Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Nicolas Le Restaurant (Singapore)

We used to go to a French restaurant in Bangkok practically every week called Le Vendome. The chef of the restaurant was Chef Nicolas Joanny. Everyone I knew who was a foodie in Bangkok loved Le Vendome and the cooking of Chef Niciolas. We could not get enough of his amazing food. Then one day Chef Nicolas got married to a lovely Singaporean woman and Chef Nicolas decided to leave Bangkok and move to Singapore to open his own restaurant. It was a sad day when we all heard the bad news. That was around three years ago.

We decided to take a weekend trip to Singapore to meet a friend, go shopping and eat good food. Of course the first dinner we wanted was to eat at Chef Nicolas's restaurant.

The restaurant is in a very popular area where there are beautifully restored pre-war shophouses in art-deco architectural styles. The area has some of the trendiest restaurants, bars & boutique hotels. The culture-rich area is in Keong Saik Street.

The first dish was razor clams. The razor clams were so fresh, they had good texture & were not too chewy which was a good thing. They tasted wonderful.

The second dish was langoustine (bay shrimp) bisque. The langoustine was fresh, firm & soaked up the bisque. The bisque was thick, creamy & had intense langoustine flavour. An amazing dish.

The next dish was cabillaud (cod fish). The fish was cooked perfectly...still rare in the middle. This dish did not have lots of colours or flavours to spoil the star of the dish...the cabillaud. This dish showed lots of thought and care in preparing it. Truly great!

The next dish was grilled Hokkaido scallops. The scallops just melted in the mouth. They were tender, soft & velvety.

The next dish was steamed Japanese hen egg with Iberico ham. What can I say about this dish! It is a dream. The rich & intensely flavoured steamed egg was thick, rich and creamy. It is too bad that the egg is so small because I could have eaten more. The Iberico ham was a great contrast to the egg. The ham was tender, juicy and was delicious.

The next dish was pigeon from the Loire Valley. The pigeon was cooked perfectly...rare. The pigeon was so tender, moist and tasted very good.

The dessert was a chocolate & vanilla dessert prepared in different ways. The chocolate mouse, vanilla foam and vanilla fondant on top of a chocolate crust were all amazingly intense in taste and delicious. I hate desserts that are too sweet; these three were just right.

The open kitchen. Its amazing that all the food is cooked right in front of us. The restaurant must have a very strong exhaust system because the room did not fill up with smoke and it did not smell of food. Seeing the action from all the chefs was part of the fun at eating at Nicolas.

The dining room only has six tables, six bar stools to eat at the counter and a private room in the back. Since the restaurant is small the restaurant fills up every night. Which is a good thing for Chef Nicolas.

It was great seeing Chef Nicolas again and eating his wonderful food again. It brought very good memories of when he was cooking in Bangkok. I am too biased but I think Chef Nicolas's cooking is creative yet not too modern, simple yet full of wonderful tastes & flavours and well thought out and perfectly executed.

If Chef Nicolas ever returned back to Bangkok...legions of foodies will for sure be happy again!

31 Keong Saik Road
Singapore 089138
Tel: +65 62242404

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