The Singapore government announced in 2005 that they had a plan to transform two iconic buildings in the city centre into an arts museum. Exactly ten years and more than five hundred million Singapore dollars later, the former city hall and supreme court have merged into the National Gallery Singapore, an impressive building, housing the world’s largest public display of Singaporean and Southeast Asian art. It is in this iconic building that French chef Julien Royer has created Odette Restaurant.
Royer is born in a family of farmers, in a rural part of France in the Auvergne region. Already at a very young age, it was natural for him to cook daily with his grandmother Odette. The family lived a humble life, but the daily meals were important and there was a strong focus on eating well. They followed the seasons and ate what they produced on their own farm. Inspired by this love for good food, at the age of twelve Royer decided that one day, he would be a professional chef. After finishing culinary school and obtaining an additional management degree for restaurateurs, chef Royer started working in the restaurant of Michel Bras in Laguiole. Bras had a very strong influence on the young Royer and still today he is the Chef who he admires most. Especially his humble personality and his unique philosophy on how to approach food, produce and people, impressed Royer. It is also in the kitchen of Bras that he learned how important it is to have respect for the members in your team, to allow them to learn and, as a team, become better.
After his time in the restaurant of Michel Bras, he gained additional experience by working in the kitchens of Bernard Andrieux in Durtol, Lagoon by Jean Georges in Bora Bora, Les Brasseurs in Singapore and The Greenhouse in London. From London the chef moved back to Singapore, where he took over the kitchen of Jaan at Swissôtel The Stamford.
In Jaan, Chef Royer had for the first time the opportunity to be a real Head Chef. This gave him the chance to explore his cooking style and to create his own culinary identity. He still looks back at it as a fantastic experience, which allowed him to learn a lot. However, at a certain point of time, he felt the urge to move on to a further step in his career. Next to being a chef, he wanted to become a restaurateur. When he met his partner and he had the opportunity to step into this project to build his own restaurant in the National Gallery Singapore, he decided to realise this ambition and he started Odette Restaurant, named after the grandmother who many years ago inspired him to cook.
Odette Restaurant is serving French cuisine in a contemporary style. Chef Royer aims at finding the right balance between tradition and innovation. He conserves the classical aspects of the French gastronomy but incorporates modern cooking techniques as long as they do not change the DNA of the products. As he learned from his family during his childhood, he aims at reflecting the seasons in his menus. Royer sources the ingredients for his dishes from all over the world, even though a strong preference for products from France, Japan, Australia and New Zealand can be noticed. Vegetables are mainly sourced from an organic farm on Cameron Island in Malaysia, while most of the herbs come from local farms in Singapore.
From most tables in the restaurant, you can see the kitchen. For the interior design that is classy and upscale, mainly light colours were chosen, with strong presence of beige and grey. You can expect a traditional French fine dining experience with service that is quite formal, attentive, adequate and not stiff. As a guest, you feel welcome, comfortable and pampered from the moment you walk into the restaurant. If you have tried the creations of Chef Royer during his time in Jaan, you won’t be very surprised by the kind of food that he is serving in Odette Restaurant. The chef remained loyal to the cooking style he developed there, and even brought along a few of his signature dishes. High quality produce is paired in a traditional way, and finished with contemporary accents to enhance the texture or the presentation. The wine list is rather limited with about two hundred labels, and consists mainly of boutique wines.
In a very short time, Odette Restaurant became undoubtedly one of the very best restaurants in Singapore. You can expect a top class fine dining experience, with contemporary food and perfect service in a unique setting. We are looking forward to seeing how Chef Royer and his restaurant will further evolve, but in the meanwhile, we can only recommend you to visit Odette Restaurant and enjoy every moment.
Written by Johan
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1 Saint Andrew’s Road #01-04