmas. looks like i'll have to miss it =(

              2. re: kobri

                Kobri, granted that it is not 100% molecular / avant-garde, but his style (at least when I last visited earlier this year) incorporates a lot more of those techniques and more importantly, features them prominently, than would be expected.

                The only other restaurants in Singapore which were fully devoted avant-garde plays, Aurum and Fifty-Three, have closed down. Fifty-Three is said to be re-opening in a much smaller space but I haven't heard anything about it for quite a while.