As our trip to Malaysia also included a weekend in Singapore, we seized the opportunity for a fine dining experience, simply because there is a much bigger choice for such type of restaurants as compared to Kuala Lumpur.
We chose to visit Belgian chef Emmanuel Stroobant’s French restaurant St Pierre where we all, in a congenial decision, opted for the degustation menu with wine pairings.
From the printed menu we were handed, we concluded that a rather inventive cuisine would await us, bringing together French classics with Asian ingredients – actually exactly what I’d expect from a fine dining experience over here, as a visitor from Europe.
But crossover cuisine can be a difficult task. The first course already showed that too much inventiveness and creativity can result in somewhat confusing dishes. Salades composées was a wild mixture of seared tuna, edamame beans, egg mimosa, parmesan cheese, olives, tomato confit, Caesar salad, egg yolk, bacon chips, anchovies and capers. And all these ingredients didn’t really come together, the link was missing and thus, although every ingredient was of good quality, it was a rather poor dish that didn’t make much sense.
But where there is shadow, there must also be light. And there was light. Saumon fume au Thé Vert, green tea smoked Salmon with a terrine of leek vinaigrette (poireaux vinaigrette for you French brasseries goers) was a dish with the exact right amount of inventiveness. Creativity that doesn’t impair a certain harmony of flavors. And it even came with an incredibly good wine pairing, a smooth 2001 Santa Cruz Chardonnay by Ridge Vineyards.
The Boeuf a la Japonaise, Wagyu beef carpaccio marinated in lime and saffron came with grilled and smoked nasu, which is the Japanese word for eggplant. This was a more hearty combinations of flavours. I liked it, but I think I would also have loved to have a try of pure non-marinated Wagyu… another time maybe.
The most inspiring dish to me was Terrine de Foie Gras aux carottes confites and also its original wine pairing. The foie gras was marinated with mirin– sweet Japanese rice wine, and came with carrot confit and a mango passion fruit chutney. This Eurasian combination of ingredients was perfect and full of sense. The sweet wine was a Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh from the well-known Château Montus maker Alain Brumont, a quite original choice and a good one too. The sweetness is not as overwhelming as with Sauternes and the aromas of the Ruffiat grape are somewhat different.
Then we were served green apple and nori sorbet which was a refreshing interlude and a good neutralizer before the final main course, Paella sans riz. This was a harmonious combination of yellow chicken leg confit with zucchini, tomato, chorizo chips and a milk-soubressade espuma. And in fact it was so good, that I forgot to take a picture…
A panoply of well-made desserts concluded the degustation menu. I particularly enjoyed the pairing of grandma Stroobant’s flourless Belgian chocolate cake with a Dow’s 2000 vintage Port. An always delicious classic.
Obviously we had a luscious fine dining experience that night. But the stubborn critic inside of me has to come back to the few flaws once again.The cuisine of St Pierre is one emphasizing creativity, not in a molecular cooking kind of way (although there are some influences) but with a goal to reinvent classic dishes. This resulted in both inspiring and confusing ingredient combinations. For some dishes I had particularly the impression that too many ingredients were used at once and I came to think that less is sometimes more. I asked myself if maybe this is just on purpose for meeting the expecations of Asian gourmets when it comes to fine cuisine?
But of course the restaurant has a also a lot of nice discoveries, where the inspirations of chef Stroobant just fulfilled all my expectations, and I could just recommend you to give it a try if you ever happen to be in Singapore.
Not to forget of course, the nice wine pairings. And by the way, if your goal is to spend a fortune on wines, the huge wine list of the restaurant gives you enough options.