In the beginning, when fine-dining outlets were all but buried in swish hotels, indie fine-dining restaurants were few and far in between. But one restaurant, Saint Pierre, stood out when it debuted in 2000. It wasn’t just because of its unlikely location in Central Mall, it was also helmed by a Belgian chef, Emmanuel Stroobant, who cooked Japanese-inspired French, a rarity in French cuisine’s glory days in Singapore. This chef would go on to anchor the then-popular local TV cooking show Chef in Black.
Fast-forward 18 years, Saint Pierre has moved twice, first to Quayside Isle on Sentosa Island and in 2016 to One Fullerton, where it clinched its first Michelin star in 2017. Along the way, Stroobant has taken a gamble with something a little more casual during his time in Sentosa. But his return to the island with a glorious water-fronting space along the Marina Bay prompts a fine-dining revival, one complete with brass chandeliers as well as trolley service for Champagne and petit fours served by finely-suited staffers.
Stroobant isn’t a chef who contends with classical French, which explains his constant quest to experiment with Asian, even local, accents. Our last trip there two years back saw buah keluak (Indonesian black nut) matched with foie gras and iberico pork. This time, his opening parade of snacks features a string of seven items including a stub of Singapore-inspired puffed rice-topped “popiah” (spring roll) with turnip and carrot brunoise (finely-diced vegetables fried in butter). For his Hokkaido scallop dish, Stroobant also introduces local elements by way of streaks of curry oil in the delicately flavoured scallop soup that arrives with the grilled mollusc.
And now, inspired by his adopted homeland’s national dish of black pepper crabs, he has created a Singapore-forward special dish for OCBC Gastronomic Adventures, showcasing plump Brittany blue lobster doused in a heady black pepper sauce with a cloud of ginger and coriander foam. For a textural counterpoint, Stroobant serves the crustacean encircled in a crisp yet fluffy filo pastry so that every bite delivers a melange of textures with oceanic sweetness and an intensely savoury peppery flavour.
For the OCBC menu, the chef also serves his long-time signature dish of miso-brushed roasted Atlantic cod but with the Japanese accents that he’s long been known for. The surprisingly clean-tasting cod fish packed with miso-kissed umami arrives with a thin film of seaweed gel basking in a delicate kombu-only dashi broth so that the intensity of the miso flavour is balanced with an ethereally light broth reminiscent of the sea. To lend visual appeal to the dish, Stroobant dots the cod with smidgens of carrot and celaraic puree.
Saint Pierre offers a six-course OCBC Gastronomic Adventures Menu at lunch and dinner for $168++ per person from now up until 20 September 2018 for OCBC cardmembers. VOYAGE Cardmembers may opt for a six-course wine and Champagne pairing at a special price of $98++ (usual price $118++). Find out more about OCBC’s exclusively curated menus at ocbc.com/gastronomy.
1 Fullerton Road, #02-2B One Fullertom, Singapore 049 213; saintpierre.com.sg
This post is presented to you in partnership with OCBC