Guy Savoy Singapore: Signature Dishes of the Three Michelin Star Chef

Heirloom tomatoes “fa?on” tartare and salad, tomato tartelette and seaweed-lemon granite

If you are a foodie, then the term “Three Michelin Stars” should elicit some kind of emotional response. Indeed it is the holy grail of gastronomy. But just what does “Three Michelin Stars” actually mean?

Well, according to the Michelin guide, One Star means “A very good restaurant in its category”, Two Stars means “excellent cuisine that is worth a detour” while Three Michelin Stars *** mean “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey”. It goes on to add that in such a restaurant, “One always eats here exceptionally well, sometimes superbly. Distinctive dishes are precisely executed, using superlative ingredients”.


However, the definition on the street is quite different. According to some of my well heeled friends who have travelled the world to eat at such places, “Three Michelin Stars” means very good food, very good service and very expensive, while “One Michelin Star” means very good food, maybe not so great service but you get more bang for your buck.

It is interesting to note that the number of Three Michelin Starred restaurant has almost doubled since 2004 when there were 49 Three Michelin Starred restaurants in the world. In 2011, there are 97. This is because in 2006, the Michelin Guide started listing restaurants in the US and in 2008, restaurants in Asia, starting with Japan which currently has 26 Three Michelin Star Restaurants, even more than France, with 24.

Truth be told, I have never dined in a “Three Michelin Star” restaurant before, so I don’t really have a benchmark to compare my experience at Guy Savoy (Singapore). I can only tell you how I personally feel about the food according to how intense my tastebuds were titillated. However, I must say the restaurant does showcase his most iconic dishes and they look exactly like how they look at Guy Savoy Paris. You can compare my photos with this film about Guy Savoy as well as the photos from Peter (Ho Chiak blog) who dined there.

When I asked Chef Savoy what his cuisine was all about, he told me very simply that he likes to tease out the original taste of the ingredient and one of the hallmarks of his style is to have prepare the same ingredient in different ways and reconstitute them into one dish so that you can experience various textures and nuances of the produce.

His starter dish of Heirloom Tomatoes is an excellent example. The dish screams tomatoes! Here he takes a few varieties of Heirloom Tomatoes and extracts the tomato flavour in different ways. Some are simply diced, others are sliced thin and air dried so that they have a paper like texture. There is also tomato jus, extracted from pressing fresh tomatoes complemented by some tomatoes which have been baked in an oven as a contrast to the salad. A real treat for tomato lovers. 4.25/5

Maine Lobster”raw cooked” in cold steam, seasoned with Carrots, Turnip and Beet, and accompanied by chilled Lobster Soup to Drink”

Our next dish of Maine Lobster “raw cooked” in cold steam is the most visually stunning dish of the evening. The culinary special effect is actually quite simple. The cold steam is achieved by pouring water onto dry ice which then rises through the holes in a plate that looks like, for the lack of a better comparison, those drain covers made for preventing hair from clogging up your bathtub. (Sorry, but it really does look like it)

Chef tells me that the cold steam reminds him of Brittany, where the world’s best lobsters are supposed to come from. Indeed the whole plate was covered with a mist such that you can imagine standing on the shores in Britanny on a cold foggy morning. The lobster “Tartare” was made up of several layers of lobster meat done different ways. There was a layer of cooked lobster and a layer of lobster cappaccio and you are supposed to take alternative mouthfuls of the lobster with the cold lobster soup which was made from the head and shell. The soup tasted like the whole lobster concentrated into a frothy mouthful which got my umami receptors tingling with excitement. 4.5/5

“Colors of Caviar” Verrine consisting of Golden Oscetra Caviar, Caviar Vinaigrette, Creme Fraiche, Haricot Vert Puree and finished with warm Caviar Sabayon

I have never had a dish where the Caviar is the protagonist. As far as I can remember, Caviar has always played second fiddle or as a garnishing on top of a dish in order to justify a hefty price tag. Chef Savoy’s “Colours of Caviar” is true to his insistence that he wants his guests to experience the real flavour of the ingredient.

If you have eaten Caviar before, you would know that this briny, fishy, fish roe is a little overwhelming if it is eaten by itself. It usually has to be paired with something else to balance out the flavours. The Verrine perfectly balances out the strong salty umami taste of the caviar with a bit of sour from the vanaigrette, sweetness and slight astringence from the Hericot Vert puree and rich creaminess from the Sabayon and Creme Fraiche. We were told that we need to eat all the layers at the same time in order to really appreciate the dish. It’s amazing that you won’t come away thinking about the taste of the Sabayon or the Hericort Vert. The only taste you remember is the Caviar. 4.75/5

Chef came round and told us that the Caviar was obtained from sustainable, farmed Russian Oscetra Sturgeons in China. Surprisingly, the Chinese now operate one of the biggest Sturgeon farms in the world producing 4 tonnes of Caviar a year for export. According to their website as well as other reports, it seems that this farm is quite legitimate (ie they are not making fake caviar) and has been accredited by CITES (Centre for international trade in Endangered Species). The fish are hatched and grown in indoor ponds where the water is naturally filtered and a fed a diet free from antibiotics and hormone. That is pretty good news for lovers of caviar who can continue to enjoy this delicacy with a clear conscience.

Crispy Sea Bass with Delicate spices, accompanied by Swiss Chard, Black Trumpet Mushrooms and a Vanilla and Spice Jus

It was obvious that Chef Savoy is very proud of his Crispy Sea Bass. Before dinner started he was passionately sharing with me how he came up with the idea of pan frying the Sea Bass with the scales intact. He felt that it was essential that capture the essence of the whole fish and since the scales were part of the fish he decided leave the scales on. Initially, they were not supposed to be eaten, but his patrons started to feedback to him that the crispy scales was what made the dish really special!

It is quite an amazing feat to be able to get the scales so crisp and yet not overcook the fish. Chef Savoy shared with me that in order to achieve this, he firstly has to use a fish that is large enough so that the fillets are relatively thick. The second little trick he does is to fry the fish only on the skin side at high heat and then leave the fish over the stove to continue cooking with its inherent heat.

The result is a wonderful contrast of textures which makes me wonder why are we throwing all those wonderful fish scales away when they could easily be deep fried and made into very nice crisps to go with beer! Anyway, the 2nd part of the magic is the special Vanilla and Spice jus which accompanies the Sea Bass. Chef Savoy has been credited as one of the early pioneers of “Nouvelle French Cuisine” which brings a lighter touch to traditional French food and this sauce exemplifies that style. As with all great dishes, there was something in the sauce that I just cannot pin down but boy did the sauce complement the fish well. He was tight lipped about what kind of spices go into the sauce but the balance was simply perfect. This is the best Sea Bass dish I have eaten. 4.6/5

Artichoke and black truffle soup, toasted Mushroom Brioche and Black Truffle Butter

It is interesting to note that the soup actually came quite late in the degustation rather then being a starter dish as most soups usually are. The waiter very proudly told us that the signature Artichoke and black truffle soup has been the hallmark of his cuisine for over 20 years and continues to be served in his restaurant. This was probably the only dish of the evening where the principle ingredient is not clear. Whatever it is, dipping the Mushroom Brioche laced with Truffle butter into the soup and stuffing it into your mouth was one of those instances where you just need to close your eyes and allow the flavour and aroma to fill your senses. 4.6/5

Shoulder of Australian Wagyu in two preparations, young carrots and potato “Maxim”

The Australian Wagyu Shoulder was cooked two ways. The traditional way was to slow cook the beef till the fibres separate with the fork and the modern version where the meat is cooked briefly in the sauce and briefly seared. This dish would have been excellent on its own, but after five pretty amazing dishes, this one pales in comparison as something not quite as unique to Guy Savoy. Still, you really can’t find any technical fault with the dish. 4.25/5

Strawberry Textures: Compote, fresh Dice, Sorbet, Granite, chips and Jus

Strawberry textures is yet another Guy Savoy signature dish which you can watch being served in his film. Again, its strawberry that has been prepared in a number of ways and reconstituted in the dish. Now, I do appreciate the complexity of the dish, but I for one usually find Strawberries a little too tart and usually like the have them with chocolate or cream. So overall, this dessert was a little too much strawberries for me. Would have been nice to have something sweet and creamy to balance out the acidity. If you like the tartness of strawberry though, you would love this dish as we heard some oohs and aahhs coming from the next table when the dish was served. 4/5

Conclusion

There is no doubt that Guy Savoy delivers on the dishes. As the Michelin Guide said of three Michelin Star restaurants, the “distinctive dishes were precisely executed, using superlative ingredients”. One comment often heard over the grapevine is that it is a bit on the pricey side, so even though the dishes are great, they are not really worth the amount you pay for them. I think that is a fair argument if you base it entirely on the amount you pay for the ingredients you get. However, I checked the Guy Savoy website and found that his Menu Prestige in Paris is selling for ?315 (S$542) while his Menu Prestige here is $S408. So actually, it is the kind of price the Chef Savoy commands if you want to eat at his restaurant.

Even though this is one of the most elegant places for fine dining in Singapore, the atmosphere is still pretty relaxed and all the diners here dress pretty casually. The service was attentive but perhaps not quite as polished as one would expect in such a high end establishment. I was slightly disappointed with the Cheese trolley, this being one of the Best French Restaurants in Singapore, you would have expected a Cheese Trolley to be like Disney World Florida rather than Disneyland Hong Kong.

This was a media invited review

Guy Savoy
Address

10 Bayfront Avenue,#L2-01, Casino Level 2 Marina Bay Sands Singapore
Singapore
View Map

Opening hours:
Contact

6688 8513

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