p Picks and Pecks: review: guy savoy

Saturday, May 4, 2013

review: guy savoy

address: the shoppes, atrium 2, L2-01, marina bay sands
tel: +65 6688 8513
www: http://www.marinabaysands.com/Singapore-Restaurants/Celebrity-Chefs/Guy-Savoy/

For once, I feel like I don't need to write anything. A picture is worth a thousand words right? So I am going to take a minute to relive this lunch...

The first time I stumbled upon Guy Savoy was when I was at Marina Bay Sands a week before it opened. I walked past an open pit, with the click of chips, the ka-ching of slot machines and shuffling of cards crashing upon my ears and across the abyss, was this serene, calm, muted oasis.

Ok so it was muted because I could only peer into the kitchen through the copper-framed windows. I don't know who looked more like a goldfish - the kitchen staff weaving in and out between the stations, or me... gradually getting more and more glassy-eyed as I stared at the food prep. 

It took me almost another year before I returned. In the meantime, I had been to other restaurants, but Guy Savoy stood out as being the first to capture my attention, and being one of the last to taste. 

So it was understandably with a great sense of anticipation that I walked into Guy Savoy. It wasn't the most promising of days - we'd just made out reservation with only 5 minutes to spare and we were about to lose our view of the bay because of the grey skies and the rain that was threatening to tear the clouds open. But that did not matter because once the food began to arrive, attention was riveted to the table...

“The Express, 60 Minute Experience”
3 courses $80 per Person

Lentil soup with foie gras “crouton”, winter vegetable mignonette

Beef cheeks “façon pot au feu”, boullion and condiments

Chocolate fondant with layered praline and chicory cream

Sounds terribly understated - I was expecting a three-course meal, and was not prepared for the onslaught of "extras" which came, but were extremely as the meal progressed. 

First came petite toast points with foie gras layered in between, pierced with a silver skewer. This was so unexpected that I didn't have the presence of mind to take a photo before my knee-jerk reaction took over and delivered the skewer to my mouth - where the foie gras melted in a hazy blur of richness.

I primed myself for the next course, which was a cold asparagus soup served with a quenelle of paprika-spiked creme fraiche. At the side was lemon pepper, which we were meant to swoop into the soup, before stirring the creme fraiche to incorporate it into the asparagus and drinking the lot.

Lifting the cup gave us another surprise - an alternative asparagus preparation. This time it was two hemispheres of almost jellied asparagus puree, punctuated with a lemon curd and topped with a thin wafer or crouton. This tasted bright due to the citrus curd, which contrasted with the cold earthiness of the soup previously.

Next was the first of the dishes off the menu. When the soup plate arrive, it only contained the mignonette of vegetables, accompanied by the foie gras, sandwiched between two thin slices of dark rye bread. If mignon already means dainty, then the mignonette was the tiniest dice of vegetables I've ever seen, yet so consistent in size and shape that it was almost like putting a mouthful of rainbow sprinkles in your mouth. When the lentil soup was poured around it, the thick velvety soup slowly encircled the vegetables in a slow ooze. 

The pot-au-feu soon followed - what I thought of as a rustic dish while reading Jeffrey Steingarten's It Must've Been Something I Ate was elevated and refined from what I thought of as a winter-warming one-pot meal. Yes it comprised of a consomme, bone marrow and meat, cooked with vegetables, but here each component was perfectly cooked. The beef cheeks were so tender - all the fat that marbled the muscle was almost meltingly soft. On top of that, coins of rich marrow were scattered, resembling white scallops. Then the consomme was poured over everything - limpid and clear, but so flavorful. I have never tasted consomme that was so pure - it seemed almost evil to cut into the vegetables or the meat and cloud up the soup.

This was served with a trio of sauces - a tarragon mustard, a lemon sabayon and (my favorite) a sauce made of grated egg, with cornichons. The sourness of the sauce livened up the beef cheeks, but again, I couldn't bring myself to spoon any into the stock, which was already flavored perfectly.

Dessert was to follow - the chocolate fondant with layered praline and chicory cream. The fondant was rich, but the praline really was the counterfoil to that, being crunchy - almost like a really elegant Rice Krispy treat. (Is it sacrilegious to make that comparison?!)

Almost at the end - or so we thought! We were presented with a plate of four petit-fours (does that make it a petit-sixteen!?). Top left was boiled egg white, with a raspberry coulis - almost like a filled marshmallow. This was complemented by the cold raspberry sorbet of top of what was almost a Lucky Charms marshmallow bit (apparently called a "marbit") - it had that squeaky-between-the-teeth feel that comes with the cereal. 

If I missed the first amuse-bouche, then it seemed pretty obvious that I was going to miss the last dessert as well - an Earl Grey sorbet on top of creme anglaise. By the end of the meal, I was fully sated and so happy you could've rolled me off my chair. 

Top points also go to the staff of Guy Savoy for their service, and the good humor with which they fielded all our questions, going to the extent of entering the kitchen for a sample of chicory for us to smell when we asked about this unusual ingredient. The exemplary service shown by the team definitely made the experience so much more enjoyable.

address: the shoppes, atrium 2, L2-01, marina bay sands
tel: +65 6688 8513
www: http://www.marinabaysands.com/Singapore-Restaurants/Celebrity-Chefs/Guy-Savoy/