Dining when envisioned to be a theatrical performance from start to end is reflective of a certain set of aural, visual, emotional and flavourful spectacle that shapes the way diners proceed through the meal. LE Restaurant & Bar, the latest brainchild of the Paradise Group, aims to create that appeal by redefining modern Chinese cuisine with elements of sexy, class and vogue. Situated at the Suntec City Convention and Exhibition Centre, LE Restaurant & Bar seeks a full performance for the diner and is best targeted for the guest who is keen for a quintessentially unique dining experience that incorporates elements of Asia right into the heart of its food, drinks, and atmosphere.
The dining performance starts the moment the guest walks into the restaurant. From the outside, one would never be able to tell that the cuisine served within is contemporary chinese with a touch of flair spiced throughout. The lounge and bar is the first setting that greets the diner, and its outlandish hues of neon purple, pink and black create that impression of a upmarket beats catered especially for the business executive crowd.
Guests may choose to start their experience for the night with a selection of cocktails and tapas from the bar. With a DJ spinning the discs every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday night, guests will have something a little more special to look forward to with their visit.
I give my praise for the unique range of cocktails available at LE Restaurant & Bar. We start off with the LE Special ($22) that is an inspiration from the local Ice Kachang dessert. Crafted as a serving of shaved ice, infused with rich coconut, gula melaka and barcadi oak heart rum, the cocktail was a delight to indulge in. It was rainbow sweet with the delicate fragrance of coconut as an aftertaste and the rum was a pleasant infusion. Dig below the shaved ice and discover bits of red bean and chendol jelly. Beautiful.
A playful touch yet light hearted moment for the evening could very well be the Cherry for the Geisha ($22). Bubbling prosseco is infused with sake and cherry liqueur. Described as supple, sweet and fun, this drink instantly sets the mood for a cherry cheery evening.
Those seeking a touch of tang and sweetness, with a wholesome bite throughout can opt for the Red Concubine ($22). Passion fruit, pomegranate, cinnamon muddled with sweet grenadine and laid on a fiery base of barcardi make up the hearty set of ingredients. The sour and bite unmistakable, make this drink a clear favourite and on par with the LE Special. I was also a little adventurous and decidedly used the slightly torched cinnamon stick as a drinking straw. The already refreshing flavours of this drink was turned up another notch with a smoky, spicy sensation that was reminiscent of smoked fragrant wood infused with each sip.
Guests can also idly watch the chefs preparing the tapas at the bar.
A selection of Asian tapas complement the range of drinks available, stirring the diner’s appetite even further. The Chilli Crab Kueh Pie Tie ($15 for 4) is a mouthful of savoury sweet and textural crisp concoction. The filling is decidedly unspicy, but with a wholesome touch to it. I took a bite out of the first piece and was surprised when the tender juices within overflowed onto the table. Beware of the potential mess you might create. That said, I loved it!
The other selection of Mantou Burger with Braised USDA Prime Beef ($16 for 4) was a bit curious for me. The flavour of the filling is savoury, thick and intense and is a classic play on the mantou bun with pork belly that many would be accustomed to. However, while the flavour is generally good, the portion of filling to the mantou bun is quite unbalanced. It is not a dish that would make me go wow in the first bite, and is a more general ho-hum.
For a dish that would give a more thorough bite and impressive factor, think about the Prawns with salted egg yolk. The fragrance of salted egg yolk is unmistakable, and is enough to make stomachs growl. The prawns are crisp, juicy and fresh with a good bode of creamy flavours coated all about. The touch of chilli scattered over the top add to both colour and a slight pepperishness, lightening the overall flavour.
Crisp Foie Gras Bites will be for those who want a little foie gras to begin the day. Thick crispy batter coat the exceptionally soft and light fragrant goose liver. Pair it with the side of tomato and chilli dip for a refreshing tart flavour that lightens the overall presentation. Goes very well on its own or with a cocktail like the Cherry for the Geisha.
The Foie gras beef dumplings are a mouthful of juicy goodness. The flavour and fragrance of beef overshadows the foie gras, but because of the latter’s addition, a good amount of fat and juices are stored in each wrapped package. It is hearty, yet delightfully light, making you crave for more. Finely executed.
Once you are done with the starters of tapas and cocktails, make your way into the main dining area of the restaurant. The pathway into the dining room exudes a tranquil atmosphere with effects of projected light and candle holding monk statues showing the way. Once in, the 1.2m tall Buddha statue sculpted from glass resin take centreplace. Overlooking the restaurant’s entire theatre kitchen, the statue emanates a soft white glow every seconds. One can immediately notice the effort place in essentializing a diverse Asian Chinese culture into a few key figurines and tones. Locals might be startled by the contemporary take on traditional elements throughout, though for international guests, the urban touch might be a setting of generalized familiarity with emphasis on an all rounded experience that features a english speaking service staff with members from all around the world.
The restaurant’s booth seats and private dining rooms
A glimpse at the theatre kitchen
The main starter for the dinner was the Alaskan Crab Tomato Relish Shooter ($10 per pc, min 2 pcs). First, enjoy the entire piece of crab claw that is a mild sweet and soaked in the chilled tomato broth. Once that is done, take the entire shot of tomato relish in its entirety. Relish in the flavours of fresh tomato touched with sesame for a crisp, heavy yet refreshing flavour.
The Dirty Duck ($38 for half/ $68 whole) is highly acclaimed by the restaurant as one of its most popular dishes. The duck is stewed in a special blend of spices and flash-fried till crisp. It is then performatively shredded by the table side, and then wrapped with cucumber, Hoisin sauce and basil in homemade scallion crepes. The flavours is generally akin to the more common Peking duck though this version sees the diner enjoying the meat in its whole instead of just the skin. This dish would be good for those looking for an almost fatless taste, with a clear focus on the essence of duck. I was quite partial to this dish and decidedly thought that it would go well with a side of wine. Other than that, my personal fancy would be for a good serving of Peking duck with its fat any day.
Each of the main dish is mostly presented with flair, creating a visual spectacle to wow the diner. The Coral Trout poached in Lobster Broth ($16 per 100g, $28 for the broth) firstly has the entire portion of trout presented whole on a bed of ice to the table. The clarity of the fish meat indicate nothing short of absolute freshness, and I was informed by the staff that the fish is kept alive in an aquarium behind the kitchen.
The pieces of coral meat were then cooked in a pot of lobster broth by the table. In the chilly and airy restaurant interior, the warm soothing scent of lobster is faintly noticeable. The broth is lightly flavoured with a mild intensity from the lobster. The pieces of coral trout is cottony and fresh, its neutral slightly sweet flavours complementing the lobster broth well enough. This was a delicate offering that was pretty decent and lightly flavourful.
A touch of natural beef goodness is then presented with the Pan-Seared Grade 9 Australian Wagyu Beef with Lemon Zest ($160 for 200g/ $240 for 300g).
Pan seared and sprinkled with salt to flavour
The wagyu was beefy, slightly rare and juicy to the bite. The fat, evenly marbled throughout made each portion a melt in the mouth delight. It is excellent on its own. However, to flavour the beef up a little more, dip it slightly in the side of lemon zest sea salt. Nonetheless, too much of the side dip makes the portion of meat too salty and sharp, and the distinct flavour of bitter zest becomes quite pronounced. I recommend just enjoying the simple complexities of this dish unenhanced with the sea salt and lemon zest.
A substantial main to end dinner is the Stir-fried angel hair with Japanese dried ebi ($28/$42). The course was served covered in metal dish covers, and I half expected the serving to be placed on the table and then in all choreographed manner, lifting the cover to reveal the dish within. Nonetheless, that didn’t happen. Still, when it was brought to the table, the fragrance of Japanese dried prawns was unmistakable and flavourful. The Angel Hair pasta is chewy to the bite with a good amount of flavouring throughout. On the side is a sliver of truffle oil and parsley to add a secret sparkle now and when the pasta is dip with it.
Before the end of the meal, I thought it would be good to revisit the cocktail selections once again. This time round I tried the Fiery Empress ($22). A combination of local spices like the chilli padi and curry leaf, the drink is then made with a douse of silver tequila. A chunk of slow melting whiskey ice is placed in the centre to quickly chill the drink, making it enjoyable and fresh from start till end.
A dessert drink may well be the Monkey Business ($22) with its playful take on chocolate, banana and vodka. Creamy, frothy with the fruity sweetness of chocolate banana, this would be a deceptively easy drink to finish.
Desserts for the night saw the Sweet Temptation ($13) trio of Mango sago, Avocado cream with coffee ice-cream, and yakult and sesame pudding. I half expected another visual delight, so this was a mild letdown. That said, the flavours of each dessert is thoroughly appreciated with its own range of sweetness to bode a good night.
Strangely, the night started coming to an end. I must have dawdled too much over drinks. Guests who manage to stay past 10pm in the main dining area would then be surprised with a closing thank you from the kitchen. The chefs would all gather in a line, and as the recorded voice narrates a snazzy goodnight from the restaurant, the chefs would all take a deep bow and the curtains above would then cascade slowly into view. A round of applause would then fill the air, enthusiastically performed by the staff and by reflex, the diners. To those who were caught in the performance for the night, this would be signs of a comforting end. Guests who wish to carry on with a few more drinks could then head to the bar that closes later in the night.
As a whole, the dining experience at LE Restaurant & Bar is truly one that is a dining and concert spectacle from the get go. Its distinctive appeal and attempt at an avant garde gastronomic journey would delight groups who choose to partake in its performance. The cuisine is generally impressive for its freshness and innovative ideas, though some items shine better than the rest. Still, I have to say that although the range is a good attempt at western meets asian, the complexities in simple flavours is still a touch short from my idea of a contemporary fine dining restaurant. The range of cocktails are even better with all 5 I tried for the night impressing me with their uniqueness. Service is generally good with the staff explaining the dishes in detail to guests before each serve. I thought that was a nice touch and definitely is part parcel of what I would expect from a restaurant that ‘performs’. It is a worthwhile visit for that special occasion, or a place to bring international friends who are unacquainted with the Asian culture and would perhaps be entertained with a modicum of it, Las Vegas style.
Thank you LE Restaurant & Bar for the invitation.
|LE Restaurant & Bar
Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre
Suntec City Mall
3 Temasek Boulevard
Reservations: 6338 8775Opens from:
11.30am to 3pm daily
6pm to 10.30pm daily
Bar: 3pm to 11pm (Sun to Thu), 3pm to 12 midnight (Fri & Sat)