Restaurant Odette is named after Julien Royer's maternal grandmother who taught him a lot about respecting top produce / seasonal ingredients and cooking fundamentals. 5 years has passed since my dinner at Jaan ... I found Chef Royer was more confident and the cuisine has evolved. Nowadays, his cooking received some influence from Japanese cuisine and he often used Japan's top ingredients. In addition, he was more bold about taking advantage of utilizing Asian spices on the dishes. Julien Royer (still) liked to start the meal with the 'same' amuse-bouche: mushroom tea with Cep sabayon and Cep brioche. It was consistently good, creamy and tasty with earthy mushroom flavors and rather flaky brioche. For the bread, I tried 3 flavors - onion chestnut, black truffle brioche and sour dough - they're accompanied by normal butter as well as butter with pork lard and pancetta. Odette provided 2 tasting menu and I picked the non-vegetarian one. Below was more details info about my meal:
The Tasting Menu
Hokkaido Uni served with Spot prawn tartare, Mussel cloud and Royal Schrenckii caviar - Prawn tartare and sea urchin have been proven as a potent combination, however the highlight for me was more of the airy and creamy mussel cloud that delightfully balanced and held other elements together. On the side, there was squid ink toast with uni on top - I truly tasted the sweetness of uni here more than the one inside its shell; a wonderful appetizer with plenty of umami flavors.
Trondheim Bay Scallop served with Horseradish, white balsamic, Pickled onion and dill - The fresh bay scallops were sliced and served a la sashimi accompanied by seaweed butter & rice cracker. The green 'sauce' below was horseradish while the dill oil was on top. It was simple and clean with a little sweetness; an interesting dish but would not be my favorite way to prepare scallops.
Heirloom Beetroot Variation served with Salt-baked beetroot, Stracciatella 'artigiana', and Honey - Eating a better beetroot than the one served at L'Arpege was nearly impossible. However, the kitchen played smart by presenting differently and adding more elements. For instance, the soft and silky Stracciatella gave some sweet and milky flavors that somehow worked well with the beetroot. The combination of honey, pomegranates and smoked beetroot were quite tasty. The frozen & gelato beet were not as bad as I thought. Overall, it was a very satisfying and well-deserved signature dish though I don't necessarily want to repeat it for the next time.
Organic Egg Capellini served with Light Comte cream, Hokkaido uni and White Alba truffle - It has been a trend for many high end restaurants recently to ask for supplement for dishes involving truffles; Odette practiced such method as well. The positive consequence was that the Alba truffle shavings were usually generous. Moreover, it was of good quality in terms of both flavor and aroma. The pasta was solid with decent taste, somewhat al dente but unfortunately really 'sticky'. The sauce consisted of 24-month old Comte cream and a little hint of chicken jus was light and delicious whereas the sea urchin was barely noticeable (perhaps only as an accent to the dish). A rather sophisticated pasta dish with satisfying flavors but with a little issue on the capellini's texture.
Foie Gras 'Comme Un Pho' served with Jade tiger abalone, Bbq eel dashi and Yuzu - The eel was torched in front of the guest; the abalone was so little that it's "almost irrelevant". The variations of clean & light dashi with several vegetables (such as spring onions, mints, coriander, tarragon, nasturtium leaves etc.) induced the idea of pho. The soup with fragrant veggies and a few layers of textures was my favorite part of this dish while the duck liver in a hot soup, made it less 'fatty'. Chef Royer seemed to like serving foie gras inside some kind of broth even several years ago in Jaan.
Wild Atlantic Turbot served with Butternut squash, Yari ika and Thai veloute - The beautifully cooked Turbot was kinda tasteless / under seasoned but it had flaky & lovely texture. The tender squid was slightly sweet and the mussel was alright. The main flavor of the dish was mainly derived from the moist Thai veloute and a little mussel jus. Many high quality ingredients were good but I did not find they worked too well together with the (strong Asian-influenced) sauce here.
Pigeon 'Beak To Tail' served with Jerusalem artichoke, Kampot pepper and Black garlic - This dish has always been the pride of Julien Royer. It was sourced from Brittany, specifically from Fabien Deneour. The bird was first grilled, then smoked. It was meticulously cooked with pepper, rosemary and garlic. After a short presentation, the kitchen would later prepare the pigeon in 3 ways.
The breast part was perfectly executed - tender and flavorful. The addition of delicately aromatic and mildly spicy/sweet Kampot pepper covering the meat made it almost ethereal. The crisp leg confit was tasty as well. Lastly, the liver parfait with a little sherry vinegar, pigeon jus as well as Jerusalem artichoke completed the overall enjoyment of this remarkable dish. It was even better than Chef Royer's hay roasted Bresse pigeon in the past.
Lemon Tart served with Sable breton, Meyer lemon and Basil - The crunchy Sable breton became the base for this dessert. The pleasant & tangy Meyer lemon curd was a bit sweet. The Basil could be detected on the white foam and sorbet. It might not reach the high note of earlier dishes, but it was a decent dessert to close the degustation menu at Odette.
The service at Odette was above average when compared to other restaurants at similar level in Singapore. The front team managed to strike a balance between being formal and friendly; the staffs (even at the junior levels - the ones without any jacket/blazer) were warm and sincere. When explaining the dishes, they were confident and not robotic. The conversation sometimes involved the personal view / sharing from the team, indeed a few small details often made a difference. The wine selection was quite good. Since I usually only drank 2 glasses, my concern was more about the "pairing". I had a glass of 2016 white Sancerre and a glass of 2013 red Cote Rotie.
Besides JR restaurant under Chef Danzaki, I think this was my most delicious French meal in Singapore - technical-wise, Andre might be more superior, but I was more fond of the taste at Odette. I might not love all of them, but the signature dishes here such as the pigeon, beetroot and uni caviar were remarkable. The problem was probably that if Julien Royer is unable or unwilling to make changes and create new dishes that are at least equally flavorful, I would hesitate to return anytime soon as I usually like trying new items. It's not wrong to keep the same dishes over the years (including mushroom tea, rosemary smoked egg etc.), but I'm afraid the current state might not be sufficient to earn the 3rd Michelin star. For the pictures, please click Odette Autumn '18
Food (and Wine): 95 pts
Service (and Ambiance): 94 pts