Les Amis – New Chef de Cuisine Sebastien Lepinoy Debuts a New Menu
December 07, 2013
Located at the prominent Shaw Centre, Les Amis is the perfect place for a serious mealtime. Since its opening in 1994, Les Amis has established itself as an acclaimed French fine dining, renowned not only for its fine cuisine, but also for its award-winning wine list and impeccable service. This month, the restaurant celebrates two milestones – the appointment of Sebastien Lepinoy as Executive Chef; and the unveiling of a brand new menu specially designed by him.
A protégé of legendary chef Joël Robuchon, Chef Lepinoy is best known for his gastronomic creations as Head Chef of the Group’s Michelin-starred CÉPAGE in Hong Kong, before joining Les Amis. With Chef Lepinoy in the house, he has crafted a new creative and contemporary haute French cuisine comprising bold yet elegant dishes with Japanese influence.
Partnering Chef Lepinoy in the kitchen is pastry chef Cheryl Koh, who was trained at two Michelin star Lasserre in Paris and has been working with Chef Lepinoy for two years since CEPAGE. Complementing Chef Lepinoy’s cooking techniques with her artisanal approach to desserts, the duo has designed a series of menus for Les Amis, using the finest and freshest ingredients with stylish presentation and exceptional attention to details.
Even the table butter – from a small producer called Bordier – is top drawer. We can’t help but to keep eating their freshly made bread just so that we can try different butter flavours – namely sweaweed, salted, unsalted, sweet, chilli and smoked.
Our first appetizer was a beautifully plated French Caviar from Sologne balanced on cold angel hair pasta with chives and seaweed, which kinda reminded me of Gunther’s. If you have a softness for caviar, this cold angel hair pasta is a delightful luxury. It comes with a side of Scallop Maki.
As said, Chef Lepinoy’s french dishes has some Japanese influence and this is seen strongly in the Steam Blue Crab and Hokkaido Sea Urchin on Lobster Custard in light and delicious fennel foam. Using sea urchin which we usually have in Japanese restaurants, the ingredients are paired with flavourful lobster custard, presented in a Japanese style tray. Simple presentation, yet complicated flavours, totally enjoying it.
Made to look like a fried dumpling, the crispy cornouaille langoustine looks a little like a miniature lobster and is finger licking good. It is balanced with a bowl of overflowing ‘folichonne’ side salad.
Pan seared foie gras melts in the mouth and is seared to perfection, while the french river eel gave it a different matching flavour. It is accompanied by citrus fruits and dashi broth.
Grilled dry aged beef with bitterherbs, mushrooms and a rich jus is my favourite for the night. It’s Kagoshima A5, by the way. Which means it has fine fibre, marbling and a good combination of beef taste and fat which melts in your mouth. Cooked medium, the meat was tender, juicy and full-flavoured, it brings tears to the eyes.
I have a soft spot for souffle, that is an open secret. The dessert, however, is not for the impatient – it usually takes about 20 minutes for the kitchen to whip it up. A perfectly baked souffle should have a luscious crust fully risen well above the lip of the ramekin. Les Amis’ Dark Chocolate P125 Souffle has a very light texture, with the strong flavours from the dark chocolate expressed in the luxurious texture that only a souffle can provide. Paired with Tahiti vanilla ice cream, hot and cold combination brings a perfect ending to the night.
It was a really good meal, period. Chef Lepinoy surely lets his ingredients do most of the talking, with each dish presented simply yet creatively. Their lunch menu starts from $45++ per person, and their dinner starts from $150++ per person. Sure, it isn’t as cheap; but you’re definitely getting a lot more.
Les Amis boasts one of the most extensive wine lists in Asia. With more than 2000 labels housed in two temperature-controlled wine cellars, the award winning wine list is designed to complement the modern and contemporary cuisine at Les Amis. Most of the wines are from France, mainly Burgundy and Bordeaux. New and Old World wines displaying high level of quality are also available.
Address: 1 Scotts Road, #02-14/16 Shaw Centre
Tel: 6733 2225
Opening hours: Mondays to Saturdays Lunch 12 noon (Last seating at 2 pm); Dinner 7 pm (Last seating at 9.30 pm). Closed on Sundays and certain public holidays.