Saturday, September 17, 2011

A belated date with ♥ Joël ♥

I had been waiting for this moment for months... after being postponed a couple of times, the new restaurant of Master Joel R. finally opened a few weeks ago at Resorts World Sentosa (Hotel Michael, Level 1, 8 Sentosa Gateway, Singapore), so I had once more to skip a few curry puffs, stray away from amazing street food, and booked a table for dinner. Expectations were high. Very high. And the meal was just magnificent. Period. The service was absolutely impeccable (by which I mean *** level) and the food was simply sublime. It was classic Robuchon at its best, daring and innovative East-meets-West flavour pairings, out-of-this-world textures and faultless execution. Magical, enchanting, divine.

Chemin de table - large Swarovski crystals

Despite this isolated touch of bling, the dining room, with its beige, cream and black hues, turned out to be a lot more tasteful than Robuchon a Galera (the kitch equivalent at the sister restaurant in the Lisboa Hotel in Macau...)

Similarly to Robuchon a Galera, breads and mignardises are gently rolled to your table on giant trolleys for you to choose. Quite spectacular - I think I will never get tired of this :)

My bread choices for tonight: baguette, milk bread and saffron bread.

All were gorgeous. The baguette was made the "traditional" way with sourdough and unbleached flour, and the 2 other breads were incredibly fluffy and delicious. A special mention for the saffron bread, in which the flavour of that rare and expensive spice was particularly strong - amazing.

Again, similarly to  Robuchon a Galera, butter gets scooped table-side with a spoon from a giant "motte". Still no salted butter, so it comes with its pinch of fleur-de-sel on the side. Sweet and delicious.

Amuse-bouche: smoked salmon "tartare" with caviar

Pretty and delicious. The salmon (smoked and raw) was mixed with flying fish roe, which gave an interesting texture to the tartare by adding some "crunch". The seasoning was a perfectly balanced and light mix of shallots, chives, dill and black pepper. The ubiquitous shiso flower made an appearance, fortunately the one and only for the evening - seems it's the only alternative to gold foil these days...

The starter that reduced me to a pre-neanderthalian grunting stage: truffled langoustine ravioli with chopped cabbage, said the very unassuming menu...

Words are failing me to describe the utter deliciousness of this dish. Big, fat, juicy, plump langoustines, cooked to perfection, wrapped in a thin ravioli skin, topped with creamy foie gras sauce and intensely fragrant minced truffles. This was simply extraordinary. The flavour pairings, the execution, the textures... everything was just perfectly harmonious and saturated with umami. An almost religious experience.

Truffled langoustine ravioli with chopped cabbage - the texture of the langoustines was absolutely impeccable, with that characteristic "bite" that only ultra-fresh premium quality seafood and masterful execution can produce.

Mr Robuchon's mash needs no introduction. Famous the world over, its secret is in its butter content :)

Braised veal cheeks in curry broth, seasonal vegetables

Classic Robuchon East-meets-West composition. The cheeks got me at Hello (but subsequently engaged in a long tug-of-war with the duck seared foie gras with cherries and fresh almonds, for which I will have to return). The flavours in this dish were just brilliant. Tender, collagen loaded veal cheeks, cooked to a fondant texture, resting on the most delicious meat jus with amazingly subtle green curry flavours, caramelised tofu cubes and crunchy seasonal vegetables julienne. I never thought curry could play pianissimo. Incredible.

The cheese trolley - not as impressive as Caprice's but still powerfully delivering its fragrant message... I found it almost reassuring that the lady introducing the cheeses to our table mixed up her Ossau Iraty and her Tomme de Savoie. So much perfection was starting to freak me out... :o)

My pick for the night (back to front); tomme de Savoie, camembert, reblochon, roquefort
I stayed with the classics tonight. It goes without saying that all the cheeses were outstanding and that my plate was meticulously wiped clean...

Dessert No.1: Smooth passion fruit, rum granite, light coconut foam

It was starting to get quite comical how understated the English names of the dishes were on the menu (their French equivalent had a bit more pomp). Although very light, this creamy dessert delivered amazing flavours. At the bottom of the cup was the most subtle passion fruit cream I have ever tasted, with just the right balance of tartness and sweetness, and it was topped by a coconut mousse barely heavier than a chantilly and sprinkled with the thinnest candied lime peel. In between these 2 layers sat the refreshing boozy aroma of an aged dark rum granite, and the topping was made of lollipop stick-thin coconut meringue. Some would say this flavour pairing has been overdone, I would say no one does it like Joel. It was simply divine.

Dessert No.2: mignardises from the trolley.

 I had a hard time chosing between the 2 dozen or so varieties, and settled for (back to front) coconut ball, pistachio financier with semi-candied cherry, chocolate "religieuse" (=stacked cream puffs), yuzu marshmallow and coffee "religieuse". Intense flavours and perfect textures - faultless.
Dessert No.3: in true Robuchon fashion, no guest leaves the restaurant without a cake to take home. We got pistachio and raspberry, which did my delight for breakfast the next day. Oh! the butter... :)

Such a superb meal requires stylish liquid company... so here is a sample of what we had:

With our AB and starter...
With our main course...
... and with our dessert!

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