Art and Food Collide at Odette

Have you been to the National Gallery? If not, you really should. And ideally take a visitor, I’ve had a 100% success rate with visits to the gallery so far. The building itself is spectacular, add in the story-telling artwork, a few very good restaurants (like Odette) as well as helpful staff and you have a world class tourist venue right here in the middle of Singapore.

odetteI’ve now been to the National Gallery four times (twice to the galleries and twice to restaurants). Each occasion has surpassed expectations and been a completely enjoyable experience. Last weekend we took Mother-in-Law and her sister there. We arrived in time for the 2pm free English tour (there are also tours at 11am and 3.30pm daily) and were met by the informative Michelle. Whilst waiting we thoroughly enjoyed the harpist and flutist playing a live composition, music floated through the cavernous space whilst we waited for the tour to start, and we happily sat enjoying the sounds and sights around us. I posted my snapchat of the day to youtube if you’d like to hear, it’s right at the beginning.

national gallery1We were shown through galleries 1 and 3 in an hour long tour. This was enough to give us a taste of the pre second world war period of Singapore’s history, and then onto gallery 3 with the more controversial art from the 1980’s onward. We ended the tour with a guided tutorial on how to make our own postcard of artwork that we had enjoyed. This interactive ‘social table’ is a brilliant way for visitors to take home a lasting memory of the gallery with them. Absolutely free and fun to put together, Husband’s 77 year old mother did a great job of creating her very own art piece on this cool piece of technology.

odette01Now in a perfect world what I would have done is then visit one of the gallery’s fabulous restaurants. Mother-in-law however is not one for eating in general and specifically not spicy food or expensive food – so that pretty much puts the gallery restaurants out of the frame (we did stop for coffee at the cafe on level 1 and the coffee and cake was surprisingly good).

Odette

odetteI’m using this point as a segway to my rather lovely lunch last Thursday at Odette. Odette is the National Gallery’s flagship restaurant (I may have made that up but it certainly feels that way) and is a much different experience to Violet Oon’s and Aura – the other two restaurants that I’ve visited inside the gallery. You can read about Violet Oon’s here and I highly recommend a visit, more a night time venue than one for day time, and definitely a great option for visitors who do want to sample some fancy local food.

Back to Odette. Fellow food blogger and friend Julian Teoh, of Julian’s Eating, arranged for a long awaited lunch at Singapore’s most talked about restaurant of recent months. Julian is a long time fan of Julien, Royer that is, now head chef and partner at Odette. Royer was previously head honcho at Jaan, and brought the restaurant several accolades during his tenure there. Hence the huff and puff around the opening of his new restaurant, Odette.

odette08There’s no doubt that Odette (named after Royer’s grandmother) is special. Whilst the room to me is very ‘beige’ and a bit nothing, the overall feel of the establishment you’re entering is smart and confident and, on our visit at least, the service was certainly impressive.

odette06What we both found surprising were the similarities in the menu at Odette compared to Royer’s previous kitchen at Jaan. For me this wasn’t a problem as my only visit to Jaan was post Royer’s departure and I had the pleasure of being introduced to Kirk Westaway’s take on the kitchen. You can read about that here. Julian on the other hand found that the inclusion of the rosemary smoked organic egg and the heirloom beetroot dish, among other items, replicated what he’d tried before. All I can say is that any egg that arrives with fanfare such as this (smoke billowing and scent wafting) is worth a moment to appreciate. And I do love a runny egg. The smokiness and the egg, with crunchy buckwheat and the sharpness of chorizo, was mouthwatering and satisfying to me.

odetteEqually the beetroot rendition was an intense combination of flavours and textures that very much reminded me of the food I ate at Jaan. Let’s be honest here though. This is fancy food, but as far as fancy food goes it was certainly tasty.

odette02My favourite dish on reflection was an ‘amuse’ of mushroom tea with brioche and buckwheat. The dense tea was rich in cappuccino like frothiness and the tiny mushroom brioche as an accompaniment was crispy and more-ish – one could not help using it to mop up the last little bit of soup.

odette07I was also impressed with the fish, unlike my dining companion. It was perfectly cooked and whilst it definitely wasn’t heavily seasoned, the accompanying fried bread, pork belly and asparagus made each mouthful quite a delight.

odette09Dessert too was surprisingly satisfying. The crisp gingerbread with nougatine (can’t say I really noticed that!) and super creamy salted caramel ice-cream was delicious (although I agree with Julian that it wasn’t nearly salted-caramelly enough).

As I mentioned earlier, service was divine, one particular server (and I wish I took her name) was a star. We should have ‘server of the year’ awards in Singapore or ’50 best servers’ and maybe we could start to see this kind of confident and charismatic service become the norm. For now, she of the genuine smile and impressive food knowledge is my lasting memory of a wonderful lunch at Odette. $88++ for four courses, $128++ for six courses. Have a read of Julian’s post here for an alternate take on our dining experience.
Odette (at the National Gallery Singapore)
1 St Andrew’s Road, Singapore
#01-04 (follow the signs or ask a helpful security person)
phone +65 6385 0498

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Comments

  1. Great lunch and nice write-up! I should clarify that I love the egg dish to bits, but I think I have had it four times in a year and a half, so given a choice, I couldn’t bring myself to order it. I adore the colour of that yolk though, wow!

Trackbacks

  1. […] I visited Odette with fellow blogger Julian Teoh. I don’t hang out with bloggers much but I appreciate Julian’s humour and he’s a much better writer than I am. The beigeness of Odette didn’t do a lot for me, but I did enjoy the food. You can read a full review here. […]

  2. […] Snapping into the Asia’s 50 Best list as the highest new entry of all time, Odette has been wowing diners since it opened in 2016. You can read a full review here. […]

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