Since he closed his Keong Saik location back in March, fans of chef Nicolas Joanny (us included) have been anxiously awaiting his return. He left for a bit of a breather and went to train and search for inspiration in Japan. He’s back now though, and the new Nicolas Le Restaurant is still in the Tanjong Pagar area on Teck Lim Road.
The new space used to be an office and the frontage has the same sleek glass windows that remind us of Bistro Soori (just a few doors away). Inside’s a different story though. The décor’s pretty oriental with antique-looking chests and rich jewel-toned cushions. There are also quirky paintings (like one of hanging salamis) plus wood details (such as a chest to cover the air conditioning unit).
The chef has kept the open kitchen concept he had at his old place. Except this time, it’s at the back of the restaurant instead of along the side, so the cooking is a tad more removed from diners. It all sounds pretty eclectic but what we’re saying is we like it. Everything contributes to good atmosphere and a funny feeling of anticipation.
From what we tried, the food—including dishes like organic hen egg “a la coque” with crunchy pastille of blue prawn sardinade and pigeon from the Loire Valley (the leg slow-confited and the breast roasted) served with buttery spelt risotto—doesn’t disappoint and was totally worth the wait. If you’re heading down, they’ve got a three-course lunch menu ($42) and a five-course lunch degustation ($68). At dinner, dig into a six-course Tasting Menu ($98), which changes every two weeks, or an eight-course Surprise Menu ($128) for the entire table. Read more at the Nicolas Le Restaurant website (just note it hasn’t been fully updated yet).