Flo and I are two! I know, we haven’t been together all that long but it feels so much longer than two years. We turned two on 27 Aug, a mere 3 days after my birthday so my birthday week was tough going for me mentally with all the feasting action. While fearing weight gain is a reality for me, currently my fear is associated more with the ability to fit into my gown next month. As with any bride, I want to look beautiful on my wedding day. Lerouy was our final ‘big’ meal of the week although come this Saturday, we have another big dinner in celebration of Pascal’s birthday. I’ll deal with that then I suppose. Right now, I’m not going to think about it!
Last week, I met up with Flo at lunch time to try out Lerouy – a restaurant that has been touted as an up and coming one deserving of a star. They run along the lines of ‘omakase’ where Chef Lerouy and his team prepare food depending on what’s fresh that day, and their lunch menus are priced reasonably at $38++ for the petit one and $55++ for the grand one. We both chose the former. While on the topic of pricing, do note that additional charges apply to coffee/tea offered after your meal.
The setting of the restaurant places the kitchen at centerstage with a long bench table for diners to sit facing the action. For those closer to the ‘core’, there is a good view of the chefs working the hot food and plating up the mains. Those seated closer to the door get to observe a more serene pace of life along the dessert/pastry counter – this was where we sat. The lack of intimacy here makes it less of a venue for dates, at least not for your first or second date.
After the delightful sourdough we had at Jaan the week before, the bread here felt heavy and a little too doughy, almost gummy as though it hadn’t quite cooked through. The butters were interesting. The citron butter was refreshing although I quite took a liking to the sweet savoury beetroot butter. The charcoal butter looked jet black and cool but didn’t quite change the flavour profile of regular butter.
The first of two snacks we were presented with was the Squid Ink Rice Cracker with Bouillabaisse Foam and Ikura. It didn’t disappoint. I enjoyed the flavours of the sea in that creamy bite filled with crunch and pop. It was a bang of a start to our meal.
The Shrimp Cracker with Amaebi, Avocado, and Cocktail Dressing put a sophisticated spin on the ol’ shrimp cocktail. The freshwater prawn was delightfully sweet and the cracker was so light that I near enough had to stuff the entire thing into my mouth for fear of it falling apart. This, I liked.
Our first course was a Potato and Leek Soup with blobs of delectable garlic puree that were intense in flavour and so addictive. At the centre of the creamy goodness was a seared scallop topped with lardon, sweetbread and sea grapes, as well as a seaweed cracker. I was a little let down but the lack of sear and caramelisation on the scallop. The lardon was not my thing and while I anticipated not taking to the sweetbread, I have to say that this was not bad at all. The sweetbread was nicely crusted but didn’t quite have much flavour to it which is probably why I didn’t mind it.
The flavours of the mediterranean was weaved into our main through the clever use of herbs and spices. The Yellow Spring Chicken was paired with Baharat sauce, on the side was a Couscous Salad and a trio of purees – Chickpea, Eggplant and Parsley. A little of everything into the mouth and the flavours sang harmoniously. I especially enjoyed the kick of herbaceousness from the parsley. Ooh! And those little balls were actually like miniature falafel. I ate the first thinking it was a crunchy chickpea but it was pillowy and soft and punchy with flavour. I kept the second one for last.
Our dessert was playful to look at with a Pineapple Coconut combination set in the shape of a jigsaw piece. The accompanying Passionfruit Sorbet was a touch too too tart for me and threw the dish off balance. I couldn’t detect much of the pineapple but the coconut shone through with what I tasted to be a hint of lemongrass? It was sweet alone but overpowered by the sorbet when eaten together. What I did like were the dried white chocolate crumbs on the side and the tangy sweet gels dotted around the plate. I couldn’t bring myself the finish this unfortunately.
Petit-fours comprising of pate de fruit, salted caramels and raspberries filled with pistachio mousse rounded up our lunch. I’m not a fan of pate de fruit no matter how good so no comment on those – Flo ate both. The salted caramel was quite salty and the pistachio cream was delicious on its own but eaten with the raspberry, sadly got lost – they sounded good together in theory but together, didn’t quite make it.
There were some hits and some misses with the food at Lerouy. While there’s little doubt that we did enjoy the food somewhat, it paled in comparison to other restaurants we have eaten at in terms of flavour combinations and execution. Perhaps it wasn’t the best day for the kitchen. Service as well was middling with a waitstaff mistakenly serving us wine that was ordered by another table. One looked lost at where she was to serve the dishes to and the bread basket upon delivery with the four quenelles of butter, was set before us without explanation of what the different flavours were. When asked, the staff was only able to name three of the four, turning to his colleague to verify what the ‘new’ butter of the day was.
All that being said, it was nice seeing Chef Lerouy in the middle of the action and he was an amiable host who made sure to go around to each group of diners either to serve, or to have a short chat with. He did ask if I’m not a fan of coconut after noticing that I didn’t polish off my dessert plate and while I look back now and think that I could have told him the truth, I found it difficult to look him in his eye and critique the food directly. So yeah, I told him I’m not so keen on coconut. When Flo and I left, the lunch rush had already died down and chef was outside unwinding. He made sure to say a gracious goodbye to us both, shaking our hands and inviting us to return soon.
I found Chef Lerouy very likeable and based on that, would love to support his restaurant, but not quite so near in the future I don’t think. Maybe given time, as his staff become more knowledgable and the food more consistent, why not?