Hunting for good or perhaps amazing food is one of the things I constantly do when I am out travelling, especially when I am with my family or friends. When I am doing solo travelling, I am rather casual with my meals. I do not know why but it always seems that fine dining, especially when aiming for the “stars” are constantly cheaper abroad than in Singapore. All of my michelin experience with the exception of one have been out of Singapore. Up to date all my 3 Star Michelin dining is in New York, London and Paris. Sounds expensive but still much cheaper in SG! Odette, a 2 star establishment here cost almost 200SGD for four course. While this lunch at Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, a 3 Star Michelin Restaurant cost me 80 Pounds, 143SGD all included with 2 glass of wine, coffee/tea to finish.
A rule of hand when dining at Michelin establishments is to aim for the lunch offering. They are constantly much easier on the wallet, huge difference from dinner service and it allows you to have an insight to the cuisine and style of the chef as well. It might be better since it will be quieter as well. However, usually fine dining are a pretty long affair and take up quite a bit of time. Some people might not want to blow 2-3hrs of a day sitting down and sightsee. But for me this is travelling. Again, always reserve in advance for michelin restaurants, especially 2 or 3 stars one. No difference for Alain Ducasse as well. I reserve the table once it open up and as usual they require a credit card guarantee as well. The restaurant is located in The Dorchester, a fancy hotel in Mayfair just off Hyde Park, making it perfect for a nice little stroll before or after your meal. You know that you are in for a treat when there are people with tailcoats providing service. Service is polished and excellent as per usual. There is a small host desk right at the entrance where your reservations were verified. I was then addressed by name and followed by an offer to hang my jacket.
We were shown in to a spacious round table at the side of the room with warm lightings that complement the abundance of natural light. It also had views of the street and Hyde Park that is opposite. I love the vibe and feeling. It felt like you are right in the middle of everything but sheltered from the noisy environment. It felt cosy. I would that it would probably be amazing as well in the winter where you can just gaze at the snowfall with a glass of wine. The hosts and sommelier all came to introduce yourself. Staff to customer ratio were excellent, especially since it is a rather quiet affair today. We had like 3 host waiting on our table and this is not including the sommelier who only focus on wine pairing.
I love the fresh and modern decor. It uses different shades of brown, light grey. Throw in the crisp white tablecloth, warm lighting and leather chairs it felt cosy and modern. Something like a Park Hyatt feel. The pink water glassware also gives it a little bit of contrast. Still or Sparkling was asked and the menu was left for us to review. The host also very nicely help us with some pictures since I was celebrating my birthday. They were attentive to remind us of the steps when we were walking around or even a full ushered to the washroom since it is located outside. Host was also genuine, interested to know about our trip and stuff. Nice to see his passion and the engagement. I have to point out that they even ask if we are alright with the amount of sunlight shining in and if there is a need to adjust the shades. 100 Points!
They only serve the lunch menu in the day and it is a 3 course menu with 2 glass of wine, coffee or tea and half a bottle of water included, all at a price of 70 Pounds. I would say that they are the most affordable and comprehensive 3 Star offering in town. Furthermore you get 3 different choices for all courses and there is even 2 red and 2 white on offer. Extremely awesome. This is the menu for the day.
Service started with some freshly baked in house Gougères which is still warm and crisp on the outside. It felt so comfortable to munch on it. We literally wipe off them in no time. Even my mum who do not really like cheese comment that it was tasty.
The staff then came by with an assortment of bread, followed with some whipped butter and a homemade cream cheese & whipped cream spread. There are a lot of bread to choose from, from pretzels, soft bread and one of them was made with bacon fat which is so delicious but yet I felt so guilty at the same time. Bread were offered multiple times throughout the service. Of course, tables were scraped off any crumbs after each course!
Amuse bouche was served and I can’t really remember what is it but it is some pea purees with feta cheese which was rather apertising. Amuse Bouche is suppose to give you an insight on how the meal should be and I think it was rather kept to the same theme after since most of the courses are green in colors. Healthy living guys!
The sommelier which was a nice Italian lady came over after the order was taken to introduce the wine options. She is really experienced despite her young age to introduce the wine options. We simply went with her recommendations.
We each got one of the starter on the menu so that we can try a little bit of everything. Everything was good and unique. But what was really memorable was the watercress veloute which came with fried frog legs. It was certainly unexpected. But the most delicious and fun one definitely have to be the quail eggs. It look so ordinary but the eggs just exploded in your mouth. Bursting with flavours. Then you get the soft, powdery yolk in the whole of your mouth. What an amazing way to have quail eggs.
For the mains, my parents went with the Cod which was served with split peas and rhubarb. I just had a bite of it. According to them it was so delicious and they were raving so much about it. The portion was good as well with a thick slab and nice crispy on the outside yet still kept moist and flaky. Sauce was however too green for my liking.
Meanwhile I had the veal rump which was so delicious and tender. I am not usually a beef person but right now I would do anything to have it again. There were two thick slab of veal which is cook to a perfect medium well, just a little hint of pink in them. It might seems tough, but the most tender one I ever had. Especially since it is a veal. It was so nicely seasoned and I was close to licking my plate off. It came accompanied with this cutie little onions and sage. Sauce was a very nice reduction. I have nothing but praise for it.
A hot towel was served after the main and to freshen up. Weirdly for a restaurant of its caliber a palate cleanser wasn’t served! Something to improve on. Petit four also came before desserts which is weird and probably unacceptable for a restaurant of the highest calibre. We got the Strawberry which came with avocado as well as the Vacherin meringue. The staff gave me a little birthday surprise by placing a candle on my dessert since they knew that i was celebrating it. The Strawberry dessert is the better ones and it came with a bed of avocado puree as well as a sorbet. Overall dessert does seems to be the weak spot of the restaurant. I was definitely not impressive with both them.
The meal “ended” with petits fours and I also had an espresso to finish the meal. It consists of an assortment of macarons, fudge as well as some chocolate nuts. It was lovely and the macrons was tasty. I have to say that they are rather generous.
Well, that is a super satisfying meal with a fair price tag. Lots of “greens” as well. Overall a very awesome good experience. This might just be the best dining experience I ever had. To nitpick, well it is a 3 star michelin so it got to be perfect. The music is a bit too loud and the lack of a palate cleanser. There was a slight mishap with the petit four being served before dessert. This is definitely a place to go to when I am in London, especially if I have a special occasion to celebrate. Even my dad who do not really like fine dining also says that he enjoy. Staff interaction, price & Ambience is 10/10, food is 8/10.