Why would I write a post of a closed restaurant? They must have evoked strong memories that I thought it would be appropriate to share my feelings then. Or perhaps their ghosts were trying to tell me something that the current culinary scene was lacking
I was going through my lightbox of photos/memories. There were so many culinary stories that I was not able to tell in time either I was too busy fixing my health in 2015-2016 or live2makan.com v1 crashed and I lost 3 years of posts between 2012-2014.
One of those was LP+Tetsu.
The now defunct restaurant was a combined effort of two chefs: Lauren Peugeot, the chef-owner of one-Michelin-star Restaurant Le Charlemagne in France, and Tetsuya Yoshida whose restaurant Tetsu was awarded Best Restaurant in Singapore in 2009 and 2010. It was helmed by Franck Pelux, then a relatively unknown young chef from France.
It was one of the first fine dining location to feature a showcase kitchen. While it was not an open kitchen, diners that walked into the restaurant can clearly see the hustle and bustle of the hot and steamy kitchen.
Before we started the meal, we were awed by the decor of the place. Remembering that this was 2013, MBS just opened and Michelin Singapore guide was rumoured to be launching soon while the Michelin giants had just begun to land. Joel Robuchon opened in RWS. André Chiang started his own restaurant and left Jann. So everyone was competing who’s the most extravagant, the most expensive, the most…. you have to have a bragging right, if not you would not be able to differentiate from the rest. [PS: All three were given the Michelin Singapore stars (3, 2 and 1 respectively) in the first edition.] So the ambition of LP+Tetsu was pretty obvious.
We ordered the full 12-course degustation, it was my anniversary, I was in the mood to splurge.
The first plate, may I say “stone”, to arrive was the complimentary bread. It was two pieces of brioche skewered together and stuck on the rock like excalibur. It was accompanied by frozen nori olive oil that melted into the warm bread.
The amuse bouche, similarly served on a concrete slab, was pretty to look at. The concept was borrowed from the olive in el Bulli, where a tasty liquid is sealed in a gelatinous shell. You picked up the cracker that hold the sphere and gobbled the blob down. For my princess that loved anything liquid and jello, it was a fun way to eat vegetables.
Next to arrive was a creamy potato veloute served in a porcelain egg shell. It was amuse bouche portion, and the teasing continued with freshly shucked oysters in ponzu and soy dressing, smoked salmon, air-dried prosciutto, nori butter and toasted baguette. It was a very busy plate, nothing really worked together, but the oysters were so tasty we ordered another half a dozen.
Next the main courses.
Mixed with mascarpone, pistachio, mashed potato, Burgundy Epoisses cheese was deep fried. On top of it, a wonderfully toasted strip of parmigiana balanced across the cheese with rocket and drizzling of a sweet balsamic vinegar sauce. Others that came were Snapper sashimi, chives and leeks, miso bamboo clam with bakchoy and turnips – not sure what it was trying to do, the miso totally killed the clam, Pan fried pigeon with au jus reduction, Wagyu beef fillet with asparagus and pumpkin mousse, Sweet shrimp in two style, kushi and sashimi, and Pan-fried Hokkaido scallop with mushrooms – 4 main courses that did not work with one another and too many profiles mashed together.
We couldn’t wait for dessert as the dinner wore on. Vanilla ice cream for princess, Raspberry mousse with sweetbread, and Strawberry tart with strawberry sorbet for us. And finally, the spheres returned. This time, it’s three round spheres of sweetness to round off the evening.
Afterthoughts – 6 years later
I remembered very clearly that we did not enjoy the dinner. Not that because molecular cuisine and fusion stuff were not our taste – our tastebuds were quite adventurous then, and even so now – but I found that they were trying hard to please, and too many so-called celebrity chefs were trying to do a one-upmanship with each other that they forgot to make sure the dinner remained enjoyable. If only they had simplified and concentrated on just making a couple of elements right.
Today’s so-called Michelin-starred restaurants are too focused on trends. The latest being small plates and bistro style dining. Nothing wrong with that, at least not from a financial viewpoint. These restaurants charge a hefty premium over equivalent standards. I am wondering if the whole guide and listing exercise was just an elaborate marketing gimmick.
Fancy food can only go that far. At the end of the day, the food must still be tasty and evoke emotion and remain affordable for one to enjoy. Chasing stars and driving prices up is not a long-term plan. This is evident in every economic downturn, good restaurants closed and lousy ones closed faster.
Where are all these guys now?
Lauren Peugeot opened a new restaurant in Cairo called Le Deck and continued to be active on the celebrity chef circuit. He runs a dining consultancy and continues to run his 1–star Le Charlemagne in Burgundy.
Frank Pelux got his Star with Au Crocodile in Straasbourg. He was runner-up in the Top Chef 2017 competition in Channel 3 France and was previously in Beijing running the kitchens of Le Temple.
Tetsuya Yoshida went on to helm the Japanese section of Me@OUE, the MediaCorp brainchild of glam and food combined. It opened with lots of fanfare and boasted local celebrity spotting. That did not go very far, food reviews were bad and it closed its doors in Mar 2018. Nothing is heard of him these days.
Date visited : Mar 2013