Foraging for new flavours at Audace!

Audace takes over the space held by the much vaunted Cocotte, housed in the eclectic Wanderlust Hotel just off Little India. The outfit is helmed by Michelin-starred chef Jeremy Gillon, a passionate and affable maverick in the kitchen.

Gillon experiments extensively with techniques that extract the essence of the more than 28 rare foraged herbs that he has in his store, each gathered, dried and shipped to Singapore by his friend in the French Alps. A distinct flavour profile is identified for each herb. It is then carefully coaxed from the plant, with certain taste dimensions amplified and others dialed down. Some are made into syrups, others into crunchy bits of crumble, yet others turned into pastes and sauces. Each is unique, wild, and a fine specimen of food alchemy magic.

Delight in contemporary French Cuisine

We started off our afternoon with the Green Peas Salad, Apple, Reine Des Pres, Almond, a refreshingly green appetizer that exhibits the bright tanginess of green apple alongside the earthier flavours of almond and peas. Reine Des Pres can be found in the damp meadows of the west, and brings with it a subtle, sweet aroma in the form of an amber syrup.

The Egg Yolk Confit, Smoked Foie Gras, Mushroom Consomme arrived next, a show-stopping force of distilled umami essence. It is a play of smooth textures and deep flavours, each ingredient coming together into a comforting whole.

Our third dish of Braised Octopus, Grilled Onion Salad, Roasted Hazelnut, Basil was competently cooked, with the octopus braised to just the right bite. However, while the browned sweetness of the onions and hazelnut aromas worked well together, I find the nuttiness didn’t have the same complementary effect on the octopus.

Following not long after was the Steamed Mediterranean Seabream, Broccolis, Salted Lemon Paste, Black Olive Powder; delicately cooked fish dusted with a black olive powder that surprises the palate with a bittersweet affect.

Arriving next was the meat dish of Striploin Beef, Banana Shallot Papillote, Tarragon Coulis, Dry Capers and Anchovy; the beef was succulent, and imparted with a sweet-salty depth by its accompaniments.

A Ganache with Sorbet to look out for!

Dessert came in the form of the Dark Chocolate Ganache, Roasted Coca Nibs, Monarde Sorbet, a wholly refreshing sorbet set atop luscious, silky-smooth ganache. The Monarde doesn’t shy away, with its bright red petals and alluring, floral fragrance. Together with the crunch brought by the roasted coca nibs, this was one addictive way to round off the meal.

As we sit back with some coffees and pat our satisfied bellies, Gillon walks over and greets us with a wide smile. After a brief round of introductions, he invites us over to explore his extensive collection of herbs. It is an impressively diverse range of flora, and you can tell from the excitement in his voice the profound joy he has from not only bringing in precious specimens harvested from the wild by hand, but also from discovering new ways to unlock surprising flavours from each of these gifts of nature.

It’s rare to find such a combination of passion and skill in taking what the wilds have to offer and making this accessible to diners the other side of the world whom may never have tasted, let alone heard of some of these herbs. But that’s precisely why we should be rooting for mavericks like Gillon, and why we can’t wait to see what alchemy he works next at Audace.

Thank you Audace for the invitation.

Audace Bar & Restaurant
Wanderlust Hotel
2 Dickson Road
Singapore 209494

Reservations: 6298 1188
Website

Opening Hours:
Tuesday to Saturday
Lunch 11.30am to 2pm
Tea 2pm to 6pm
Dinner 6.30pm to Midnight

Sunday Brunch
11.30am to 4pm

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Ô Comptoir blends East and West with its crêpes and galettes!

Most Singaporeans are probably familiar with crêpes, but not its close cousin the galette. Both are French pancakes, but the former is a sweet pancake made from wheat flour, while the latter is savoury and made from buckwheat flour. Ô Comptoir in Circular Road is one of those rare places in Singapore that serves good crêpes and galettes. And true to its stereo-typically French roots, the crêpe and cider bar takes quality very seriously.

Famished? You will have to wait for your galette. Every single crêpe and galette is made-to-order. The restaurant owners also insist only on organic flour from a mill in France’s north-western Brittany region, because no one else makes it to the same exacting standards they demand.

The restaurant has a line of galettes and crêpes that is inspired by Japanese sushi rolls. I am usually wary of fusion food because the gimmickry often overshadows quality. But Ô Comptoir largely pulls off this fusion attempt with fresh ingredients and piping hot pancakes.

Try out the Chef’s Recommendations

The crab avocado maki galette with cider sauce ($16++) is a chef’s recommendation, and rightly so. You taste juicy crab roe first, then creamy and sweet avocado, before savoury crabmeat registers on your palate. It is a great mish-mash of flavours and textures.

I am ambivalent about the smoked salmon maki galette with wasabi sauce ($18++) as there are too many things going on in this dish. The smoked salmon is strong-tasting, but so is the thyme and wasabi sauce. It does not help that the galette is coated with a layer of black sesame seeds, which adds more complexity to a very forceful dish.

The allure of duck confit and mashed potatoes

I like the Duck confit maki galette with mashed potatoes ($16++) the best. Rich mashed potatoes and fragrant duck compliment the slightly grainy texture of the buckwheat flour roll.

The salted caramel maki crêpe ($8++) is the right amount of sweet and is delightfully chewy with its homemade caramel sauce. But while it is good, I cannot help but wish for a more substantial accompaniment such as ice cream, fruits, or nuts. The dish feels like it is incomplete without one of these or a richer sauce.

Ô Comptoir’s “usual” galettes are good as well. I have the cheekily named Ménage À 3 ($14++), which comprises Emmental cheese, ham, and a sunny side-up. For three more dollars, you get mushrooms and tomatoes added to the mix. The Ménage À 3 was pleasant enough, but I should have gone for the upgraded version. The mushrooms and tomatoes would have added pep to the slightly salty Emmental cheese and ham.

I strongly recommend the Khao San Road ($22++). This is a perfect example of how good a fusion dish can be, done correctly. The pancake is a perfect wrap for the prawns, mango cubes, tomatoes, bean sprouts, sunny side-up, mint and peanut bits. Every bite taken brings me back to Thailand, reminding me of the good street food.

Thirsty? Make sure you try the ciders and the wines. The ciders start from $6 for a 125ml serving. I tried the dry pear ($7++) and the rosé apple ($7++) and found them both great accompaniments to the savoury galettes. Don’t be surprised if the wait staff asks if you would like to have your cider (directly imported from France under controlled temperature conditions) served in a bowl, as is the practice in Brittany.

The restaurant’s mainstay is its pancakes and alcohol, but like any decent bistro, they also serve salads, cheeses, and other sides and mains.

Charming for that date night out!

Ô Comptoir has a charming ambience. There is a cheeky neon quote from Oscar Wilde on one of the walls, quirky light fixtures, and cosy lighting. The young-at-heart should request for the sole swing seat in the house. That spot also happens to be one of the best places in the restaurant to people-watch. When I visited on a Wednesday night, the place was quiet, with the restaurant and bar never more than a quarter filled. But with such an ambience, Ô Comptoir is a good place to have a romantic dinner or an intimate catch-up with friends before a walk along the adjacent Singapore River.

Thank you Ô Comptoir for the invitation

Ô Comptoir – SG
79 Circular Road
Singapore 049433

Reservations: 6534 7645
Facebook

Opens Daily
Mon an Tue 11am to Midnight
Wed and Thu 11am to 1am
Fri and Sat 11am to 2am
Sun 10am to 10pm

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Decadent Sunday Champagne Brunch Buffet at Seasonal Tastes, The Westin Singapore!

Seasonal Tastes at The Westin Singapore is proud to launch their weekly decadent, gourmet buffet delight – the Sunday Champagne Brunch Buffet! With a stunning view of Singapore’s Marina Bay and the South China Sea through the restaurant’s ceiling-high windows from the 32nd floor of Asia Square Tower 2, diners are promised a spectacular afternoon away from the crowds.

Featuring a smorgasbord of mouthwatering delights, tuck in to a generous selection of fresh seafood, roasts, classic international brunch dishes, local and regional favourites, all on top a free-flow selection of champagne, wine, beer, selected cocktails and soft drinks! The champagne brunch buffet is available every Sunday at $148++ or at $88++ (with only one glass of champagne or drink of your choice). And without further ado, here are some gorgeous pictures to whet your appetite further.

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Le Binchotan: French-Japanese tapas @ Amoy Street

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It was not the most auspicious of beginnings. First, I was perplexed when I heard about Le Binchotan. Was this yet another joint adopting a pretentious name that diners would struggle to recall?

As it turned out, my bewilderment only reflected my lack of cultural capital—the owners behind this trendy 38-seater restaurant and tapas bar had simply referenced the restaurant’s main cooking style; at Le Binchotan, meats and seafood are smoked over bincho-tan, or white charcoal.

Next, it was not easy finding my way there. As seemingly accessible as Le Binchotan is on the map, getting there requires a keen eye, since the joint does not announce its presence very well along a narrow side street.

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