[dropcap size=small]C[/dropcap]hef Julien Royer’s runaway success at Jaan made the opening of his first venture late in 2015 the most highly anticipated debut on the Singapore dining scene. Named after his grandmother, Odette offers both a superlative dining experience and a mildly disappointing one, the latter only because of our faith in his tremendous talent.
Make no mistake, Odette is fully deserving of its Best New Restaurant – Western award. Having a meal here is a sumptuous experience from the get-go. The cream-on-cream dining room is swank, the seats are plush and the service is accommodating and knowledgeable. Every dish comes with an explanation of the ingredients and cooking technique. And when we ask to split the six-course and eight-course set menus into seven courses each, the request is gamely obliged.
The wine list, too, is decadent. First growths – Latour, Lafite, Haut-Brion and the like, not to mention a bottle of Romanee-Conti going for $21,500 – segues into a selection of wines classified by grapes. Head sommelier Vincent Tan had stints at Shelter in the Woods and Corner House before joining Odette for Royer’s first outing.
Followers of the French chef will recognise his distinctive touches. A farm boy who grew up amid produce, Royer gives vegetables star billing alongside seafood and meat. The Heirloom Beetroot Variation, where the root is prepared and presented in different ways – sliced and smoked, as a meringue and sorbet, for example – is a standout in its ability to surprise and delight.
The same meticulous attention to detail is evident in every dish, where disparate flavours work together to complement and enhance the whole. Lemon quinoa and miso caramel, for instance, add crunch and contrast to seared foie gras’ fatty flavours. To be sure, each course is a showcase of the chef’s flair and ingenuity.
So, is it petty for Royer watchers to want more? While it’s understandable that the multiple award-winner includes some of his creations from Jaan on Odette’s menu, we think he has the talent to further innovate and propel Odette ahead of the pack. But we won’t wait until then to visit again.
(CONTINUE READING: Royer tells all about conceptualising Odette.)
#01-04 National Gallery Singapore