Joel Robuchon – Singapore’s only 3-Michelin-star restaurant

Beyond glass doors lies a luxuriously furnished dining room, crowned with a chandelier. A trolley, laden with a range of beautiful loaves and buns, greets you at the entrance, along with staff ever-ready with a smile.

A complete surprise was my birthday meal at Joel Robuchon.

The contemporary French restaurant has never been on my to-visit list, although I’ve been to L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon next door, which I remember mainly for its amazing bread basket.

I’m probably the biggest sucker for bread there is.

Although I remember the bread somehow tasting better at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon (perhaps they were served warmer?), its more expensive sibling has soft, buttery croissants that are so delightful – warm or not.

And the small sizes allow you to try everything – although they are best shared so you can save space for the rest of the gigantic meal.

We chose the smallest set available at $248 – and wisely so, as we would have been hard-pressed to eat any more, unless we are starving males. (We are females with a healthy appetite.)

With the set comes the bread trolley, amuse bouche, appetiser and main of your choice, the dessert trolley, coffee or tea and petit fours.

The next more expensive menu comes with an additional appetiser and either a cheese trolley or an a la carte dessert, at $298, and there is another larger set, as well as a degustation menu, which we wondered, post-meal, who would be capable of finishing.

To start, we decided to share everything from the bread trolley, which was served with unsalted butter and sea salt. Our favourite was the buttery croissant, which my sister had another of.

The amuse bouche was different, based on our dietary restrictions – mine was a langoustine and sea urchin “toastie”. A delicious and rich take on a homey dish, it reminded me of Adrift’s grilled cheese sandwich stuffed generously with crab meat, both very different and very good.

Then came a cream of corn, topped with caviar. The creamy soup went perfectly with salty bursts of flavour from the sturgeon roe.

Tough decisions had to be made for the appetiser and main course – there are four cold and four hot appetisers, and I was tempted to choose the $298 menu so I could have one of each. But common sense prevailed and I reluctantly picked just one to save my belly from explosion.

I went with King crab and avocado cannelloni, citrus and vanilla condiment.

Where was my cannelloni? No cylindrical pasta was in sight. The shredded crabmeat was enveloped in finely sliced avocado instead.

My sister, the non-seafood fan, on the other hand was left with almost no options, and wondering aloud why fine dining has so much seafood. She got the Grilled porcini mushroom in spicy bonito broth.

(Love the tableware.)

It was supposed to come with lobster meat, but this ended up being changed to more mushrooms. The soup also arrived with avocado and asparagus. I have never had avocado slices in soup and this was a little strange.

Out of the ten main courses available (some for sharing, and some with a supplement charge), I picked the Caramelized black cod with bok choy and Malabar black pepper sauce.

(The most beautiful dish cover!)

I had expected to be blown away, but my fish seemed a bit underfed. There was no usual melt-in-the-mouth, fatty meat and oils. It was cooked nicely, but I somehow longed for more richness.

My sister, on the other hand, topped up $45 for the Grilled Kagoshima beef ribeye with seasonal vegetables and wasabi mustard, which was marbled with fat and melting in her mouth.

I have never heard her rave so much about any beef, nor make such weird sounds of pleasure. That probably gives you an idea of how good it is, and we have gone to many steakhouses together. (She says the steak at Cut by Wolfgang Puck is her other favourite, but cooked in a completely different way.) I felt a bit sad that she was enjoying her meal more than me.

We were fairly stuffed by then, when we were offered mango and soursop sorbet. We are really bad at choosing, so we thought of sharing. The lady generously shared with us that the portion is small and we could have one each.

And so the feasting continued. The flavours came through strongly, just like with each dish so far. The soursoup, however, had a little bitter aftertaste.

Then the dessert trolley arrived.

Everything looked and sounded so tempting and mouthwatering. What did we do? Try one of each, of course.

Fresh fruit and Pistachio creme brulee (reminded me a bit of an almond cream aftertaste)

Coffee religieuse (this was painfully sweet), chocolate caramel tart with macadamia nuts

Chocolate mousse

Berries tart and Chestnut tart

Coffee tart (a bit bitter from the coffee powder, but it’s just at the start) and Millefeuille

A light and airy Rum baba with cream

Floating island (our first time trying it! before this, I’d seen it only on television) and tart with choux pastry and cream

If there is such a thing as delicious suffering, this was it. We had a hard time trying to finish it all. But the tart pastry is the right amount of buttery and crumbly. Really enjoyed the base of the tarts.

By this time, I was fairly sure I would be capable of possibly only rolling out through the doors. So we got teas to cut the sweetness.

The selection here is amazing – there is tea from Nepal, India, Ceylon, China, Japan, Thailand and Africa. We settled for The Noir Orange Pekoe (Ceylon) and The Vert Gyokuro Samurai (Japan). They were lightly steeped.

That’s not all though, the petit four trolley arrived.

Love the decor! The attention to most everything – including plating, tableware and tip-top service – is possibly what contributed to this being the only 3-star Michelin restaurant in Singapore.

This time, we wisened up (or our stomach could not accommodate any more) and chose just a few –

Truffle macaron, spice macaron, strawberry tart, chocolate coconut truffle, chocolate rum truffle and chocolate yuzu fondue (cake with a moist centre).

We enjoyed all except the spice macaron, which is possibly an acquired taste for those who love a strong hit of spicy notes. Some of the selections were based on the season – Thanksgiving is near.

The best part, though, was when were leaving. We were given a small loaf of chocolate-swirled brioche – “in case we get hungry on the way back”.

We weren’t hungry even by lunchtime the next day. (But the loaf was delicious.)

Joel Robuchon
Hotel Michael Level 1
Resorts World Sentosa
8 Sentosa Gateway
+65 6577-6688

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