|Saint Pierre at One Fullerton|
When a local daily gave a bruising review to Saint Pierre’s spanking new outfit at One Fullerton, it dealt a crushing blow. After all, the new 30-seat Sentosa transplant had barely opened (well, yes, but just for about 2 weeks) and its Michelin stars-studded future was looking promising even it were dwarfed by the bay-framed view of the behemoth triple-towered Marina Bay Sands through the plate-glass windows.
Plus, owners Emmanuel Stroobant and, his wife, Edina Hong, are by no means rookies, having survived the ravages of the city’s fickle-minded dining scene first as a French fine dining restaurant at Central Mall in 2000 and then as a more casual French diner at Quayside Isle (Sentosa) in 2013. That’s a staggering 17 years.
They have big plans for their new digs at Fullerton – thick new carpets in a soothing palette of beige, plush new seats to go with the linen-blanketed tables (both of which were not in place during my visit) matched with brass chandeliers and an array of new menus in a cuisine type now labeled Essence-Centric (“the essences of natural ingredients form the base, stocks and seasonings that flavour the dishes in a life-enhancing manner”). There is a pair of all-encompassing Earth (S$158 for six courses) and Grand Earth (S$188 for ten courses) menus as well as a pair of vegetarian-friendly Nature (S$148 for six courses) and Grand Nature (S$178 for ten courses) menus.
It sounds like a dream plan fielded by a dream team of mostly-French staffers, to say nothing of the 1000-strong wine labels in the cellar or the intimate setting catering to no more than 30 diners a night.
Which begs the question, why the harsh rating?
The truth may never be known but after chomping my way through the vegetarian ten-course Grand Nature dinner, I emerged five hours later relatively unscathed.
|Momotara tomato, papadum, tomato water foam, white balsamic sorbet|
There is beauty in the simplicity of the opening tomato dish: heart of not-too-sweet Momotaro tomatoes with crisp and wafer-thin shards of cashew nut and dehydrated tomato skin papadum, ethereal dollops of tomato water foam and a headline-grabbing quenelle of sweet and tart white balsamic sorbet enriched with a drizzle of vanilla and cilantro oil. (3.75/5)
|Avocado puree, coconut flesh, Chinese turnip, quinoa tuile, kombu gel|
Like a stack of sandwich, the avocado course ensues with pureed avocado layered against contrasting textures of succulent coconut flesh, crunchy Chinese turnip and crisp quinoa tuile with feisty grated horseradish and dollops of kombel gel for a touch of umami. It’s a combo that tastes better than it looks. (4/5)
|Textures of carrot|
Even if you do not care for carrots, you may find Stroobant’s textures of carrot dish arresting. Roasted heirloom carrots arrive with barrels of cross-sectioned carrot, carrot puree, cocoa nibs and blood orange fluid gel. To lend the dish a rich and smoky depth, Stroobant perfumes it with freshly shaved tonka beans, elevating the plate from pedestrian to off the charts. (4/5)
|Grilled sweetcorn, braised Japanese eggplant, bonito-free dashi|
Palate cleansing arrives by way of a zen dish of grilled sweet corn and braised Japanese eggplant in bonito-free dashi; the clean taste of the dashi providing fodder for the sheer sweetness of the vegetables that bask in it. (4.25/5)
The onion tart is not too shabby either. Caramelized onion arrives on a piece of wafer-thin arlette (cinnamon flavoured crunchy croissant cookie) topped with shredded Comte cheese, rounds of shallot and puny chunks of grapefruit pulp. Even if the citrus fruit doesn’t feel completely at home in this medley, you can’t fault the harmony of the other ingredients. (3.5/5)
The mood dips with the mushroom tart – a postcard perfect assembly of duxelles, bamboo shoot and asparagus in morel sauce landscaped beautifully on a thick sheet of pastry that is neither warm not crisp. (3/5)
|Cauliflower, kohlrabi, sea water jelly, daikon, germinated wheat|
We are also indifferent to the dish of cauliflower mousse with kohlrabi strips, blobs of seawater jelly, edamame and dollops of chlorophyll with daikon cones packed to the rafters with germinated wheat so chewy that they promise a good jaw workout. (3/5)
All these come to pass with the arrival of an arousing consommé of minestrone fortified with the umami of dried mushrooms. (4/5)
It concludes on a moderate high with a nondescript-looking chocolate sphere that breaks open to reveal a mélange of chocolate mousse and vanilla parfait enlivened with one of the tropic’s greatest gifts of passion fruit. (4/5)
I can’t speak for the Grand Earth menu since I only had the Grand Nature menu. But even if I were not a big fan of the tableside snacks trolley theatrics and the novel Essence Centric label for a chef as established as Stroobant, I must admit that the new menu has its merits. Surely, it does not deserve to be crushed with a single blow.
1 Fullerton Road #02-02B One Fullerton, Singapore 049 213 | +65 6438 0887 |
© Evelyn Chen 2013
Please note that the reviews published on this blog are sometimes hosted. I am under no obligation to review every restaurant I’ve visited. If I do, the reviews are 100% my own.