It’s not running easy a food-and-beverage establishment anywhere, much less, in a scene with stiff competition; I read with much disappointment that Le Saint Julien will be serving her last diner come January 2013. (See ST article) Let’s face it, Singaporeans want a whiff of fresh air every now and then, especially when old is good. Add that to rising operating costs and difficulty in hiring, I wasn’t quite surprised when this was announced in the papers recently.
Le Saint Julien is somewhat of a stalwart in the French fine dining scene here in Singapore, being one of the few who started up way before big overseas names (a.k.a. celebrity chefs) established outposts here. Other home-grown names that fall within the same peer group include, Les Amis and Emmanuel Stroobant’s Saint Pierre. The restaurant’s own website lists, Raffles Grill, Harbour Grill and Les Amis as its competitors when Chef Julien Bompard left Raffles Hotel, where he was Deputy Executive Chef, first started Le Saint Julien in 2003.
I’ve met Chef Julien Bompard a couple of times while attending media events, the most recent being the launch of the inaugural Restaurant Week in Singapore of which he was a participant. By the way, Chef Julien Bompard had another restaurant which has since shuttered its doors - “Julien Bompard” which was located at the Ascott Raffles Place.
The Complimentary Bread was highly addictive, for starters.
Soup (S$32 appetizer / S$24 middle course)
Signature bisque de homard, au gruyere et crotons
Lobster soup with garlic aioli, gruyere and bread crotons
The lobster soup is one of Chef Julien’s signature dishes and rightly so. For one, this is definitely one aromatic soup – the moment the bisque is poured in, the aroma permeates through the air around your table. Smell test – checked. Now for the taste test…. creamy and luscious are the two words that come immediately to mind.
There’s a little story behind the lobster bisque too about how Chef Julien met his now-wife, Edith.
Edith Lai, who was the room sales manager at the hotel, first approached him on behalf of a guest who requested the recipe for Chef Julien’s signature lobster bisque. The rest, as they say, is history.
Pan seared duck liver with apple and Calvados sauce and caramelized onions (S$36 per portion)
The foie gras was really good – similar to the days when Chef Patrick used to helm the kitchens of Au Petit Salut in Dempsey.
The combination of apples and calvados sauce is nothing out of the ordinary, so is the pairing of them with duck. The foie gras was seared perfectly – a slightly crisp exterior and melt-in-your-mouth interior. The portion size was perfect too; any larger and one would start to feel jelak (meaning, tired of)
Roasted Challans duck breast with leg confit, rillettes on toast and orange sauce (S$56 per portion)
The duck confit has a golden brown, crisp exterior while the meat remains succulent and rather flavourful. Those 2 conditions, and not being overly salted, are how I would define a good duck confit.
Le Saint Julien’s rendition, passes on all 3.
Roast cod fish with sea urchin crust and yellow wine sauce with Avruga caviar (S$60 per portion)
The roasted cod fish came across as being somewhat pedestrian. There was nothing wrong with it – the fish was cooked perfectly, but the flavours didn’t quite blend well with one another. Also, there was nary any flavour in the sea urchin crust.
The addition of avruga caviar added only a luxury factor to the dish without really enhancing it.
And to complement our main courses, we ordered a serve of asparagus to err….. balance the proteins out.
Le Saint Julien
Fullerton Waterboat House
3 Fullerton Road, #02-01
Telephone: +65 6534 5947