Louis Pacquelin is an Alain Ducasse protege through and through, so you’ll be hard put not to find any of the master chef’s influence at the new Clos Pasoh, which is chef Pacquelin’s tribute to the cuisine he grew up with.
“I started working under Alain Ducasse when I was 16 years old,” says the 30-something chef who was last at the helm of BBR by Alain Ducasse at Raffles Hotel. “I would not be where I am right now if not for him – I’ve known him for more than half of my life. Ducasse will always be a mentor to me and his values are ingrained in my culinary DNA.”
He’s since taken that to his own venture, which he is helming with his partner Jean-Christophe Cadoret, who approached him last May with the idea of a brasserie in mind.
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He describes the food at Clos Pasoh as “new school French”, which is a shift from fine dining. “The flavours remain true to the brasserie dishes that inspired me, but I’ve reinterpreted them to appeal to a new generation of diners. That means familiar flavours which are light and clean, with a bit of acidity or heat to brighten the lightness of the dishes. We also use very little butter or cream.”
Mr Cadoret says that they poured a six-figure investment into Clos Pasoh. “When I shared the idea of opening a restaurant with Chef Louis, I knew I wanted a space with a lot of greenery. Especially after the Circuit Breaker, people don’t want to box themselves into tight, crowded spaces. Clos Pasoh’s location in a 1840s heritage building offers a little bit of what we have been missing outdoors.”
The interiors are a combination of Pierre Frey wallpaper against Ong Shunmugam furniture, “with design motifs that pay homage to Singapore’s lush greenery,” he adds. “There’s a touch of modern French design and some hints of Art Deco.” In addition to the dining room and chef’s table, there’s also a terrace that overlooks Bukit Pasoh and a wine and cheese room.
Running his own restaurant is a whole different world from just running a kitchen, says Chef Pacquelin who also recruited three former colleagues from BBR to join him. “Now you have to factor in budget, manpower and supplies while working under time constraints.”
For sure, a lot of decision-making is required, but choosing to open Clos Pasoh is likely to be the best one he’s made.
This article was originally published in The Business Times.