Had wanted to visit Odette since we last tried Chef Julien‘s cooking while he was at JAAN. A teaser photo on Chef Julien‘s instagram alluding to a four hands dinner with Chef Takazawa caught my attention and set our hearts racing!
Chef Takazawa‘s creative modern cooking restaurant in Tokyo only has 10 seats per service. Although it’s technically not impossible to get a table there, it is definitely likely to be easier to snag a seat for this collaboration dinner in Singapore.
As for Chef Julien, we were equally excited to try his new dishes since setting up Odette. It was also good that we manage to visit them before they are starred (my guess is they will get at least 1 star) in the Michelin Guide. *Singapore Michelin Guide was released on 21stJuly and Odette was awarded 2 stars*
The 2-night only event will feature a 10 course dinner (5 dishes from each Chef). Having seen countless photos of Chef Takazawa‘s signature Ratatouille online, I have high hopes that he’ll present this dish at the collab dinner – otherwise I would be disappointed.
We arrived at Odette for our meal at 7pm and there were already some diners in the hall. Located on ground level of the National Art Gallery, the windows doesn’t offer much view but provided soft daylight with the day curtains drawn. Tables were generously spaced out and offers privacy in terms of not being able to hear others’ conversation. However I was slightly disappointed that our table which was right outside the VIP private room doesn’t have a view of the kitchen. Another small flaw of that table was the uneven lighting on the table. For a restaurant of Odette calibre, I would expect minor details like lighting to be well-thought through.
On the simple yet elegant table set-up, each guest receives a print-out of the menu for the night. I was thrilled to see Ratatouille listed in the starter~ Sadly my joy was short-lived when I saw the half-portioned ratatouille served =(
I felt like a kid who was expecting to receive the Xmas gift of my choice but faced with disappointment after unwrapping the gift…Hence my feeble attempt at trying to get a photo of the 2 halves in 1 frame…trying to imagine it as 1 whole slice… If I had known each guest will only get half a portion, I would have asked them to serve in a complete slice for us.
The terrine looked amazing with the mosaic of colours, formed by dozens of cooked vegetables. In one mouthful, you can feel the different textures and taste the burst of flavours. It was this iconic dish that introduced me to Chef Takazawa‘s cooking a few years ago.
Another starter by Chef Takazawa was the Pepper Crab. The snacks by Chef Julien were Saba ‘Kueh Pie Tee’ and ‘Vadouvan’ Oyster. The oyster was fried with a light coating of the ‘vadouvan’ powder – French-influenced reinterpretation of a masala, topped with the seagrape seaweed that I adore! Though I did wished that the seagrapes were plumper and juicier.
A basket of warm bread was then served, along with 2 types of butter available – french butter and lard. My favourite choice of bread had always been brioche but the sourdough here was pretty good too.
The 2nd course by Chef Julien was the stunningly vibrant coloured Beetroot ‘Variation’. The use of red, white and yellow beetroot variety served with burrata garnished with pomegranate and edible flower made this beautiful dish looked like a garden.
Chef Takazawa presented the deceivingly simple looking but flavoursome dish of Scallop ‘Spagetthi’ & Uni.
Contrary to the earlier colourful dish presented by Chef Julien, the next dish was the opposite and aptly named ‘Black’ Egg. I still have vivid memories of the dreamy 55′ Smoked Organic Egg that I had at JAAN. This new egg creation might just become the next big thing to be appearing on Chef’s menu in Odette? This dish has so many elements with different textures layered above one another with the semi-cooked egg sandwiched in the centre.
Moving on we were presented with Chef Takazawa‘s Fish & Chips. Crisp potato chips ‘paper’ with words stamped using squid ink covered the deep-fried cod and potatoes underneath, served with foams of ponzu, vinegar and seaweed mayo.
The final main course by Chef Julien was the Lobster ‘Rivieira’. The umami-filled lobster bisque was poured into the bowl filled with chewy and fresh lobster meat at table service. Luv the addition of the cracker at the side that added crunch and contrast to the rich and creamy soup.
Our last main course for the night had the most elaborated presentation. As described by the staff, it was a dish inspired by Singapore’s Night Safari after a visit to the iconic place of interest by Chef Takazawa and his wife. Twigs of leaves were laid on our table along with a leave arrangement featuring 2 light sticks along with 2 tubes of Chef’s Yuzu Pepper sauce. This set the stage for the meat dish to be served.
Instead of 1 protein that we were expecting, we were presented with 4 types of meat on what looked like a tree bark. In an instant, I felt as if we were in the TV series “Survivor”. Out of the 4 meat, half are new to me and it would be my first time tasting them. Could you figure out which 4 animals had fallen prey to Chef Takazawa?
(The ans) From left to right: Frog with lemongrass, Kangaroo with Cinnamon, Crocodile and Pigeon.
The Yuzu Pepper sauce was provided to help neautralise the gamey taste of the meat. For me, I managed to eat the first 3 meat in their original taste except for the pigeon that probably require a dollop of sauce. The yuzu pepper sauce was really tasty, mildly spicy with refreshing hint of citrus yuzu. I would love to pair this sauce with steak if I could concoct it on my own.
My first experience with Kangaroo meat was a pleasant surprise as it tasted quite similar to beef. As for Crocodile meat, I’ve heard others describe that it as chicken/fish combi. My own thoughts on eating ‘buaya‘? It tasted pretty tough, like an overly rubbery chicken meat.
This Night Safari platter was really a surprise dish to us, as we wondered if Japanese eat these exotic meat??? Nonetheless it was an interesting experience to try a few new game meat.
During the dinner service, we saw Chef Takazawa and his wife walked by as they went into the VIP room to greet the guests inside. They also stopped by a table next to us occupied by a Japanese couple for a chat. Chef Julien was also spotted greeting guests at selected tables. I’m slightly disappointed that the chefs didn’t make their rounds to every table in the house. When we last dined at JAAN, we saw Chef Julien giving an interview to some journalists but we didn’t get to meet him. Compared to other fine dining restaurants we’ve visited overseas, the Chefs would typically make a round to each table if they are in the house. To me this personal touch is critical in making guests feel welcomed.
Sweet endings for the dinner include Chef Takazawa‘s ‘Blue Cheese-Cake’. Many people felt that blue cheese has an acquired taste but fret not, as this is just white chocolate in disguise~ The green bits are in fact pistachio. I nibbled away happily at the sweet “cheese-cake” while alternating with bits of savoury ham and spoonful of creamy Sauternes ice cream.
Personally I would prefer to end my meal with some bitter-sweet chocolate dessert but many a times the restaurants prefer to end a meal with a zing. Here we were served Chef Julien‘s Lemon T’art. This stunningly elegant dessert looks delicate and kawaii. The top part of the tart resembles a mochi. Underneath its snowy white cover is a lime green sorbet(?) with tangy lemon curd sitting on the pastry crust.
Finale to the meal were petits fours of Exotic Lollipop, Canele Bordelais,Corsican Pitachio ‘Chouquette’ and Salted Caramel Bonbon.
Parting gift of Odette’s signature redcurrant jam was presented to us at the end of the meal.
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