After a brief pause in operations in June 2017, La Brasserie at The Fullerton Bay Hotel has reopened. Complete with luxurious Jim Thompson draperies, new upholstery and even a new light Herringbone floor to complete the grey, burnt orange and ivory tones they’d set out to achieve.
The only thing that hasn’t changed is the 10-meter floor-to-ceiling windows with a view to die for. With all that sun shining through, it’s no wonder that they’ve themed the new menu Cuisine De Soleil, French for Cuisine Of The Sun.
With a tempting new menu to look forward to, it would have been rude of us to turn down a lunch invitation, wouldn’t it?
The impressive array of starters has new favourites, but some of the old ones too. With freshly-baked warm bread, duck rillette and butter on the side, there was absolutely no excuse to say no to the French Onion Soup ($19).
Made primarily with a beef broth that’s been boiled for four hours with trimmings, white caramelised onions are thrown in after and boiled for another three hours.
The result – a French onion soup to own all other French onion soups. Gruyère and a slice of day-old Sourdough to top it off, letting the dryness soak in all the flavour. Cold rainy days won’t feel half as lonely if you’re sippin’ on this.
Also on the list of classy, refreshing appetisers to choose from is an Aubergine Cavier Tartine ($19), offering complementing tastes of the Middle East and the Mediterranean. The Hot Smoked Balik Salmon ($21), smoked in-house over Japanese Binchotan charcoal, is served with sherry-soaked fennel and quail eggs cooked Œuf Mollet-style.
The presentation had us both, I’ll admit, but we thought the salmon portion was small considering what you’re paying.
What I fell in love with was the Lobster and Scallop Capaccio, served with Truffle Lime Dressing ($33). The Boston Lobster matched the delicate flavours of the hand-dived Hokkaido scallops.
Light, sweet and tangy, the thin slices did well to not overwhelm the palate. Remember to start with this appetiser first if you’re going to order more than one to share.
Before you delve into the mains, pick your weapon of choice from a selection of Italian and Brazilian knives.
The Bouef Rumpsteak ($59) is something hearty meat eaters can look forward to. Grilled in a Josper with black cherry wood thrown in with Japanese charcoal, it is often served medium rare to medium. While I love beef rump, I thought this was slightly tougher than expected, considering it was medium-rare.
Those who are just hoping to stop by for a light lunch, there is also a gluten-free, buckwheat Ham and Cheese Galette ($23). I’d say to dig into this while it’s still hot, as it doesn’t do it any justice when it’s gone cold.
Top up $5 to complete the set menu with a cider. Whether you choose something with a sparkle or the drier of the two ciders, you will find that both pair very well with the galette.
A familiar dish on the menu is the signature De Canard Confit ($39). As per tradition, the duck is cured for four hours, then confit for two to three, before being fried skin down for just long enough to have the skin light brown and crisp.
Call me uncultured but I thought it was robbed of more fat juices than I’d like and often enjoy in my duck dishes.
The dark horse that completely stole the show that welcoming afternoon was the Lobster a L’américaine ($68). Served with an entire Boston Lobster, the claw is blanched while the rest of the equally yummy parts are poached before being tossed together with angel hair pasta in a tomato base.
Pasta’s hardly ever my first choice but this dish’s fresh flavours have left me dreaming about it ever since.
Granny Smith Apples, caramel, toffee and cookie crumble sitting atop a mille feuille, this Tarte Tatin ($32) tasted every bit as good as it looks. Served with Tahitian vanilla ice-cream, end your lunch on this sweet little note.
It’s one of those desserts that give you the sweet you need at the end of the meal, but don’t weigh you down and make you feel like you’ve eaten too much. Unless you take someone else’s portion of course.
The Choux pastry used in the Profiteroles ($13) is made in-house, filled with creme patissiere and topped with a light dollop of Chantilly cream. The 55% Valrhona chocolate that it comes with is devastatingly sinful. If you fleetingly felt proud of yourself for being “healthy” and having the apple Tarte Tatin, think again.
And while you lean back in your chairs and look out the windows to recover from lunch and dessert, look forward to the Chef’s pick of Petite Fours as a final touch to go along with your coffee or tea.
I swear, as full as you might think you are, you’re not going to be able to resist one of those macarons. Why should you anyway? It’s not like anyone’s in a rush to go back to the office after a lunch like that.
Whether for a quick lunch meeting or a solitary place of respite, La Brasserie provides an aside from the usual CBD rush-hour lunch crowd. While some dishes might be painful on the pocket, opting for shared mains allow variety and leave you with change to spare.
Alternatively, wait for that magical time of the month where you feel a wee bit more affluent – because we all deserve a good meal every so often.
Expected damage: $38 – $70 per person