Les Amis had reopened in May 2015 after some renovations that reportedly cost $1.5m and which closed down this upscale French restaurant for a few weeks earlier this year. We were curious to see what were the changes to the decor, food and importantly – the prices (if any). We dropped by recently and tried some selections from the Les Amis set lunch menu.
First, the premises and the decor. The photo above is the new Les Amis. The photo below is a pre-renovation photo. Spot the difference(s)? Like us, you are probably asking – where did the $1.5m go? The answer is : mainly the kitchen which we cannot see. They also did something to the upper level to accommodate three tables at the landing area (where there used to be only one). They also converted the bar area near the entrance to seating. Most of the main dining area therefore looks exactly the same. There were also changes to the crockery and menu prices, which we shall discuss in a moment.
The good news is that they have retained the concept of three types of Les Amis set lunch menus, starting at $55, to make the restaurant accessible to more people. The bad news is that the other two levels have seen their prices increase to $80 and $145. Another major change is that Les Amis is now open on Sundays. But the Sunday menus are slightly more pricey. Full details are on their website, see link below.
Currently the lowest priced prix fixe menu is the $55 le express menu (2 course + dessert + coffee). Next is the $80 le menu formula a la carte (3 courses + dessert + coffee) which provides choices for each course. The $145 le menu tasting (amuse bouche + 4 courses + dessert + coffee) completes the options for lunch. We decided on the mid-range option. You can see the Les Amis set lunch menus on-line. But just so you can have a quick idea of what’s in store here is the page with the main course options.
The first course was the cold appetizers. We selected the “Artichoke and Foie Gras” and the “Organic Tomato in Club Sandwich”.
The “artichokes and foie gras” did not look like artichoke or foie gras. We did not realise that we had tried this item before from the old menu until now when I am writing this post and referring back to our past records. I will just use the first part of our previous description for it – “the creation was made by thin layers of foie gras and artichoke gelatin interlaced to form a kueh-lapis like structure. It was a novel combination which balanced the strong foie gras taste with the refreshing gelatin”. The same observation applies. The second part of our description is not applicable as it referred to the shaved truffles which garnished the former edition of this dish. This time round, garlic flavoured toast was provided which went very well with the foie gras taste.
Our other cold appetizer was the organic tomato in “club sandwich”. The description sounds very boring and we would not have ordered it if not for the enthusiastic recommendation of our server. It turned out to be a great choice. Crabmeat and other good tasting condiments were sandwiched between layers of organic tomato. Very tasty and refreshing!
For warm appetizer, we selected the Crispy Langoustine. This appetizer is made up of two parts. One part was langoustine meat deep fried in batter. The other part was a salad of chopped vegetables and a hint of fish topped with shreds of seaweed that made it look like a sea urchin. The langoustine was good but had a predictable taste. The salad was unusual and was more interesting.
Our other warm appetizer was the Blue Lobster Royale. It does not look exciting but the taste was really rich. Imagine a large cup of chawanmushi which has been prepared with added lobster, foie gras and other good stuff. The taste was complex and the various components blended well together.
For the main course, we had the Pork Loin and the Caramelised Quail. The grilled pork was lean and clean tasting but did not have any distinctive taste. The generous portion of buttery whipped potato puree makes this a good choice for those with a big appetite.
The quail was a better choice. The portion was small but the taste of the bird was intense. The vegetables also complemented the taste.
A meal at a good French restaurant will not be complete without some wine. To go with lunch a few reasonably priced half bottles are suggested in the menu. We ordered a half-bottle Domaine Louis Moreau Chablis ($35) which provided excellent companionship with our appetizers.
For the meat dishes we flipped through the Les Amis wine list which was as thick as a telephone directory. We settled on a Spanish wine – 2010 Bodegas Muga Reserva, one of five red wines by the glass available. Still young but smooth and drinkable with a taste of ripe fruits. At $23 (glass) or $110 (bottle) it is fairly priced (by restaurant standards). Les Amis also has a one-for-one corkage policy whereby the corkage fee for a BYO bottle is waived if you buy one from them.
For dessert we had the Roasted Sollies Figs and Chocolate Souffle. The Figs arrived in a pretty arrangement. It was a pity to have to destroy the flower arrangement to get to the figs but we had to do what we had to do. Figs glazed in red wine sauce, ginger ice-cream and the pastry combined to make each mouthful a burst of flavours.
Our other dessert was a more serious, masculine-looking dessert. The chocolate souffle was not as light and flambouyant as the souffle we recently tried at Balzac. It was heavy but with a rich chocolatey taste.
Just as we thought our meal had ended, our charming server turned up with a third, complimentary, dessert – caramelized banana and fruit sorbet. A simple and light dessert and some petit fours to end our meal.
Although there were not many visible changes, we think we still prefer the old Les Amis. The prices were slightly lower and the old crockery was more interesting than the current set. You can visit our past posts on Les Amis here and here and see if you agree.
Having said that, Les Amis still remains one of our favourite restaurants in Singapore. Apart from the good food, we should also complement them on their service. No pushy “still or sparkling water” attitude, no snooty sommelier. Everyone was friendly and professional in this elegant restaurant.
Overall Rating: 4 TOPs
#01-16 Shaw Centre
1 Scotts Road
Tel: +65 6733 2225
Mon-Thu: 12-2pm, 7-9:30pm
Fri-Sun: 12-2pm, 6:30-9:30pm
Closed on certain holidays
Nearby Stations : Orchard