Chefs don’t make it easy for us food journos these days.
They sometimes love labelling their cuisines with fancy names— ‘Ultra-progressive’ and ‘Gastro-Botanica’, to name a few—and giving us a little headache as we try to define their food for our readers. The latest phrase to join this circle of abstract culinary vernacular is ‘Essential Cuisine’, coined by Julien Royer. Royer, who left his four-tenure at JAAN last year, is now chef-owner of Odette, a restaurant named after his grandmother. This elegant 32-seater checks all the boxes for destination dining, from the striking interior of its National Gallery Singapore location, to the posh interior of carefully ironed tablecloths and plush pastel banquettes.
But let’s get the culinary semantics out of the way: Royer’s food is, in our books, modern French, which is good news for those who enjoyed his oeuvre at JAAN. His trademarks are on show here, such as the use of top ingredients, and the deft balance of flavours and textures. What he has taken up a notch is the presentation of dishes, some of which resemble plated Zen gardens. Take for example, the Heirloom Beetroot Variation, a burgundy-hued medley of beetroot meringues, jellies and sorbet that stands out like a mystical landscape on its gravel-coloured plate. We love the Challans Guinea Fowl, which is served as a leg confit and a charcoal-grilled breast, each serving to highlight the different flavours and textures of this aromatic bird. Odette is a stunning addition to our restaurant scene, and it’s a home-grown brand we can be proud of.
Four- or six-course menus at lunch; six- or eight-course tasting menus at dinner.
1 St. Andrew’s Road, #01-04 National Gallery Singapore. Tel: 6385 0498