Restaurant Absinthe, having established itself as one of Singapore’s top French restaurants, marked its 3½th year in June 2012 with a move from quiet Bukit Pasoh to bustling Boat Quay.
Its new location is not only bigger (seats up to 140 guests), but also uniquely designed. Level 1: a Seafood Bar, Chef’s Table and al fresco quayside dining. Level 2: two dining rooms and one private room decked in ethereal Absinthe-green. Level 3: another dining room and two private rooms, this time in a classier black-tie outfit save for the whimsical wall art. Able to accommodate groups of all sizes, it is a great venue for a company or private function. It even has a private verandah that overlooks the river and Marina Bay skyline, perfect for pre-dinner drinks or a cocktail event.
Ambience aside, Chef Francois Mermilliod impresses with some of his signature dishes. The Légine de L’Antarctique ($27), pictured above, is by far my favourite. A carpaccio of Antarctic toothfish so beautifully composed; unique choice of fish that has a meaty, chewy texture with a mild creaminess of swordfish, against the backdrop of splashes of tart from the yuzu dressing and pops of sweet from pear, pomegranate and pomelo. Each element comes together beautifully to prepare the palate for the rich Foie Gras Terrine ($30). Layered with smoked duck breast, decadently creamy, flavours intense, almost pungent; the sweet beetroot gelee and dense buttery brioche, baked warm and fresh in-house, mediate.
Chef is proudest of his Canard Confit with Sarladaise Potatoes, Mushrooms in Madiran Wine Sauce ($42). He uses French duck, meat of which is redder and has a more pronounced flavour. Fall-off-the-bone tender, the duck is well cured – tasty, not gamey nor over salty. Slightly greasy; but a problem easily solved by a nice glass of red wine. Dessert ends with Freshly Baked-to-Order Vanilla Madeleines with Valrhona Chocolate Mousse ($15)
. Madeleines, crisp and fragrant; and the mousse, light silky Valrhona goodness.
But I found the Absinthe ‘French Farmed Cheese Trolley’ (choice of 3 for $32, 6 for $46) a much more exciting way to end the meal. Selected by an ‘Affineur’ (Master Cheese Ager) in France, who recommends the variety according to their ‘best-age’ for enjoyment, the cheeses are specially flown in for Absinthe on a weekly basis.
It’s been only half a year since the relocation but Restaurant Absinthe is already a hit with the office crowd. The restaurant offers a value-for-money $38++ three-course set during lunch, and a $108++ 7-course degustation menu during both lunch and dinner. Take note that lunch only serves a reduced a la carte menu whilst the full a la carte menu is available at dinner.
Written by M
On this occasion the meal was compliments of Restaurant Absinthe