Tuesday 2 September 2014

Lunch at Les Amis Singapore review: 14th best in Asia, 86th best in the world

As the second part of Louise's birthday I wanted to take her somewhere special and after looking at Iggy'sJaan and Les Amis I decided on the latter. All three are amongst the best in Asia and Singapore without being beyond my means like Waku Ghin and Restaurant Andre by offering reasonable lunch menus.

Les Amis is a mainstay on the Singapore fine dining scene and has been popular for some years and I personally feel that although not quite as useful as an evening degustation meal, a lunch option can show a lot about a restaurant. Although the head chef may not be there overseeing, particularly on a weekday, their standards and expectations of the staff should continue to every guest, no matter their budget, even more so when you are in the top 100 restaurants in the world.

The restaurant is just off Orchard Road so has a very convenient location for locals or tourists and practically runs the small street with various different off shoot restaurants. Inside does seem a little dated and as soon as you enter the door you are practically at your table (though you may be also be seated upstairs) but despite this the room is bright with full length windows and quiet.

We were given our lunch menus and you can choose from three options at $55, $70 and $125 but I had already decided on the middle "Decouverte" option with the supplement dish bringing the meal to $95pp. Looking at the menus beforehand I was happy to see that some of the dishes also feature on the evening degustation menus so I knew we would not be shortchanged and in fact the cheaper two menus seem better value as the $125 option seems more about classic French cuisine, i.e. as many expensive items as you can use rather than doing more with less so to speak.

The bread basket
We were given a bread basket and a nicely shaped pyramid of creamy butter with good salt on the side with a piece of warm sourdough, baguette, bacon breadstick and tomato/olive focaccia each. All were pleasant but the sourdough and focaccia were particularly nice.

White asparagus in "blanc mange" with oscietra caviar

Soon after, we were brought our starter of white asparagus in “blanc mange” with oscietra caviar. This was served on sour cream with orange oil, silver leaf and petals surrounded by parsley oil dots. We were blown away by the very pretty dish and the flavours matched the presentation. Slight sourness was carrying the briny caviar and citrus of the orange which welcomed huge waves of earthy, pure asparagus floating on fresh herbs. This was a truly beautiful dish of soft delicate textures (the asparagus was a very soft smotth gelee, or "blanc mange") that we just did not want to end, a sign of a perfect starter.

Lobster encased in baby spinach with fish bone sauce

Plates were cleared and we recieved our second course of warm lobster encased within baby spinach accompanied by classic fish bone sauce. As with the first course, huge depth of flavour with the richest of fish sauces lifted up by the sweet lobster and fresh salmon roe. Lingering on the back of the tongue was the crustacean and pink peppercorn powder sprinkled around the plate. Beautiful and to the standard I am sure is served on the evening.

River eel with baked potatoes and onion confit

Our supplement course of grilled river eel with baked potatoes and pearl onion confit was clearly a money maker at $25 but it was so worth it. The eel was perhaps slightly under seasoned but well cooked whilst the onions and potatoes almost made the dish a surf and turf with their meatiness. Despite this, shiso flowers brought the whole dish together with floral freshness that really did make the dish stand out.

Ox tongue stuffed in calf's head aromatised with veal jus

It was at this point that the meal did slightly go downhill. My main course was the ox tongue stuffed in calf’s head aromatised with veal jus. The central tongue was soft and fork tender whilst the fatty calf’s head exterior was acceptably chewy to me, though perhaps a little too much for others. If you follow the menu this dish did everything right as it was very good meat that could have been too heavy without the fresh herbs but I found it a little one dimensional as the garnish did not add much beyond a good brininess from the capers which were nonetheless pleasant.

Angel hair pasta with lobster

Louise’s main course was angel hair pasta with lobster, crispy sakura ebi and a touch of parmesan surrounded again by crustacean powder that you had to blow into the dish. The pasta was perfectly al dente with sweet lobster and crispy prawn whilst the sauce may surprise some with its spiciness but it was well judged (despite the woman next to us adding half a bottle of Tabasco surely ruining the dish, more on that later). Overall, a good dish, but not to the level of the first three courses and it brings to mind a similar dish my dad told me about were they used lime powder instead which may have positively added zing.

Greengage souffle with yoghurt sorbet

Our final course was a perfect soufflé of greengages with yoghurt sorbet. The soufflé had no graininess or lingering egg flavour but perhaps could do with more greengage. The sorbet was very good though with clear acidic yoghurt flavour that complemented the soufflé nicely. The only reason this dish was not ideal is because neither me nor Louise particularly like soufflé so it was always going to struggle but despite this we both found it very good.

Overall the lunch menu was fantastic and all of the dishes were of a very high quality, indeed the first course was one of the best I have ever eaten and we would love to go back for the full degustation menu.
Also as a nice gesture the restaurant served Louise a couple of very nice madeleine’s with happy birthday written in chocolate sauce which was a very nice surprise for her.

Service was very good during the meal and they answered all of my questions if they knew the answer or after consulting the kitchen. The only negative was after we had eaten we were never offered tea or coffee despite being on the menu but neither was we given the bill until we asked for both after a fifteen minute wait and neither were we given any little baba’s the other guest’s received, which was a bit disappointing.

As a bit of a rant, the service handled the previously mentioned woman next to us very well but I have to say if we had been the girl whose dish she almost put her hand into whilst asking loudly “what is that dish? Can I get that dish?” we would have been rather annoyed and indeed we were astonished when she brought out her tablet and began watching a TV show, practically not even looking at what she was putting into her mouth. Luckily she did use headphones but I find it shocking that she left her daughter sat eating alone and it did distract us a little that someone could be so rude.

Ignoring these issues, the meal and restaurant were fantastic and we very highly recommend it for lunch.

Rating: 10/10
Expect to pay: Depends on which menu you opt for but we spent $115 per person
Would we go back: Without a doubt
Any freebies: Madeleine’s and “happy birthday”’ from all the staff (were these instead of the baba’s?)

One more of that beautiful starter

1 Scotts Road,
#02-16 Shaw Centre,

Tel: 6733 2225



  1. All the items look delicious and place is also calm one. Need to give it a try after reading a review from you, thanks for sharing your experience with us

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