2 ✻ Michelin Guide Singapore 2016
visited May 2016
Offering elevated French cuisine with a contemporary edge, Robuchon’s Atelier concept is not exactly novel, with numerous similar establishments across the globe. Despite that, I found my recent trip there (shortly before it was featured in the Guide) impressive enough.
I opted for the 10-course discovery menu, which is the full tasting menu served both at lunch and dinner. This was my maiden visit to the Atelier in Singapore and I found the French cuisine with touches of modernist influence served up generally pleasant and finessed.
Lunch started started off with some champagne and a generous helping of bread with all your usual types. In hindsight what strikes me the most is their bread made with sun-dried tomatoes, not the only place that does it, to be sure, but theirs was a light fluffy affair with a terrific zing to it and little pieces of sun-dried tomato baked within.
The amuse bouche was a foie gras custard with red porto wine and parmesan foam. The dish was served in a little shot glass with a thin interface of the porto separating the foam and the foie gras. Great texture and intensity of flavours. The lightness of the parmesan foam prevented it from being overpowering and I found the dish a well-balanced one.
Up next was le caviar imperial, a dish consisting of exquisite tongues of sea urchin and a helping of imperial caviar on a bed of green pea cream. Finished with little cubes of dashi jelly and garnished with tiny shiso flowers, the dish looked absolutely immaculate on the plate, and tasted just as good. No denying the dish’s debt to Japanese cuisine here, but it’s the green pea cream, with all its wonderful smoothness and vegetal saltiness that brings together what might otherwise be a trite medley of overused Japanese ingredients. On the palate, the sea urchin and the pea cream seem to melt into the ultimate union of flavour and texture, so dazzlingly similar yet undoubtedly distinguishable. Impressive.
A cauliflower risotto arrived next, a clean-tasting dish with light, subtle flavours. Several clams and tiny pieces of chorizo within which lifted up the overall flavour profile of the dish. Risotto had a good texture and the portion was just right, a pleasantly simple dish overall that paved the way for the subsequent dish:
L’artichaut. A vegetable dish which really brought out the best of the produce. The baby artichoke was served fried alongside chickpeas and smoked red bell pepper. The smoked red bell pepper was truly exceptional: a smooth sauce streaked on the plate, with all the bite of a red pepper thoroughly elevated with a sweet smokiness.
This was followed by a morel mushroom dish served with a foie gras fondant. Pleasant accompaniment here but perhaps some finer details were lost on me and I found it a little underwhelming.
The sixth course in the tasting menu was roasted turbot with a stuffed zucchini flower. Succulent portion of roasted turbot that was perfectly seasoned, with an elegant sweetness coming through from the fish itself. The real surprise, however, came in the crisped zucchini flower, which was stuffed, and when opened, revealed a cache of finely diced vegetables seasoned with some deeply salty sauce. Magnificent dish with impeccable plating to boot.
Our mains arrived next. This was a choice between a Wagyu steak and quail, and somewhat craving a gamey bird, I opted for the quail. Unfortunately, I found the quail somewhat lacking – the flesh clung to the bones and the texture of the meat was not all that tender. A disappointment coming from a 2-star restaurant.
Two desserts followed our mains, a blackcurrant sorbet with two light sauces of papaya and guava. A pleasant surprise to see regional fruits on the menu, and the dish did not disappoint, with individual fruits well articulated, neither cloying nor dull. The second dessert was a flowing chocolate araguani served atop a mint sorbet. Refreshing icy sensation from the mint sorbet and deep powerful notes from the dark chocolate. Faultless desserts overall, although plating was not quite up to standard here.
The meal came to a conclusion with espresso and a little biscotti. No petit fours, which was a little unfortunate, but I was feeling satiated at this point and did not especially crave them anyway. Robuchon is one the heavyweights in modern french cuisine, and I was pleased to see several strong dishes such as the imperial caviar and roasted turbot on the menu of his Singapore outpost. However, the only meat dish on the menu failed to deliver and the absence of petit fours at the end was somewhat annoying. On the whole though, it was an enjoyable meal which showcased the upper end of Robuchon’s ability, even if it was not the most french of french restaurants.
cuisine: 20/25 | aesthetic: 12/15 | technicality: 12/15 | originality: 12/15 | ambience: 11/15 | service: 6/10 | value: 3/5