Good Dinner (not Great) @ Fleur de Sel on 7May2014

le homard - poached lobster with lobster bisque

le homard – poached lobster with lobster bisque

had a pleasant & relaxing dinner chat with a close friend at fleur de sel on 7.5.2014. he was going to do some hiking at cinque terre & could not find his walking stick so i brought mine along for him. 🙂

i heard about fleur de sel from my wife’s good friend (who bought us an excellent dinner recently at the very artisan singapore fusion restaurant started by a 29 year old investment banker, labyrinth on 30.4.2014). seemed that the whole lobster, completely shelled at S$49++ was very good here. 🙂

my wife came by 2 nights ago with the same friend and took the S$88pax 4-course set menu. she felt that the escargot was not good, and it was not the cooking but the quality of the escargot itself – not sweet, tasty. 😦 she also felt the soup was average, the cod was ok good & the rhubarb dessert was good.

i was decided on the lobster for myself. when my good friend arrived, i gave him my wife’s feedback & suggested he took the other S$108 set instead, as the dinner was a belated celebration of his recently past birthday. anyhow he decided to join me to order a lobster each. looking at the menu i was not attracted by the appetisers, so i suggested we ordered a cod (main) & a lapin (rabbit) risotto main to share before starting the lobster. my friend though wanted only the cod. i got him to order a wine so he got himself a cloudy bay (white).

semi sour dough served with butter & del (salt)

semi sour dough served with butter & sel (salt)

we were served semi sour dough with butter, and advised we could dab the sel (salt) too. the restaurant name fleur de sel means flower of salt, apparently hand harvested (haha..what a description!) by workers who scrape only the top layer of salt before it sinks to the bottom of large salt pans. 🙂

one salt was flavoured with rosemary, the other with citron & something else. good fun…lol. 🙂 we tried the salt but our palate not sophi enough & they felt non-descript. the butter was ok average so we asked for some olive oil, which was very good, very fragrant extra virgin olive oil. 🙂

crab meat - amuse bouche

crab meat – amuse bouche

the amuse bouche was some crab meat, pretty good. 🙂

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pan seared atlantic cod

the pan seared atlantic cod was pretty good, though the cod was firm but did not feel so smooth & bouncy, somewhat different from the texture of cod i was accustomed with. it was served with some sauce so more a wetter version (not knowing how to describe!).

my own Nobu miso cod

my own Nobu miso cod

my own teriyaki cod

my own teriyaki cod

i  guessed it was a very good cod regards this method of preparation but for me personally, the satisfaction was not at the level i had with my own nobu miso cod & teriyaki cod (whereas by comparison the teriyaki cod at mikuni & at keyaki would of course be better than mine).

le homard - poached lobster with lobster bisque

le homard – poached lobster with lobster bisque

the shelled whole lobster in lobster bisque was very good (the dark photos above & top taken with my samsung s4 did not do justice to the dish). meat was fresh, sweet, tender & very tasty with the bisque. excellent dish this! 🙂

apple crumble with granitee dessert

apple crumble with granitee dessert

complimentary mini birthday cake

complimentary mini birthday cake

service was very good. server knew we were celebrating my friend’s birthday so brought a small cake with 1 lit candle. 🙂 it might have been expected of a good restaurant. still it was much appreciated as an important guesture that defined good service & training for a good restaurant. 🙂

the apple crumble was very average non descript.

Chef Alexandre Lozachmeur at work

Chef Alexandre Lozachmeur at work

the bill was S$198 for 2pax including 1 glass cloudy bay white & dessert.

overall, with the exception of the lobster, i would consider the food just average for this level of dining & prices. of course it would be much better than a usual eat. 🙂 on the lobster while it was really good & competitively priced, many restaurants, both chinese & western, are able to & indeed does the same, equally good & inexpensively priced.

if I made a comparison with labyrinth, the latter was a lot more artisan, creative, able to reproduce the flavours from ingredients that were beautifully assembled, tasted similar but looked entirely different from the usual singaporean dishes like chilli crab etc. however, some may consider paying (say) S$90nett for whole lobster etc better deal than paying for same for labyrinth’s set, creative or not! it is a very subjective thing.

won’t be back soon, but probably will have another go a bit more time later.

c.h.e.f andy

 

 

Incredible Artisan Fusion Molecular Cuisine @ Labyrinth on 30Apr2014

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lime sorbet

my wife’s close couple friends bought dinner @ labyrinth by han li guang at neil road on 30.4.2014. 🙂

i knew of the restaurant the day before, started googling, and found the beautiful food photos in bibikgourmand.

there was a reference made on willin low of wild rockets fame. i did like wild rockets & the laksa pesto pasta maybe 15 years back. personally i did not see any similarity just looking at bibikgourmand photos or having seen & tasted the food afterwards. 🙂 one was fusion in combining “western” & “singaporean” ingredients and most importantly, making the result taste good & not for fusion sake (in that both were similar).

in labyrinth’s case, it was going back to the ingredients, reassemble them into something that looked quite different (but very artisan & beautiful) and yet delivering the (excellent!) taste though perhaps not the overall experience eg the chilli crab ice cream combined with deep-fried soft-shell crab tasted like very good chilli crab but it’s not the same as eating a meaty crab, nor was it expected to be. 🙂 the science of taste? molecular cuisine in its finest form? i am NOT qualified to say… 🙂

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garlic mousse, olive powder, balsamic jam for focaccia bread

amuse bouche? the lime sorbet was nice, simple, refreshing, nothing special.

we were served focaccia bread with a garlic mousse, olive powder, balsamic jam. quite unique & pretty good & fun. could’t say this would match good freshly baked bread in a good restaurant, but they were good anyway & matched the food theme. balsamic jam was good, garlic mousse too, olive powder too refined for my taste buds..tasted nothing. 🙂

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beef tartare masquerade (imposter)

#1 this dish looked very like a beef tartare with the egg yoke even, and the taste was quite exquisite. 🙂 the mango sphere sat on a roasted tomato, which was very tasty & great with the greens. the mango sphere was, to me, amazing only to wonder how it was done but did not add much taste nor texture. it was a thin liquid & did not have the silky egg yolk texture.

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chilli crab

#2 the chilli crab looked incredible, a piece of art, so pretty. & excellent flavours, superb dish 🙂 the deep-fried soft-shell crab combined very well indeed with the chilli crab ice cream. they were arranged with the crab mousse, ikura, seaweed on mantou (馒头) sand to give a picture of sea (and tropical island?). not sure if the mantou sand added anything, my palate not sophisticated enough to capture all the taste & texture, need more practice..haha. 🙂

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curry chicken rice

there was a choice of mains – curry chicken or siew yoke fan.

#3 the curry chicken was better than what i expected, though my wife did not like the dish so much. deep-fried chicken balls did not sound that great for main course, but these were quite tasty & you could taste the curry. the quinoa (“kin wah”) risotto was tasty too. i am beginning to like quinoa. my son’s friend made a good quinoa salad & my wife too so she was less impressed. as a “deconstructed” or “reconstructed” or “pigeon-holing not important” dish that was plated quite nicely, looked different & yet tasted like curry chicken, the dish was a great success. so it was good & exceeded my expectation but c/w with a good main (fish or meat) in good restaurant, it may or may not measure up after the initial excitement. also, like going back to the excellent chilli crab, it was indeed a “wow” experience, very pleasantly surprised, but not the same as eating a meaty crab. so it’s a different kind of satisfaction & expectation.

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siew yoke fan

#4 the siew yoke fan was again superbly executed. 🙂 the crackling belly pork was excellent, though our friends said the ones they had at basilico recently were even better. the risotto was very tasty, though i could not really tell if it was a ramen (tonkotsu?) stock.

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chendol xiaolongbao

there were 2 desserts in the set – chendol xiaolongbao & a deconstructed apple crumble.

#5 the chendol xiaolongbao, with red beans, coconut milk ice shavings inside, had genuine chendol taste, was light & quite refreshing. it was pretty ok, i enjoyed it though it was not a favourite for me.

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deconstructed apple crumble

#6 the apple crumble was very good. the stewed apple balls, apple crisp, baked white chocolates & yogurt ice cream all very tasty & combined well. an excellent dessert. 🙂

5-course menu

5-course menu

the 5-course menu was S$78pax, a reasonable price for the quality of food & overall a very enjoyable fun experience. the food was very artisan (perhaps that would become an industry standard in due course), very creative (to me it felt totally new & had no peers in Singapore as yet).  the other “affordable” place where the food presentation is very artisan is jaan (where i had the best degustation dinner on 20.1.2014 with the same couple friends), recently just got on to pelligrino world’s best 100, at 100th place. andre, iggy’s, les amis all very costly & i have yet to convince myself it is worth spending the money. it’s all about experience, very subjective, and also depends on expectations and perspectives, and perhaps very importantly on the the company too. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy