TAKE everything you know about a three Michelin-starred dining experience: The immaculate presentation; finicky details; luxurious ingredients; polished cooking. Stuff all that in a bag and you have Odette at Home – one of the fanciest meals you can have without having to dress up for it.
That’s assuming you don’t have an inexplicable urge to enforce a dress code at your own dining table to match the menu that you’ve picked – in our case the “cheapest” Decouverte menu (S$188) and a couple of extra ala carte items because we were afraid we might get hungry.
You might be asking now – Odette is already open for dining in, why are you still messing around boiling vacuum sealed bags, mixing salads and cranking up your oven to reheat tarts a la Circuit Breaker?
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Yes, we fear a second Covid wave, but the other reason also explains why Julien Royer isn’t just an acclaimed chef but a savvy restaurateur. When he introduced home delivery for the first time, he inadvertently found himself a new audience – peripheral diners curious about Odette but unwilling/shy/unable to get a reservation to try the cuisine. It wasn’t cheap – albeit a soft nick to the wallet than a deep gash – but it was a non-intimidating way to have three-star cooking and all the BYO you want.
Which is why, even though he temporarily stopped delivery when Odette was back in full swing, chef Royer has since rolled out Phase 2 of Odette At Home – not from the flagship kitchen but as a separate operation.
It’s perfect for when you’re just not up to the full-on fine dining ritual and the price point of S$248 (lunch) or S$358 (dinner), but still fancy a treat. While you can go a level up and order the Indulgence set (still a relative bargain at S$288 which feeds two) the Decouverte menu is not to be sniffed at.
You start off with a thick 250gm slice of Pate en croute de Tradition Bourgeoise (S$48 if you order it ala carte) that you release from its sealed plastic bag along with very fresh salad greens to be tossed in truffle vinaigrette.
It’s textbook perfect, with tender pastry encasing a thick block of pleasantly gamey, chunky pork and fat mixture and a layer of wobbly foie gras in the middle. A lovely layer of meat jelly between the pork and crust completes it.
Act out your inner French grandmother by heating up the main course – Poularde de Bresse au Vin Jaune (S$128 ala carte) – in a Le Creuset pot, stirring this classic white wine and cream-infused stew of browned Bresse chicken parts studded with lots of morel mushrooms.
But the real winner is the accompanying Niigata rice, chewy with bits of claypot rice-style crust and topped with a bonus of crumbled crispy chicken skin.
Years in Singapore have no doubt taught chef Royer the way to a Singaporean’s heart. Even if creamy chicken stew is not in our DNA, the rice easily pulls it across the cultural boundary.
While you don’t really need it, La Truffade (S$48) takes potato, cheese and cream and wraps your heart with it. Don’t over boil the plastic pack or you get a layer of oil around the potatoes but it’s still gooey and cheesy and satisfying, if oversalted.
What’s a must though is the Tart Riviera (S$78) – pricey but a decadent tango of buttery, flaky, whispery pastry and a swirl of intricately coiled layers of shaved zucchini and eggplant, with strips of intense confit tomato to cut through the richness.
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For dessert, the Decouverte menu includes Yuzu Blanc-Manger – two clouds of wispy yuzu whipped meringue atop citrusy custard in a super thin brittle cookie shell. If you want more of where that came from, top up with a trio of tartlets (S$38) which comprise yuzu tart, strawberry and chocolate tonka bean. Otherwise, the freshly-baked chouquettes (S$18) are little puffs of sugar-studded choux puffs that quickly disappear into thin air.
While this is clearly Odette-light, with straightforward food that’s not even close to what you will get when chef Royer himself finishes a dish at your table (you can be sure he doesn’t over boil anything), it’s an enjoyable fuss-free experience that you can have more times than a meal at the main restaurant. If that’s the point of Odette at Home, then chef Royer has you hooked.
Odette At Home
Available from Wed to Sun only
This article was originally published in The Business Times.