Few restaurant openings can set the city abuzz like Odette did a year and a half ago. It had the makings of a winner: an impassioned chef whose star was rising, one of the biggest names in the lifestyle industry as partner, and a venue befitting chef Julien Royer’s plating artistry.
Even with sky-high expectations in place, the Odette team came out ahead, serving what was undeniably one of the finest dining experiences in the city and bagging our Best New Restaurant – Western award handily. A year on, one question invariably surfaces. What’s next for the farm boy who’s at last living the culinaire dream?
For Royer, the answer seems to be polishing his repertoire to the point of perfection. You’ll see the usual suspects on the six- and eight-course sets (stalwarts from his time at Jaan), alongside masterful presentations of seasonal produce. Has the novelty of the billowing 55-degree smoked egg tray worn off by now?
The head says yes, but the taste buds say no. Nothing quite satisfies the palate like the golden goop that coats the mouth in eggy richness, tempered by the crunch of piquant chorizo iberico. An undercurrent of smokiness on the tongue is augmented by heady fumes seeping from the inverted glass censer containing still-smoking pine leaves. Inimitable is clearly what Royer has been gunning for and, by all accounts, the dish has approached near-perfection and is synonymous with the French chef.
Service is as crisp as the starched linen, with a well-paced explanation of every picture-ready dish, before the jus is ladled on. We throw curveballs at the sommelier. “Those are sea grapes – but that’s a type of seaweed, actually,” he says of the rarely used ingredient. The wine pairings are almost as spot-on, with multiple bold decisions paying off. That’s no mean feat, considering the complexity of Royer’s layered compositions.
It’s doubtless by now that food at Odette will never disappoint. But when will it surprise again in that trademark Royer fashion? At this outing, we saw a shift towards ingredients of Asian origin, and are already on the edge of our seats for the next.
#01-04, National Gallery Singapore, S(178957)