During my short visit to Singapore in May 2022, I had booked a lunch reservation at Odette. A fantastic French restaurant housed in the National Gallery in Singapore helmed by French Chef, Julien Royer. It has garnered quite of list of recognitions including #8 World’s 50 Best 2021, #8 Asia’s 50 Best 2022, and 3 Michelin Stars. I first learned about Odette when my sister visited in 2016 and then when a former chef under Julien, Kai, returned to Taiwan to open Tairroir. Then came the perfect opportunity as I had not returned to Singapore in years, and finally this trip I had the time and chance to go.
Chef Julien aims to bring a sense of place to his food. As such the food here, while French at its core, utilizes many local ingredients and flavors as well. The heart of the philosophy is bringing authenticity and nature to the table as he was inspired by his childhood foraging and cooking straight from the gardens of his home in France. In fact, the restaurant is named after his Grandmother who inspired and taught him a lot.
I was impressed. It was one of those rare meals where truly every dish from start to finish was good, some simply sensational. True to his philosophy, Chef Julien and head chef Adam Wan (who was leading that day), have curated dishes that truly let the natural flavors and textures of the ingredients themselves shine. Well paced, perfect portion sizes so you werent left hungry nor did I feel stuffed. Service was polished but down to earth and friendly, not at all overwhelming, stuck-up or pretentious, and everyone was knowledgable and super well-trained, a very well orchestrated service flow. I was een asked after the first few courses if the pacing was to my liking and if I needed it to slow down or if I needed to hurry somewhere after the meal. The wine pairing is a must do here, they choose a fun selection of unique wines you do not always see in pairings or in stores and it is truly a pairing for each dish rather than a flow of bubbly to white to red and dessert. Ambiance is inviting, airy yet sophisticated with warm / light pink and white pastel tones balanced with fine edged sculptures and fixtures. There is also a lot of small and fine details in the china, glassware and utensils used throughout the meal.
Reservations open 60 days in advance and can be made online through Odette’s website. Children age 7 and above welcome. There is a smart casual dress code, most people wear at least collared shirts and slacks and the ladies mainly in nice dresses.
Lunch starts at 12:00PM, with last seating at 1:15/1:30, dinner begins at 6:30PM, with last seating at 8:15/8:30. Expect your meal to take around 2.5 hours.
Lunch menu: 6 courses; classic: 298 SGD, seasonal indulgence: 398 SGD; seasonal supplements available as well, it was blue lobster when I went, and is offered as a replacement course or an additional course.
Dinner menu: 7 courses, a 328 and 428 SGD menu available
Wine pairing at lunch: 225 SGD, 6 pours, additional options available for supplement as well
My reservation was at 12PM and I ended up arriving just before noon but was nonetheless allowed in and was shown to my seat. I was surprised and happy that they put me right in front of the glass lined “open kitchen” which allowed me a front row seat to the action. This was also nice in that as a solo diner they set up my table so I faced the kitchen and my back was towards the rest of the dining room, so it was far less awkward for me. The crowd at lunch on a Wednesday were a mix of business lunches, tourists, friends, housewives and I did notice a handful of other solo diners as well, so a nice balanced mix!
At my table was a bag with hand sanitizer, a face mask envelope. I was then brought a hot towel and the menu. The menu was explained to me before I was given some time to review and contemplate. I opted for the classic menu even though the seasonal indulgence did look enticing, but I was here to try Chef Julien’s signature masterpieces. I also opted for the wine pairing and did not browse the wine list.
Shortly, my table was cleared and the meal commenced.
The aperitif cart was rolled out with a wide selection of primarily Champagne and Roses, some unique smaller labels as well as big ones were available to choose. I went for a Rose from Chartogne-Taillet.
Trio of Amuse Bouche: cheese cracker, onion tart (amazing), fish taco
Amuse Bouche #2: the famous Mushroom Tea with cep sabayon with mushroom brioche. It is first brought out with the mushroom brioche laid on a wooden server with some charred wild mushrooms and leaves. The cup housing the cep sabayon is in the shape of a mushroom. This dish was lovely. Earthy, not overly salty though.
Susana Balbo, Barrel Fermented Torrontes 2020
Spanish olive oil
Herb butter, and warm breads
First official dish. Normandy brown crab: avocado, nashi pear, coriandor. I honestly think this was my favorite of the day. It was so good, soft crunchy chewy. Tart, sweet, fresh.
Seghesio, Sonoma, Zinfandel, 2017
Heirloom Beetroot Variation: salt-baked beetroot, stracciatella “artigiana”, honey. Beetroot sorbet, smoked beetroot, roasted beetroot, beetroot emulsion. I thought this was very neat is an embodiment of the restaurant’s philosophy and approach to cuisine. Showcasing all that a beetroot has to offer in a variety of cooking methods and techniques all presented in one dish to create varied textures and flavors that a beetroot, apparently, can offer
Domaine de Montbourgeau, Jura L’etoile, 2017
Rosemary Smoked Organic Egg, smoked potato syphon, chorizo iberico, meuniere. Probably the restaurant’s most famous dish, namely for its dramatic presentation of dry ice, smoked and fresh rosemary, egg carton plating, foam and more. But it does also taste great. Of course a bit salty due to the iberico chorizo, but the smokiness and herbal flavors of the rosemary with the natural rich and sweetness of the organic egg went nicely with the fatty saltiness of the chorizo.
Abbatucci, Corsica, General de la Revolution, 2017. It was my first time having wine from Corisca, and I appreciated the explanation behind the label, an ode to Napoleon, as well as excitement to pour more unique wines like one from Corisca.
BBQ Kinki fish, celtuce, coquillages (seafoods of clams and squid), watercress. This dish was beautifully textured.
Averyon Lamb presentation, so beautiful.
Prieure St. Christophe, Savoie, Mondeuse, 2018
Averyon Lamb, quinoa, Amalfi lemon, jus tranche, artichoke. Lamb belly, lamb loin and one more part i forget. Phenomenally cooked lamb, not gamey or lamby at all.
Cheese cart with great explanation of my choices, was even asked what style or textures or flavors I would prefer and if I wanted a full or half portion serving. I went with half and a mix of soft and hard cheese.
Fleur de Marquis, Ossau Iraty, Salers with a walnut vinaigrette salad, I appreciated a salad pairing rather than more carbs with crackers.
Sommelier presented me with port/fortified wine options to go with cheese and was able to try both before deciding, went with Maury, Mas Amiel 1980 as it was not as sweet (not part of pairing)
Palette cleanser of green apple. Refreshing and crunchy
Ca D’gal, Moscato d’asti, “Vite Vecchia” 2015
Floating Island: blanc-manger, passionfruit, kaffir lime. Airy, tart, and refreshing.
Again, not part of pairing but sommelier brought over a cart of digestifs and offered me quite a variety and explained each in detail. Ultimately went with a 1972 Calvados to top off a wonderful meal.
Without me asking, I was actually offered a mini tour of the kitchen and met Head Chef Adam Wan, may have been in part after I told them I was from Taiwan, and had heard of Odette mainly due to Tairroir and chef Kai.
Again, a wonderful meal from start to finish with near impeccable service and a fun and diverse wine pairing in a fun/inviting/ sophisticated ambiance. Would recommend and would not hesitate to return.