The interior of the restaurant struck me as rather resort-like. The high ceiling was lined with dark mahagony wooden beams, the cream-colored walls were decorated with wooden-framed pictures that seemed to be of South East Asian flavour, then there were the cold, grey square tiles that made up the flooring. In fact, the wooden beams became a topic of discussion. We wondered if they were part of the original structure or an added touch by the restaurant.
The meal started with the amuse bouche, a smoked duck breast that I gave up to the friend. Instead, I started on a warm mini baguette served with butter. The crust was not too thick nor crunchy as I prefered but it still tasted great. Isn't it strange that just by increasing the temperature at which the bread is eaten, can instantly increase its yummy factor?
The first course was a bavetine pasta served alongside a plump, pan-seared scallop. They were flavoured by an accompaning sauce that was a tarragon-infused crustacean emulsion. The scallop was one of the best I had eaten. It was very fresh and hence no fishy smell and it was cooked until the insides remained the lightest of pink yet firm. I really loved it and was rather disappointed when it was all gone.
The main course was roasted cod served with a carrot and cardamom bouillon. I love cod for its silky texture and oily mouthfeel and it turned out to be another excellent choice. The cod had just been floured lightly and pan-seared to form a thinnest layer of crisp before being finished in the oven. Again, the fish was seasoned minimally. Instead, the sauce was the main flavouring agent and it did such a wonderful job. I did not know before that cardamom and carrot paired well with cod.
Desserts are an inevitable thing with ladies who lunch. The dark chocolate cake with raspberry coulis was rather pedestrian - good but ordinary. The chilled apple coupe with crunchy almond tuile was more interesting. It was a deconstructed apple pie of sort. Imagine this in the little cup: the bottom was lined with cooked down apple chunks, then topped with a chilled vanilla custard, followed by a sprinkling of sugar cookie crumbs. The different textures and cold temperature made the dessert easy to eat and not too heavy.
The meal ended comfortably full, even with complimentary petit fours and coffee. I thought it was a rather impressive first meal and I look forward to the next.
Nicolas Le Restaurant
35 Keong Saik Road
Tel: +65 62242404
Lunch: Monday to Friday: 12pm to 2pm
Dinner: Monday to Saturday: 6.30pm to 10pm