At our last visit to Les Amis, we had tried their mid-tier set course lunch which costs $70 per pax. We had received queries about their basic set lunch which is even more affordably priced at $55. Our friends were wondering whether you will still enjoy the Les Amis-ness of the restaurant at their lowest cost offering or will it be a bare bones, poorer cousin experience. So when the opportunity next arose to dine in the area, we were at Les Amis to test drive their reasonably priced offering, Menu Le Déjeuner (The Lunch Menu).
We will skip the description about the restaurant (which you can read from our earlier post on Les Amis) and jump straight into the menu and the food. As you can see, the $55 set lunch is a four-course lunch with coffee. There are no choices or add-on options. So there are no decisions to be made – just auto-pilot and enjoy the ride. While waiting for the first course, we were served with their usual basket of assorted breads and the artistically presented cone of butter with a pinch of sea salt.
The first course was the traditional French pate-en-croute – pate baked in a mould made of pastry so that it becomes “pate in crust”. The dish was so plainly plated yet beautiful in its simplicity of presentation. The rectangular shape of the pate and crust was nicely framed by the indented shape of the plate like a painting. It provided a smooth and creamy start to the meal. The pate was lightly flavoured and did not feel heavy at all.
Next was the daikon (Japanese radish) soup. Again, the simplicity of the soup and the sunburst design of the plate made for a presentation that is quite exquisite. A light taste of black truffles added a further layer of complexity to the soup. Yummy.
After the safe and muted presentation of the first two dishes, the main course of oven roasted French free range chicken was presented quite boldly. A piece of roasted chicken is common place. But here, they have chosen to serve it with some roughness, with part of the chicken’s foot, the middle finger (or toe) no less and with the claw intact. The edginess of the food was a real contrast with the elegance of the crockery. The taste of this French kampung chicken is hard to describe. To say it is gamey is to put it too strongly. Perhaps its more correct to say that it had a concentrated chicken flavour. The meat was firm and textured which together with the light sauce elevated the dish beyond what we had imagined a chicken dish could be. Why is it that chicken from far away places seem to taste better than local ones (see also our review on Tsukada Nojo)?
The final course of the Les Amis Set Lunch was cafe liegeois – a French dessert made with ice-cream, cream and coffee. It was served with an ornate chocolate grill that looks like something from a wrought iron gate. It was small and light and, in conjunction with the petite fours, brought the meal to a delightful end.
Our verdict? We think this Les Amis Set Lunch can be a candidate for the best set lunch in Singapore. Sure, $55 is quite a lot to pay for lunch. But it is not much more than many average lunches here in Orchard Road. We enjoyed the soothing ambience, attentive service and excellent French cooking. Admittedly, the lower price is reflected in the more humble ingredients used, no expensive cuts of meat or seafood from Tsukiji, but the chef has managed to make them taste really good. Fine dining in Orchard Road for $55? We think it is very acceptable!
(Aug 2015 Update – Read our review of Les Amis after their renovations in early 2015 here.)
#01-16 Shaw Centre
1 Scotts Road
Nearby Station : Orchard