Sunday 6 March 2022

La Belle Epoque – Modern European Cuisine in Boat Quay [MEDIA INVITE]

La Belle Epoque, which means ‘the golden age’ in French, is a brand-new European Restaurant and Bar located in Boat Quay. Helmed by Executive Chef Firdauz Nasir, with more than 15 years experience under the tutelage of fine dining Master Chefs in Singapore. At La Belle Epoque (“LBE”), Chef Firdauz will showcase his culinary creation using old-school techniques and herbs cultivated from his very own herb garden.

La Belle Epoque
We started our tasting with Oyster & Iberico ($26, 3 pcs, keto). Oysters lightly torched, topped with crispy iberico ham, tomato salsa and Avruga caviar. It is smooth and silky, followed by a sweet and tangy flavours from the salsa, mixed with the bursting umami flavour from the Avruga caviar and crispy texture of the iberico ham. A great start to the meal.

Oyster & Iberico
Charcuterie Platter ($28 for any 4 selections of cold cuts and cheeses). Our platter consists of black Forest Raw Ham, Collar boneless (Cabecero) Iberico, Taleggio DOP Cheese and Comte Rivoire. On top of the 2 cold cuts and cheeses, we also have salad, gherkins, olive and dried nuts.

Charcuterie Platter 
While the presentation looks good, LD and I just don’t like the flavour. The black forest raw ham is too gamy for my liking and the iberico is just too waxy. The cheeses, gherkins, nuts and olive are great. I find it is missing the fruits / dry fruits component on the plate.

Skins ($8, gluten-free) – Crispy Fish, Chicken & Pork skins, seasonal vegetables served with black garlic aioli. The fish and chicken skins are delicious, while the vegetables and black garlic aioli bind the whole ingredients together. The touch of edible flowers to this dish made the plating looks beautiful. Unfortunately, the pork skin let down the dish as it tasted like stale oil. Hopefully, they can fix this and turn this dish to become everyone’s favourite dish here.

Hummus Taco ($10, vegetarian & keto) - Smoked chickpea mashed & blended with tahini, lemon juice and garlic served in a corn taco shell, roasted capsicum, romaine lettuce & pickled shallots. A vegetarian flavour bomb here. Earthy, creamy and robust. It is best eaten with your hands. You might want to remove the chilli if you don't like spicy stuff like me.

Hummus Taco
Cauliflower Steak ($12, vegetarian & gluten-free) - Smoked & cured cauliflower pan-seared with vegetable butter herbs, served with purple pommes potato, braised & grilled purple cabbage with vegetable demi-glace. A lot of textures and flavours happening on the plate. The cauliflower is smoky and crunchy, the pommes potatoes are creamy while braised purple cabbage with demi-glace adds the tanginess to the dish. Total sensory overload in this dish. Yumz!

Cauliflower Steak
Cauliflower Steak
Smoked Pork Belly ($16) - Smoked pork belly marinated with Chef's selected spices, served with crispy pork crackers, grilled peach salad and pork velouté. A robust and enjoyable pork belly, with a gelatinous texture rendered from pork skin and fats during the smoking process. The pork velouté (pork sauce) compliments the pork belly, while the bitter purple cabbage helps to balance the richness of the dish. We had a nibble of the pork skin and did not touch it further as it still has the stale taste as before.

Smoked Pork Belly
Since LBE smoked the whole pork belly, maybe the customer has a choice of “Corner Cut” or “Middle Cut”. At first, I got the middle cut, where the pork belly is almost fork-tender texture. Meanwhile, our friend received the corner cut, which has a gelatinous texture. Since I loved the gelatinous texture, we exchanged our plates.

Smoked Pork Belly
Beef Short Ribs ($28). Aged short ribs, marinated with local spices, cooked for 48 hours served with light smoked fine haricot beans, aged port wine & romaine salad. An overly complicated dish. There is too much flavour going on with the beef ribs, we are not sure what to make of it. Surprisingly, the smoked fine haricot beans deliver the best flavour on this plate. Moving forward, it is best to simplify this dish and allow the ingredients to shine.

Beef Short Ribs
Beef Short Ribs
Moving to the desserts, we have Tiramisu, Lemon Tart & Guerre Stellari ($10 each). The tiramisu served tasted too light and not creamy enough for my liking. It is also lacking OMPH from the coffee and marsala wine. I like my tiramisu to be light, but creamy at the same time. On top of that, I want to feel the power from the coffee and marsala wine, just like the Italians like their Espresso. I just had a tiramisu recently that meet my description above.

The lemon tart is great. Light torched meringue sitting on top of the smooth lemon custard and crumbly cinnamon tart. The tart is served on top of a “Surprise” bowl that contains homemade dried fruits.

Lemon Tart
Lemon Tart with "Suprise" Box
Guerre Stellari is inspired by Chef Firdauz favourite movies, Star Wars. Dark chocolate shell in the shape of Star Wars warship, stuffed with chocolate mousse served with raspberry sorbet. Solid and #Chocolategasm dessert. The raspberry sorbet is super sour cuts through the dark chocolate perfectly.

Guerre Stellari
LBE has alfresco seating of 25 and indoor seating of 31, spread over 3 floors. The furniture used is more suitable for alfresco seating, using rattan chairs and light colour wooden top tables. As it is located facing the iconic Singapore river, I recommend the alfresco seating to soak up the memorable dining experience.

Alfresco Dining Area
The Bar
Overall, the menu curated by Chef Firdauz and his team showcases some brilliant flair and daring flavours. However, there is a tendency of overindulgence, pushing the boundary too much. Sometimes “LESS is BEST” and the team need to pay attention to the consistency of their execution. The menu caters to a wide array of specific diet groups such as keto, gluten-free and vegetarian as well. I recommend the Oyster & Iberico, Hummus Taco, Cauliflower Steak, Smoked Pork Belly, Lemon Tart and Guerre Stellari. Cheers!!

Food & Drink: 7/10
Value: 7/10
Service: N/A (Tasting Invitation)
Ambiance: 7/10
Budget per Person: $26 - $50; $51 - $80

La Belle Epoque
63 Boat Quay
Singapore 049851

T: +65 6732 1687
IG: @Labelleepoquesg
Mon – Sat: 15.00 – 23.30
Closed on Sunday
Menu available online

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