Much ink has been spilled over Odette, chef du jour Julien Royer’s newest restaurant at National Gallery, Singapore. When it opened late last year, Odette boasted a three-month-long waitlist, and remains one of Singapore’s most sought-after tables given its two new Michelin stars, courtesy of the Michelin Guide’s inaugural Singapore edition, which launched in July.
Opened in collaboration with the Lo and Behold group, Odette sets the tone early on with its hors d’oeuvres, which are assembled communion-style in your outstretched palm.
It quickly becomes apparent why Michelin has bestowed its favour on Royer’s refined, precise creations. The inspiration behind them, however, is less than highfalutin – everything including the restaurant’s name, its house-made butter and its dishes, was inspired by Royer’s grandmother.
This is particularly evident in the rustic, hay-smoked Challans guinea fowl done two ways, with the leg served confit and the breast grilled. It arrives accompanied by a traditional Albufera cream sauce, an indulgent foie gras coulant with oozy, molten centre, and a homey celeriac risotto – a comforting dish Royer’s beloved grand-mere used to whip up for him as a child.
Odette’s buzz is not without its share of controversy – namely the fact that Royer has imported a series of dishes from Jaan, which he previously helmed. These include the mushroom tea amuse bouche (albeit with the new addition of a miniature cep brioche on the side), the pine-smoked organic egg cooked sous vide at precisely 65.3 degrees for 55 minutes, and Royer’s Heirloom Beetroot Variation, composed of colourful slices of red, purple and golden beetroot with stracciatella cheese and honeycomb.
Resting on his laurels is not an option for Royer, however, and Odette’s performance in next year’s edition of the Michelin guide will surely depend on his newer innovations. To this end, Royer has debuted a series of creations destined to become fan favourites – one of which is his Hokkaido uni dish. Sea urchin is layered with pieces of Mozambique langoustine under a mussel “cloud" and topped with Oscietra caviar, with strands of chives sticking out of the mussel espuma that playfully recall the prickly star ingredient’s original appearance.
The restaurant itself is equally elegant: all blush creams, pinks and gold accents, it evokes an effortless slice of Parisian chic in tropical Singapore.
Its centrepiece, a whisper-light mobile of paper cutouts by local artist Dawn Ng, reinforces the airy lightness of Odette’s interiors.
The best seat in the house, however, is at the private chef’s table. Situated kitchen-side, this is where diners can enjoy personal touches such as Royer siphoning foamy desserts straight into their waiting demitasses, as well as a bird’s-eye view of just why grandmother knows best.
Prices start from S$88 for a four- to eight-course lunch and from S$208 for a six- or eight-course dinner.