Our top picks from the star-studded list, from restaurant to hawker stall
Cover Photo: Joël Robuchon Restaurant
In 1926, the Michelin Guide first began awarding stars to fine dining establishments, as recognition of their quality and excellence.
Fast forward today, the award ceremony of the guide is said to be the Academy Awards or even the Oscars of the culinary world.
On 21 Jul, Singapore welcomed its inaugural edition of Michelin Guide 2016, where the spotlight shone bright on restaurants and hawker stalls alike.
Here are some of our favourite, tried-and-tested Michelin Star awardees:
Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodles — 1 Michelin Star
Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodles made history by being among the first street vendors to be crowned 1-Michelin Star. (Photo: Samantha Francis)
When I first reviewed the modest Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodles stall earlier this April, I never expected it to make food history by becoming one of the first street vendors to be awarded a Michelin Star.
That said, its phenomenal popularity is indisputable. In fact, prior to being recognised by the Michelin Guide, the stall already sported the longest queues among several Cantonese-style chicken noodles stalls in Chinatown, even during off-peak hours.
My standard order is the Soya Sauce Chicken Noodles with extra char siew (roast meat). Stewed in an aromatic rose wine-scented braising sauce and fragranced by the soya sauce, the chicken meat was smooth and tender, with a succulent mouth feel.
The braising sauce gave the meat an extra dimension, without overpowering its juiciness. On the other hand, the thick slices of char siew were well-charred and caramelised. The marinade lent a robust sweetness, which penetrated the meat nicely.
For its quality and affordability, this stall does count among the best when it comes to soya sauce chicken.
Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodles, Chinatown Food Complex, 335 Smith St, #02-166.
The Kitchen at Bacchanalia — 1 Michelin Star
Expect innovative new creations like the Uni Chocolate Pasta at The Kitchen at Bacchanalia. (Photo: The Kitchen at Bacchanalia)
Since moving to its swanky new home at Hong Kong Street, The Kitchen at Bacchanalia has been on a roll.
Their immersive dining experience and progressive cuisine showcases dishes borne from classical European culinary techniques.
The chefs apply cutting-edge cooking techniques to produce gleaned from all around the world, though its worthy to note that about 70 per cent of their seafood is sourced locally.
Diners can expect timeless favourites such as Scallops and Coconut Risotto alongside innovative new creations like the Uni Chocolate Pasta, made with a white chocolate-based sauce and savoury Bafun uni.
While there’s the option of three, five and seven course menus to choose from, I highly recommend going for the 7-course Chef’s Menu for the full experience.
The Kitchen at Bacchanalia, 39 Hongkong Street.
Terra — 1 Michelin Star
Dishes at Terra are evocative of authentic Italian cuisine and crafted with Japanese techniques. (Photo: Terra)
As a long time fan of Chef-Owner Seita Nakahara’s exquisite Tokyo-Italian cuisine, I’ve been rooting for Terra to attain the Michelin Star I feel it’s been deserving of.
For the uninitiated, the dishes at Terra are evocative of authentic Italian cuisine, crafted with cooking techniques and fresh ingredients native to Japan.
The best way to experience Chef Seita’s cuisine is through his signature Omakase menu, which not only highlights seasonal Japanese ingredients but also showcases his talent and creative flair.
During my last visit, the Wild Scampi Carpaccio left a deep impression on me. Specially sourced from the Shizuoka prefecture of Japan, the sweet and succulent scampi was seared shell side down to retain moisture and topped with a heaping of caviar.
Equally excellent is the Hokkaido Sea Urchin Spaghetti with Yuzu and Bottarga, which showcases the best of what the ocean has to offer.
Terra, 54 Tras Street.
Odette — 2 Michelin Stars
Odette serves modern French cuisine guided by Royer’s lifelong respect for seasonality, terroir and artisanal produce. (Photo: Odette)
At just eight months old, Odette could easily be considered a baby in this fickle F&B industry. Yet, its veritable charm and seasonal produce-centric menu must’ve hit all the right notes for it to garner two Michelin Stars.
Nestled within the imposingly beautiful National Gallery Singapore, the warm ambience of the restaurant pays homage to the fact that it’s been named after the grandmother of Chef-Owner Julien Royer.
The restaurant serves modern French cuisine guided by Royer’s lifelong respect for seasonality, terroir and artisanal produce. His ‘Essential Cuisine’ is a nod to his dishes which are refined in their simplicity.
I enjoyed the pigeon, which had been roasted on Japanese binchotan (charcoal) for a smoky flavour bursting with umami, and the seared foie gras paired with miso caramel, lemon quinoa and Japanese strawberries.
Odette, 04 National Gallery, 1 St Andrew’s Road.
Joël Robuchon Restaurant — 3 Michelin Stars
At Joël Robuchon Restaurant, you can expect all the bells and whistles of traditional French fine dining. (Photo: Joël Robuchon Restaurant)
Joël Robuchon needs little introduction. The globally renowned chef’s restaurants have accumulated a total of 28 Michelin Stars — the most of any chef in the world.
At Joël Robuchon Restaurant, you can expect all the bells and whistles of traditional French fine dining, complete with impeccable service and perfect presentation.
But aside from expecting culinary creations of the highest order, don’t forget to slow down and appreciate the intricate nuances of your meal.
Unapologetic decadence without excessiveness is what you’ll get with dishes like the Acini Pasta — simply executed and topped with a runny, slow cooked egg and aged Parmesan. The swirls of earthy flavours emerge with each mouthful; such is the art of Joël Robuchon.
For full-fledge indulgence, the Kagoshima Beef is the way to go, especially when paired with their famously butter-laden, creamy to a fault mash potatoes.
Joël Robuchon Restaurant, Resorts World Sentosa, 8 Sentosa Gateway.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of Weekender, Issue 158, August 5 – August 18, 2016, with the headline ‘A star studded affair’.