Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A night to remember (forever) at the French Kitchen by Jean-Charles Dubois

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In all my 30-odd years of life, I've never had a French meal. Probably because the price of a proper French place in Kay-El is prohibitively expensive. The relative strength of the SGD means that eating out (and eating fancy) is within grasp though, so that's how we find ourselves seated at The French Kitchen by Jean-Charles Dubois.

Prices are, in my opinion, very reasonable. Perhaps because there is no à la carte menu - you have a choice of three five-course dinner menus. The darling goes for the Degustation Menu (SGD88), and I go for the Traditional Dubois Degustation Menu (SGD78). Having taken our orders, the waiter skips off to the kitchen and brings a selection of bread with butter and salmon spread.

(For sake of brevity, I'll always put the course for the Traditional Dubois Degustation Menu first).

My first course is introduced by the waiter as the amuse bouche. But the waiter is mistaken; a dish that's on the menu doesn't qualify as an amuse bouche. Nevertheless, this pre-starter of an Organic hen's egg en cocotte with truffles and cauliflower coulis was delicious. Perfectly fluffy and light egg went remarkably well with the crispiness and saltiness of the cheese 'cracker.'

The darling's pre-starter was sort of like crab wrapped in a light pasta. You'll notice that this isn't the proper name of the dish - we sort of forgot to take down the name of the dish from the menu. Oops!

No such problems with the Traditional lobster bisque with tiger prawn beignet and leek custard, which is every bit as delicious as it sounds. Perfectly balanced frothy lobster bisque that went well with the fresh tiger prawn beignet (sort of like a tempura). The subtle flavors of the leek custard also provided an excellent riposte to the saltiness of the soup.

Did you understand the above paragraph? Cos I didn't. Was just attempting to put on an FPF (Fake Pretentious Foodie) mask, ha ha! In all seriousness though, the lobster bisque was awesome!

The Degustation menu normally has fresh oysters for its' starter, but seeing as neither of us eat oyster, we both had the bisque.

Moving on, to cleanse the palate, is the third course of Lychee granite, which is basically frozen grated lychees.

For the main course, I had a kurobuta pork rib with rocket salad, potatoes and eggplant caviar. I love kurobuta pork in general, and I love this pork rib even more! Juicy and delicious, with a finger-licking-good sauce. I cleared the entire plate, and would have even licked it clean if we were in a hawker centre instead of a classy restaurant :)

The darling's Pan seared Atlantic sea scallop with glazed organic spaghetti and summer truffle was equally delicious. Scallops were huge and fresh ... although they did taste like they might have been frozen instead of fresh. And needless to say, truffle goes well with anything!

And for the last course of the night - the desserts! I had the Traditional Dubois warm chocolate fondant with caramelized banana ice-cream ...

... and the darling had the Gratinated champagne sabayon with pear marmalade. Looks pretty delicious, doesn't it?

But WAIT, there's something in the dessert that looks out of place! Pushing aside the crackers reveals something hard and inedible and that most definitely doesn't belong in any food creation!


She said Yes - Yay!!

The downside, however, was that the ice creams for both desserts had completely melted by the time we started on the desserts, so they were perhaps a little bit underwhelming. OH, and did I mention we were the only table in the entire restaurant - cos I booked the entire place! Romantic leh!

(OK I lied ... we were the only table there by co-incidence)

Overall, a perfect end to an almost-perfect dinner. Food was great, ambience was great. About the only sore point I had was that the waiters were ... untrained. They were friendly and certainly tried their best, but their lack of knowledge of the items on the menu and overall 'fine-dining' waitressing was pretty obvious. Having said that though, I'll gladly overlook imperfect service for reasonable prices.

The restaurant also does suffer somewhat from having a rather poor location. It's located in Central Mall, which is very near to but not to be confused with The Central, which is that big mall right above the Clarke Quay MRT station. I found that out the hard way, took half an hour to find the place.

The third dinner choice available is the Menu du Jour for $68. Do give Jean-Charles a call at +65 6438 1823 to make reservations and to check on the restaurant's opening and closing days!