Set in the beautiful, newly renovated National Gallery, is Odette the best French restaurant in Asia?
Given its 2 Michelin Stars, number 9 position on the newly published Asias 50 best restaurants & the Head-Chef Julien Royer at the helm, you would certainly expect it to up there.
Odette is most definitely a special occasion restaurant. It’s a beautiful venue, oozing calm serenity and class, with flawless service. Even the popular format of the open kitchen is slick as hell. A sliding glass door floats open and closed as the silent army of staff step in and out to collect the stunning plates of food from the chefs hard at work within. Chef Julien watches over it all, checking each dish and then the delighted reactions. He also makes every effort to mingle & chat with the guests.
The format is a 7 course tasting menu plus all the obligatory treats & extras. T
he food is inspired by Chefs 4 generations of French farmers, in particular his grandmother, Odette. It is based on taking simple ingredients and transforming them into remarkable dishes.
We won’t go through all the courses but to touch on those that really stood out. The pre-starter was a stunning mushroom broth, served & poured at the table from a cafetière. It came alongside a soft, buttery, flakey, warm, naughty brioche. My god it was heaven. Since we are on it, don’t even get started on the bread selection. Too good for words, but trust us, a trip to Odette could even be worth it for some bread alone.
Another knockout was the “heirloom beetroot variation”, so much more than any beetroot dish we’ve experienced. It came with sorbet, meringue, horseradish, crumb & somehow worked as a savoury work of art.
Next was the foie gras, seared and served with ginger quinoa and compressed persimmon. I have to say, this was the dish we enjoyed least. I’m not a fan of foie gras & this piece unfortunately did not change my mind. Well seared but so gelatinous in texture, even Charlie (lover of foie gras) wasn’t entirely convinced. But here’s where Odette stands out on service. The wonderful waitress noticed we hadn’t cleared our plates, and asked if we would prefer an alternative. Being greedy, we said yes. Out came the most fantastic plate of vegetables you could eat. Just veg – potato, turnip, mushroom. God knows what they did to it but it was veg on another level. We were really grateful for this extra treat.
The main course was pigeon served three ways. We were first presented with our bird, resting on a bed of rosemary, before it was carved back in the kitchen, with the breast served alongside confit leg and liver parfait. Texture was added with hazelnuts & buckwheat blinis. It was excellent.
We finished off with a stunning dessert. Lemon tart, with dots of rich, zingy curd, sitting on a crisp biscuit base. It was a wonderful, refreshing end to a stunning tasting menu.
Of course the end is never quite the end in these places. We were treated to a little birthday cake with candle as well as a selection of petit fours that were as delicate & perfect as you could ask for.
As we got our bags to leave, the maitre de presented us with a beautiful box to take home as a memory of our evening. Enclosed was a blackcurrant jam, which is still unopened at home but will be a fond reminder of what was a special evening in a world-class restaurant.
We would certainly recommend it, but brace yourselves for a chunky bill. Food & service like that doesn’t come cheap.
Odette, National Gallery, Singapore