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Au Jardin Les Amis

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jpatokal
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Au Jardin Les Amis

Postby jpatokal » Sun, 25 Jul 2004 12:14 pm

For reasons far too involved to get into here (but involving US$3500 and a bowl of chicken feet soup), I was recently treated to a meal at Au Jardin Les Amis, which has a rep of being one of Singapore's best restaurants (with a price tag to match). Review follows...

Food: I'd thought that Les Amis was a French restaurant, but the 7-course "Dégustation" (S$150) menu we opted for was fairly eclectic, with all sorts of non-orthodox ingredients (Japanese beef, smoked eel, coriander, etc). Out of the 7, most of the courses were superb, but the foie gras was raw (which, even if intentional, is a waste) and the wagyu steak was more greasy than juicy. On the plus side, the scallop carpaccio, the mud crab with caviar and the truffle-encrusted fish were excellent... even if the last of these was for some inexplicable reason paired with a few stalks of tasteless soggy boiled lettuce. On the dessert side of things, the cinnamon-banana souffle with Earl Grey ice cream was impeccable, while the watermelon with basil sorbet was just strange (esp. the deep-fried basil leaf on top, yechh!).

Wine: The largest wine list I have ever seen (50+ pages)... but my companion for the evening doesn't drink much so we settled for a single glass, of which there were around 10 options. Minus points for no wine suggestions for the courses and no descriptions of the wines on the menu either, although I made my choice without consulting the sommelier.

Presentation: All the dishes looked flawless. Portions are small, but this was to be expected with 7 courses and we were comfortably stuffed by the end.

Service: A little too obsequious. In a really good restaurant, the service Just Works in the background; here we got a few too many toothy grins and interruptions for more bread or whatever. (What's wrong with an ordinary breadbasket?) Not really a complaint, but not my preferred style.

Ambience: Very old-school colonial/French, the house is lovely and the decorations are very turn-of-the-century, not too glitzy and I could well imagine the house being in the French countryside somewhere if not for the jungle outside. That said, the legions of dark-suited waiters quietly rushing around and the very quiet music made the atmosphere a little too formal and stuffy for my liking, you find yourself whispering and placing down your fork quietly so you don't make too much noise.

Name: The name bugs me. "In the Garden The Friends"? Why not the more logical "Les Amis au Jardin"? And oh yes, there was no French on the menu, although maybe this was just a good thing.

Value for money: Given that you'll be hard put to escape from here for less than S$200 a head, the food and ambience should be pretty close to perfect, and I was a little disappointed in this respect as the food quality was pretty inconsistent. That said, compared to the S$108 3-course meal, the S$150 7-course set is a relative deal especially since they throw in an extra amuse-bouche to start with and a 3rd (!) dessert too.

Summary: All in all, a positive experience, but I still prefer Halia on the other side of the garden at half the price.
Last edited by jpatokal on Sat, 31 Jul 2004 1:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PhantomX
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Re: Au Jardin Les Amis

Postby PhantomX » Sun, 25 Jul 2004 2:29 pm

Try St Pierre at Central mall
They have a 10 course degustation menu at $80 on weeknites
Uncompromised quality at a very reasonable price :lol:
jpatokal wrote:For reasons far too involved to get into here (but involving US$3500 and a bowl of chicken feet soup), I was recently treated to a meal at Au Jardin Les Amis, which has a rep of being one of Singapore's best restaurants (with a price tag to match). Review follows...

Food: I'd thought that Les Amis was a French restaurant, but the 7-course "Dégustation" (S$150) menu we opted for was fairly eclectic, with all sorts of non-orthodox ingredients (Japanese beef, smoked eel, coriander, etc). Out of the 7, most of the courses were superb, but the foie gras was raw (which, even if intentional, is a waste) and the wagyu steak was more greasy than juicy. On the plus side, the scallop carpaccio, the mud crab with caviar and the truffle-encrusted fish were excellent... even if the last of these was for some inexplicable reason paired with a few stalks of tasteless soggy boiled lettuce. On the dessert side of things, the cinnamon-banana souffle with Earl Grey ice cream was impeccable, while the watermelon with basil sorbet was just strange (esp. the deep-fried basil leaf on top, yechh!).

Wine: The largest wine list I have ever seen (50+ pages)... but the lady doesn't drink much so we settled for a single glass, of which there were around 10 options. Minus points for no wine suggestions for the courses and no descriptions of the wines on the menu either, although I made my choice without consulting the sommelier.

Presentation: All the dishes looked flawless. Portions are small, but this was to be expected with 7 courses and we were comfortably stuffed by the end.

Service: A little too obsequious. In a really good restaurant, the service Just Works in the background; here we got a few too many toothy grins and interruptions for more bread or whatever. (What's wrong with an ordinary breadbasket?) Not really a complaint, but not my preferred style.

Ambience: Very old-school colonial/French, the house is lovely and the decorations are very turn-of-the-century, not too glitzy and I could well imagine the house being in the French countryside somewhere if not for the jungle outside. That said, the legions of dark-suited waiters quietly rushing around and the very quiet music made the atmosphere a little too formal and stuffy for my liking, you find yourself whispering and placing down your fork quietly so you don't make too much noisy.

Name: The name bugs me. "In the Garden The Friends"? Why not the more logical "Les Amis au Jardin"? And oh yes, there was no French on the menu, although maybe this was just a good thing.

Value for money: Given that you'll be hard put to escape from here for less than S$200 a head, the food and ambience should be pretty close to perfect, and I was a little disappointed in this respect as the food quality was pretty inconsistent. That said, compared to the S$108 3-course meal, the S$150 7-course set is a relative deal especially since they throw in an extra amuse-bouche to start with and a 3rd (!) dessert too.

Summary: All in all, a positive experience, but I still prefer Halia on the other side of the garden at half the price.


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