Brasserie Les Saveurs: Au revoir mates

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One look at the French Chef de Cuisine, Antoine Bonnet, and I was picturing the glorious moments of sunset, the tangled manes of a horse, carefree, and a whisperer on its back, preened and glistening under the rays. No, I'm getting way ahead of myself. The feast he produced for us though was a real spectacle, refined french fare showcasing the authenticity of honestly good ingredients. The 'riding into the sunset' moment has to wait.

Dinner was at Brasserie Les Saveurs at the outskirts of the St. Regis Hotel main lobby, stowed away at the back of the entrance; almost like a secret enclave. Luxe materials drape the room and chandeliers illuminate the velvety interiors of the wide space. I, for one, was enchanted; but refused to judge the book by its covers.

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Hence, the speculation began with the amuse bouche. Pan Seared Scallop with Potato Espuma with sesame oil. Brilliant sear on the scallop, the espuma delightfully seasoned, still I was expecting a bit more aeration in it. We trudge on. Dinner begins to look like a magical fairytale waiting to be unveiled.

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The next dish that arrived at our tables did not tickle my fancy at all. Salad Nicoise ($36), a pedestrian dish uplifted only by the inclusion of more exquisite ingredients in there that possibly lead to its dismayed performance in my books. Blame me, I'm averse towards anchovies and artichokes.

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Thank goodness for the Bouillabaisse Facon Les Saveurs($19)that followed closely. This resonated closely with me, mainly because Provencal French dishes are right up my alley. The rich broth flavored with Pernod (French made anise flavored liquer), saffron and star anise was a luscious shade of red, I greedily lapped up the lot. Snacking on the expertly prepared minuscule buffet of seafood. Served with garlic toasts with a saffron flavored mayonnaise dip, this was a combination delicious on its own and left me bewildered as to how to enjoy them simultaneously.

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The Chillax Lobster, aka Le Homard Thermidor($75) was the next to grace the table, its idle posture, a contrast to the tedious work that went on behind the kitchen. Hailing from Brittany, the delicate flesh of the lobster was sauteed with white wine and cognac and served with sauteed spinach and lobster emulsion. Until this day, I dream about the pincers which have been fried in contrast to the rest of it's body. A technique that still managed to yield soft sweet crustacean flesh that was seductively crisp around the ages.

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Nothing speaks haute cuisine quite like table side service. A rare and dying art, we were fortunate to be able to embrace that experience; even if it only meant the carving of a gargantuan roasted prime rib rack. On a fashion savvy trolley nonetheless, the chefs approach the table with stark professionalism and nimble fingers, presenting each diner with the Australian Prime Rib ($48), roasted potatoes and tomatoes on the side with either a wine reduction jus or horseradish sauce on the side. I adored the piquancy of the latter and how it complimented the raw flavors of the meat. I kid you not, since my portion was carved out of the middle section of the massive chunk, it leaned towards the rare side, the throbbing bluish red flesh a tad too under done for my liking. Could they have asked for a preference in doneness? Don't know how that's done with tableside service...

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Dessert came in the form of chocolate bon bons (which we sneaked into our bellies before the main course even began, naughty...), some laced with alcohol and a variation of subtle flavors, this demonstrated the well-rounded skills of the in-house pastry chefs present in St Regis Hotel. However, our main dessert of Le Gateau A La Banane ($14) (despite it's sweet intentions), left much to be desired. From my guess, it featured an almond financier base, apricot jelly flavored with tea and banana mousse. The banana flavor in the mousse was not robust enough and the ginger as proclaimed in the ice cream was almost non-existent. The mango salsa on the other hand was divine, a titillating balance of sweet and acidity.

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Well, that rounds off my last food review in Singapore for the past year. Work beckons for me in Australia and to my dearest foodie friends that I've left behind in Sunny Singapore, Thank You for all the well wishes! I shall be back for the occasional visits (or back for good if things don't work out for me. *Touch wood*). To those longing for a piece of greener grass, head on over to my Aussie version of my blog at SNAP EAT LOVE.

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Brasserie Les Saveurs
St Regis Hotel
Lobby Level
29 Tanglin Road
Singapore 297911
Tel: +65 65066860

Clifford: Not so fine dining

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In light of a recent festive occasion (my mother's yearly statistical increase of nagginess level), we chose to bask in the laps of luxury of the Clifford Restaurant located at Fullerton Bay hotel.

Ushered to our tables, I was floored by the beautifully outfitted dining room. Gorgeous woodgrain dining tables and chairs with a lavish touch of red fabric throughout. The lovely table lamps emitting a pale glistening of light that provided the ideal intimate settings for a hearty meal with loved ones; (though I imagine having a male companion would be tons more interesting)

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To kickstart the evening, we were treated to baskets of bread served with french butter on the side and a lovely duck rilette served in miniature ceramic pots. I adored the pate and completely broke my 'less-carbs' rule with the delicious tango of flavors between the warm slightly crisp bread and the well balanced pate.

My starter of Hokkaido sea scallop and Boston lobster carpaccio with black truffles vinaigrette ($28++) was a real piece of art work on the plate, unfortunately, failed to deliver in the taste department. The overpowering acidity of the vinaigrette blocking out the sweetness of the fresh scallop and lobster completely, the thinly sliced shards of black truffle lost in translation.

The Chicken Salade Caesar fared much better with the poached chicken slices drizzled in a light dressing stealing the limelight. The foccacia croutons were absolutely addictive in this dish. Note that the portion size was a tad big for a starter so you might want to consider sharing. (be nice...)

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For the mains, it was a toss-up between the duck confit and the Wagyu Foie Gras Burger which I eventually leaned towards since we all know the pulsating effects of burgers on my teensie heart. Aged cheddar, caramelised onion jam and a slab of seared foie gras complete with truffle fries. This sounds like an absolutely dream on paper, lamentably, the entire dish just didn't sit well with me. The burger buns which were in all honesty nothing to boast about had been completely soaked through from the tomato slice which sat so unstrategically at the bottom of the burger. The patty lacked seasoning on any level and hence the lavishness of the foie gras forced the make-up of the dish into borderline clunkiness. And if you were hoping for the truffle fries to act as redemption, they weren't. The truffle flavor was way muted and perhaps I've been spoilt by at least double fried potato standards; hence these left much to be desired. I was upset... hence the continuation into dessert.

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Tarte tatin for two, was enjoyable. Love the touch of caramel on the plate that elevated the simple dish to a higher level. The Chocolate Moelleux was yet again another flop with a non-existent liquid center, I did love the crust that had emerged on the rich chocolate brownie like cake, but that aside, I was sorely disappointed.

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Petit fours were brought to the table at the end of the night. I wish they hadn't since these outsourced beauties did nothing to justify the tummy space they had taken up. The macarons were just wrong; and the kueh lapis was a dried up mess. Pardon my straightforwardness in this post that may come across a bit crude but restaurants like these should serve food befitting of its image. It's a shame how one can dine in such resplendent settings and yet be served such mediocre food.

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Clifford Restaurant
The Fullerton Bay Hotel
80 Collyer Quay

P.S. I would like to announce the launch of my SYD edition blog over at Snap Eat Love. Do 'like' my Facebook page for updates about my foodie escapades in Sydney!