A few years has passed ... having dined in several different places in Singapore, I find there is (still) no better place to savor French haute (nouveau) cuisine at the island than Joel Robuchon restaurant. After my first visit in late 2011, I tried to come here once every two years; it didn't happen last year since I had a chance to have lunch at Robuchon au Dome. The Macau establishment was nice but I still prefer my experience at RWS. Similar to my previous visit, I designed my own menu a couple of weeks prior to my dinner. Jasmine, the restaurant's hostess since the opening, efficiently assisted my communication with Executive Chef Tomonori Danzaki. I noticed that the usual degustation menu's price had been decreased by about SGD 50 - Robuchon is known to be adaptable to the global economy and domestic market situation. On paper, I was very pleased with the arrangement but I miscalculated small things. Unlike my first visit, this time my menu contained some "trio" dishes, to be exact 3 of them - I counted them as 3 courses instead of 9 as I thought they would come in small size requiring 1-2 bites each. Actually, this time the portions were larger than my experience at the other Robuchon's restaurants (of course, I did not complain) in particular the salmon tartar with caviar as well as the black truffle tart with onion confit. Therefore, in total I ate 19 courses (4-5 more items than the 'normal' long tasting menu) during dinner that lasted until near midnight. Honestly, this is probably the "biggest" meal I've ever had in my life. However, the quality didn't disappoint at all. As a matter of fact, it unexpectedly went down to be my best dining experience in the whole Asia (& America) excluding Japan.
Accompanied by wine:
, chopped cabbage
2007 Chateau de Cazeneuve Pic Saint-Loup Le Roc des Mates (Sweet nose with plenty of dark ripe fruits, full body and vibrant due to high acidity)
2011 Charles Hours Jurançon Uroulat (Clear in gold color, refreshing, fragrance and complex - would taste better in 3 years time)
I know I would eat very well at any Joel Robuchon fine dining restaurants, but I never imagined it could reach such high points. Every course, using the finest ingredients available, was very well executed; even some of them was near perfection. It's one thing to be creative, but another thing to have flawlessly implement it. Salute to Chef Tomonori Danzaki and his brigade for meticulously and consistently preparing delicious dishes after dishes. I was not afraid to declare that Danzaki-san was Robuchon's most capable chef; it means that he's better than Verzeroli, Le Tohic and Semblat (in order of abilities based on my visits to their restaurants). Every small detail mattered and we could see it from both the food as well as the decor. On top of the black lacquer table with dark linen, there were several well-arranged crystals. Black and beige color dominated the dining room's lavish ambiance. Grand opulent chandeliers, huge vases for flower arrangements, and several antiques/paintings etc.; all of the elements were in harmony. A memorable haute cuisine experience in luxurious setting.
The service was impeccable throughout although the fine dining restaurant was understaffed, there were only 7-8 people served more than 30 diners (Possibly one of its busiest night ever). The sommelier Duboueix was sick and the restaurant manager Raguzzi was busy helping the l'Atelier. This time the wonderful service was delivered by Asian staffs: Sherika, a Filipina maitre d' who used to work at Robuchon Macau for a couple of years, and Kohmalan, an easy going Indian gentleman. They were not only sincere and helpful, but also able to engage in meaningful conversations since both of them possessed good knowledge about the food, the restaurant and the chefs. When I finished my black truffle symphony courses, Chef Danzaki inquired whether the food had not been 'too much'. To be honest, I was half full already but the kitchen was willing to adjust/reduce my initial tasting menu - a nice gesture that I politely declined. Near 11 PM (around the cheese course), Chef Danzaki visited me to make sure that everything was fine. He was gracious and seemed happy & curious that I managed to finish up everything. We were chatting for about 15 minutes; his English has improved tremendously. He explained that his favorite food was still Japanese cuisine and sometimes still went to Tokyo for working purposes. The staffs were proud of their jobs and committed to keep getting better. More than one occasion they asked me about the food, the service, how they do (compared to their competitors or among Robuchon places) and how they could improve. I hardly remember the last time a top gastronomy restaurant brought such questions.
Please check out the link below for the dishes' pictures, https://picasaweb.google.com/118237905546308956881/JoelRobuchonSingapore2ndVisit
Food (and Wine): 97 pts
Service (and Ambiance): 96 pts