Joel Robuchon Restaurant, Singapore
Posted 12 April 2012 - 02:43 AM
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: Robuchon Sgpr winter '11 review
Pictures of the dishes: Robuchon winter pictures
Posted 05 July 2012 - 09:35 PM
Was here for dinner back in April and here are some of my thoughts.
I was going to do a blow-by-blow but couldn't work out how to post photos on the new system. Until I do (and sincerest apologies as this is normally not my style), I have posted a course-by-course with photos here: http://julianteoh.bl...nt-sentosa.html.
Food: Very good. Technique and quality of produce is amazing, with a very sharp focus on the seasons. Executive Chef Tomonori Danzaki won three stars at the MGM Grande in Las Vegas and it shows in the food. Stand-outs from the tasting menu were an ethereal daikon soup with port-marinated cubes of foie gras, a frogs' leg beignet with tempura watercress and soya shoots, a lobster and sea urchin risotto dish, baby vegetables simmered in semolina (les racines maraicheres) and veal chop with teriyaki glaze and vegetable "taglierinis" - ribbons of cucumber and zucchini lightly blanched and tossed in a pesto to convey a very light "idea" of pasta.
You would have noticed the Japanese influence in these dishes, which would not be a surprise to Robuchon followers, but even the progression appeared to be heavily influenced by Japan, e.g. omitting red meat, finishing the savoury courses on a light vegetable and semolina dish - the famous Robuchon pommes puree do not make an appearance on the tasting menu (although they are served with the main courses in the prix fixe and a la carte options), and I suspect this was deliberately done to provide a lighter experience for the guest. Danzaki told me later that his thinking was inspired by Japanese kaiseki menus, where the savoury courses typically finish with a light rice or noodle dish. He loves to showcase ingredients without too much playing around; with access to ingredients of such supreme quality, who can blame him? There is nothing mind-bendingly complex about the composition of the dishes (technique is a different issue), typically restricted to three of four major components or flavours, but the flavours are pure. Indeed, I actually feel fresh and rejuvenated after eleven decent-sized courses.
The meal is replete with classic gestures of hospitality, so the bread cart rolls over with an offer to have your choices re-heated, butter (Bordier, scraped from a cylinder the size of a water jug), cheese (from affineur Bernard Antony, of which Anglade recommended a two-year old gruyere) and mignardises (as many as you can handle) are also delivered by trolley, and a lovely lemon cake is presented to you on the way out.
Menus: Robuchon offers three dining options: pure a la carte, a selection of prix fixe menus ranging from S$160++ to S$320++ based on number of courses and with limited choice of dishes, and an 11-course degustation priced at S$565++. The a la carte is priced such that unless you are content with a single course, the prix fixe and tasting options look like much better value for money. Six courses (appetiser, soup, two mains and cheese) plus amuses and the mignardises cart cost around S$375 including taxes and service, which is pretty much ballpark for a top-end European restaurant in Singapore.
Service: As reported above by Bu Pun Su, service here is excellent, led by the very charming maitre d' Guillaume Anglade. However, the knowledge and capability filters across the entire hierarchy of service staff, and our waitress Rebecca took really good care of us. One of the best service experiences in Singapore at the moment. Many people give the casinos credit for bringing the big names into Singapore, but they don't focus enough on the fact that the "celebrity chefs" are bringing in top-calibre managers from other parts of their empire to train up the staff. DB Bistro Moderne is another "celebrity" restaurant staffed by supremely competent personnel, although of course the tenor of service is very different and appropriate to the very different restaurants that they are.
Decor: Luxe - purple and beige tones, chandeliers and Swarovski crystals; the place was designed by Pierre-Yves Rochon, the dean of restaurant designers. Seats are very comfortable and lighting is appropriate.
Wine List: This is a casino, meaning it's priced for the whales. It's a very strong list, and well-balanced with some twenty wines by the glass. Trophy bottles at trophy prices are present (DRC, Coche-Dury Corton Charlemagne, Latour, etc.), but S$170++ for Domaine Rapet’s Aloxe-Corton village is enough to make your eyes water. For a comparison, Mr Rapet’s excellent 2009 Corton Grand Cru, one of my favourite burgundies (and a Burghound 93-pointer, incidentally) retailed locally for just over $85 a bottle.
Overall: great stuff, and very worth a visit. You will need advance bookings for Thursday-Saturday, but can chance your arm earlier in the week. And if it's full, there's always L'Atelier next door...
Edited by Julian Teoh, 05 July 2012 - 09:38 PM.