Les Amis was my final lunch before I left Singapore. This traditional French diner serves the classics with a modern presentation and a pinch of Asia. Holding a spot in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant and previously featured in The Worlds 100 Best Restaurants, this was another highly acclaimed restaurant that got me excited and coming from Jaan at Swissotel just the day before, I was prepared to be absolutely blown.
The first dish Les Amis had for the table was the Foie Gras terrine with mango chutney.
The assemble was modernly presented on a long tile but the terrine tasted mediocre at best. Its seasoning was decent but it not spread well across the bread. I was actually hoping for a more pate finish that simply melts in my mouth. Thankfully enough, the slightly tart but ripe flavours of the fragrant mango provided a consolation prize finish.
Pan seared scallops served in “nage”, and salmon roe
Plump scallops in a buttery emulsion. Each of which was cooked perfectly with a thin crust on the outside with its sweetness and juiciness maintained on the inside. Need I elaborate more? Perhaps the complexity of the nage was a little understated and the fragrant of the wine was not pronounce but otherwise it was perfect!
Ocean trout cooked unilateral, cabbage and olive emulsion
Ocean trout was hard to fault and it was probably the least mentioned dish that day. Besides enjoying the layers peel off one after another, I really appreciated the subtle undertones of the emulsion which complemented the trout. One fault which I did not understand was why the skin was not removed and crisped to a shard before being placed back on top! It would have made it all the better!
For the mains, Les Amis presented us with a choice of the “Pork” aor the “Chicken”.
Pork from Carpathian Mountains with charcuterie sauce and mashed potato. This was not mine but I wished it was! Presentation was flawless and its taste was yums! Very simple, and fuss free but the substance was there. Surprisingly tender for something so lean. The side of mashed potatoes were “OK” but not as buttery as how Joel Robuchon does his. Palatable nonetheless.
Traditional Roasted Chicken, confit potatoes, cabbage with mustard and jus.
Just yesterday after dining on the best poultry at Jaan at Swissotel, I was simply flabbergasted to be served a bird like this at Les Amis. Technically, it was edible but in a restaurant like this, everything felt wrong. The presentation was crap, the salad was bitter and the chicken was under-seasoned. Generally the French are very light on their seasoning and it works but in this instance, it just killed the chicken. Twice! Note: the potatoes were edible.
Alphonso Mango, sugar sphere.
Keep the best for the last they say. Perhaps Les Amis has picked up that habit too. This impressive looking dessert had all the bells and whistles to make heads turn. A quirky-glossy sphere that just intrigues. When it reached the table, seeing the sphere slowly crumble under the knock of the spoon was as addictive as popping the bubbles of a bubble wrap. The mango flavours were lovely and the sorbet on the inside was just superb. I have always preferred lighter more refreshing fruity desserts over sugar laden chocolate ones. The Alphonso Mango was right up my alley. But with all sugar shards, expect it to stick in between your teeth!
To finish our meal at Les Amis, we were served served hot drinks and some Palmiers.
These butterfly shaped pastries were right on the dollar to finish the meal. Sipping tea made the experience all the better. But was the Palmier all les Amis had to offer to finish the meal? =/!!!!
To sum up the lunch, Les Amis is a restaurant that promises classical fine dining without kicking up a fuss. Its techniques were simple and some of it worked. I can imagine this is what retirement feels like. It feels great but a little sedentary and all of it, very rational. Not much fireworks in the food Les Amis presented to us today. The execution was fair but it did not really sweep my peers and I off our feet. My main of chicken was a clear disaster but other dishes like the fish was slightly blend but still yummy. My dining partners were clearly left divided between the scallops and dessert of Alphonso Mango. But for me, I felt that neither was good enough to dampen my disappointment at Les Amis. For a restaurant that boast a position higher than Jaan on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant list, I expected a lot more.
See my review of Jaan here.