Tuesday, June 8, 2010

St. Julien: worth the reputation?

invited by The Hour Glass and Ulysse Nardin

Banquet by The Hour Glass and Ulysse Nardin. UN is a very special watch company. Innovative, always interesting...and its President and CEO Rolf Schnyder is a special friend I have known for a long time since the early days when I started collecting watches. I did a Timezone dinner some 12 years ago with Rolf as the guest of honour at a now defunct restaurant in Novena, and we had great fun.

And St. Julien is a special restaurant too...one of the three great French (or French inspired) kitchens in Singapore...the other 2 being Les Amis and St. Pierre (Iggy's is a bit more avant garde than French, in my view). Chef Julien Bompard has made a name for himself around the world before settling down in Singapore and opening his signature restaurant at the Lighthouse...a interesting building, perched at the edge of the Fullerton Bridge, and with a wonderful, though small dining room overlooking the Sheares Bridge.

The interior of the restaurant was beautiful as well...nice decor...while still retaining the small, quaint feel.

The starters were presented, an assortment of niceties:

A scoop of Avruga caviar, a medley of cod and potato with rosemary oil. The caviar was quite good...not a bit of the sometimes oily taste, and not too salty either. Smooth, luxurious, explode in your mouth umami flavour.

Next up, the soup of a lobster bisque with a Hokkaido scallop.

A whole scallop, braised in a thick, rich sauce. The soup was robust, rich tasting of crustaceans. The scallop was fresh, sweet, and very nice.

The Foie Gras was then presented pan seared in a mushroom sauce with Argan oil:

This was beautiful, not only to look at, but also to taste. The foie gras was a rather generous slice, cooked perfect. The outside seared almost to a caramalised crisp, the insides still soft, tender, gooey almost...and bursting with the fat and umami. Wonderful. Very good.

For my main course, I had the confit du carnard, with a mesclun salad and orange sauce:

This was a bit disappointing. Especially with a chef with the reputation of Julien Bompard, the duck leg was delivered in a state I would reject. The skin was not crisp, having probably sat in the heater for too long...and as I had suspected, when I cut it open the meat was dry, a tad over-seasoned with salt, and lifeless. No charateristic duck flavour, no sweetness, no tenderness. Disappointing.

Meanwhile, the wine selected was excellent. I forget the names, though remembered they complemented the food very well...including the heavy red I had with the duck. Delicious and full.

Dessert was a chocholate combo:

This dish presented a glimpse of the brilliance of the Pastry Chef. The dark, rich chocolate was well complimented with the condiments...the chef had the balance to present this not too sweet but just enough to round off the meal.

Le Saint Julien - Restaurant
3 Fullerton Road #02-01
The Fullerton Water Boat House Singapore 049215
Tel: +65 65345947
Website: www.saintjulien.com.sg
6509 0908
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