Former JAAN chef Julien Royer opens a beautiful restaurant with The Lo and Behold Group at National Gallery Singapore, which serves pretty-plated modern French cuisine
Fine-dining restaurants in Singapore aren’t typically known for being cute or fun. But, chef-owner Julien Royer is lightening things up in curious, little ways at his stylish new restaurant, Odette, at National Gallery Singapore, a joint dining venture with local lifestyle giant The Lo & Behold Group.
How does Royer do it? Through careful and oh-so delightful presentations of his amazing French creations. For starters, the canapés consist of chilli crab espuma in nostalgic kueh pie tee shells; little pillows of crunchy charcoal pita bread with smoked aubergine, blue cheese pear crackers, and tiny handmade tart, which is artfully assembled by the waiter on your palm. Then came the mushroom tea with porcini brioche, served on an Odette-branded, mushroom-shaped wooden board. We also ooh-ed at the 55-degree smoked organic egg that was brought to us in the ubiquitous cardboard egg tray with dry ice (then poured into a separate plate of root veggies and truffle shavings), and squealed a little when the Mozambique langoustine with Oscietra caviar, uni and a mussel ‘cloud’ arrived in an adorable glass bowl with blunt protruding spikes.
The lightness of Odette also extends to the pretty, 32-seat space. Designed by London’s famed Universal Design Studio (UDS) with overall creative direction led by Singaporean artist Dawn Ng, the light-filled restaurant is elegant and airy, thanks to a soft colour palette of grey, white, gold and beige, clean geometric lines, and the captivating mobile-like ceiling installation in the middle of the restaurant handcrafted by Ng. A large pane of glass gives you a glimpse into the kitchen – without the noise and smoke – at the same time creating a sense of openness and honesty that restaurant strives to bring to its guests.
Needless to say, the food is as exquisite as they look. Royer’s deep respect for seasonality, terroir and artisanal produce means that you get a taste of the best there is out there in the world – well, at least to the chef, and he deserves our whole-hearted trust. Following the coma-inducing uni-caviar extravaganza comes the complex and impressive heirloom beetroot variation: the root vegetable is meringue, reduction, sorbet and soil all in a plate. Sure, it’s over-the-top for a vegetable dish, but it’ll make even the hardest beetroot haters wipe the plate clean.
The delight ensues with the sweet and succulent hand-picked Scottish scallop, which sits on juicy, smokey pieces of Kurobuta pork belly, and a oh-so tender guinea fowl from Challans accented with celery risotto and foie gras-Burgundy-truffle veloute. Finished at the table is the seemingly unassuming but amazing Williams pear comme un milefeuille, which we wolfed down every bit of crumb despite full and satisfied stomachs.
Lunch here are either a four-course meal at $88 or a six-course at $128. But really, the thing to do is dinner – choose either a six- ($208) or a eight-course ($268) – and to make an occasion of it, especially when you may need to wait up to a month for a table. It’ll be worth it.
Odette, #01-04 National Gallery Singapore, 1 St Andrew’s Road, Singapore 178957, p. 6385 0498. Open Mon 7pm-9pm; Tue-Sat 12pm-1.30pm; 7pm-9pm.