Dinner at Les Amis
In the past, Western food meant chicken chop or sirloin steak with fries and canned beans at your neighbourhood hawker centre. For those that indulged occasionally, it could meant Jack’s Place or Swensen’s. Fine-dining restaurants were virtually unheard of.
However, during the past two decades, the local dining scene had changed dramatically. Now, there is absolutely no need to go away to faraway F rance or torture your ass during a long haul flight for a Michelin-starred dining experience. There are quite a number of world-class restaurants right here at our doorsteps in sunny Singapore. One of the more well known which is Les Amis. Come journey with me, as I take you through one of the Grand dame of Singapore’s fine-dining.
Dinner at Les Amis – The Chef
Les Amis restaurant had a history of very fine chefs working in her kitchen, all of them with stars-studded resume. From her very first chef, Justin Quek, to the current chef, Armin Leitgeb; all of them stamped their own unique individual style and experiences in the cuisine served. Chef Armin had worked in a few three-stars restaurants, including what was once considered the mecca of fine-dining gastronomy; The French Laundry.
Dinner at Les Amis – The Food
We began our culinary adventure with this cute little amuse bouche. In the bottom of the glass is a clear tomato jelly, on top of it is some marinated crab, followed by a light basil espuma. Flavours rounded up beautifully. A very delightful start to the dinner at Les Amis.
Next to come was described as ‘Marinated Norwegian Scallops, caviar, agrumes and herbs.’ Scallops were thinly sliced and marinated with a citrus dressing. Presentation was lovely with that beautiful shell on rock salt, and flavours goes very well together.
This lobster dish with pumpkin puree and its seeds was a complimentary from the chef. The lobster chunks were just cooked enough to retain all that juiciness. Combination was okay though it seemed weird at first.
‘Pan seared John Dory, bean cassoulet, thyme oil’ was a total let down for me. I mean it’s an okay dish. But there’s nothing special going on. Fish was ordinary, beans were ordinary. Everything was so ordinary even my mama could cook it. I’m okay with ordinary food if the prices I’m paying is ordinary; but paying such ‘special prices’ at Les Amis, I was also expecting the food to be special.
A very classic dish, the ‘Double boiled beef broth, bone marrow, sliced pancakes and root vegetables.’ The beef broth was very tasty and the bone marrow was silky tender. Very nice, but still nothing unique about it.
One of Chef Armin’s signature, this ‘Lightly smooked eel “tiede”, crispy pork crouton, horseradish and Dijon mustard emulsion” was simply delicious. The smoked eel from France was meltingly tender and bursting with flavours. The crispy pork crouton was a revelation; that thin slice of bread was infused with pork flavours and made to resemble pork crackling. Just one word – amazing. A dish worthy to be one of his signature’s.
For our main course, we had the ‘Iberico pork tenderloin & belly, mushrooms, broccolini and potato mousseline.’ This dish have all my favourites in it; pork, mushrooms, brocollini. It’s hard not to like the dish. The tenderloin was just as its name described; very tender. The pork belly was roasted and nice, but I still prefer Chinese-style roasted pork. Overall, this dish was still quite good.
We choose the “Carrot cake, fennel pollen ice cream and orange” for our first dessert. The fennel pollen ice cream was nice, lending a very subtle but sweet anise-like flavour which compliments the carrots very nicely. On the whole, the dessert was so-so. The cake crumbs was just like the usual carrot cake which you can find in Starbucks, only it was presented in a deconstructed way. Nothing spectacular about it.
For the second dessert, we had the Tiramisu 2012. It was presented uniquely in a round orb with a sprinkle of cocoa. It had all the usual suspects of mascarpone, coffee, cocoa powder and tasted just like a tiramisu would. Again, nothing outstanding in the dessert.
As you can see from the pictures, the petits fours were nothing to rave about. It’s very ordinary.
Dinner at Les Amis – My reviews
When we were there, there was only one other couple in Les Amis. The atmosphere there was quiet and relaxing. Service was attentive without being too cloying.
I would not say that the food is lousy, but I came with very high expectations. I had expected more excitement for my taste buds for the price I’m paying. Nothing particularly stood out for me, and in my own personal view, the food could be more exciting.
I would say that the service was great, ambience was okay. Food was generally good, but at not such a good deal for value. I felt that I was paying three stars price for one star food at Les Amis.