I decided to go to Fleur De Sel for lunch. I’ve read about the restaurant months ago and finally decided to pay it a visit. I got a surprise when I stepped into the restaurant and saw a dark-haired Caucasian man dressed in a full suit. I realized that he must be the captain when I saw a waiter standing nearby in a white shirt, black vest and pants. A quick glance around the restaurant confirmed that the restaurant belonged the fine dining category.
Whatever I was expecting Fleur De Sel to be, I wasn’t expecting it to be this fancy. I suddenly felt out of place in my t-shirt, berms and sandals. My gut reaction was to bolt out of the door and removed myself from this fancy premises. But I stood still and tried to think of something intelligent to say. The captain asked me something, but so much was going through my mind at the moment and I missed what he said.
“Huh?” Then I decided to add, “One person.”
The waiter showed me into the restaurant and asked me whether I would like to sit at the table or the counter. When I hesitated, he said that the counter would be more interesting as I could see the chefs working. So I agreed. It was an interesting experience. I could see the chefs cooking my food before it was brought to me. I concluded that French cuisine used a lot of sauces. At one point, the cooking area was filled with saucepans of all sizes, each probably containing a sauce of some type.
Halfway through the meal, chef and owner, Alexandre Lozachmeur, appeared. He didn’t do any actual cooking and instead inspected his subordinates’ work. Sometimes he adjusted the plating of the food on the dishes or tasted the raw ingredients.
Fleur De Sel had two set lunch menus; the Executive Set Lunch ($38) and the Fleur De Sel Set Lunch ($48). I also noticed that there was a Degustation Menu ($168) which was described as “8-course menu specially tailored to your liking with the freshest produce in the market available”. The Degustation Menu sounded really interesting and I liked the fun of letting the chef decide what would be my next dish. However, $168 was really too expensive for lunch and I wasn’t prepared to spend that much at an unfamiliar restaurant. So I choose Fleur De Sel Set Lunch instead.
After I’ve placed my order, the waiter asked what drinks I would like to go with my meal. I didn’t feel like drinking wine so I picked fig juice, which he recommended as it was the end of the fig season. I’ve never had fig juice before and the only figs I’ve eaten were the dried ones. So I was surprised to find that the fig juice was really nice; pulpy, sweet and a little tangy. The waiter said the juice was all natural and of course all natural products were expensive. It’s no surprise that my bill says the fig juice cost $12.
First to arrive was of course the complimentary bread and butter.
A chef also placed a bowl containing some seared cubes of lambs in front of me. The lamb was tender and savory. It almost made me regret ordering beef for my main course.
The Le Homard (lobster bisque) was recommended by the waiter. The soup was rich but it wasn’t so heavy that I would feel sick by the end of the meal. It was very tasty and I liked it very much.
For the main course, I had Le Boeuf (beef tenderloin). The beef was seared on a hot metal surface. From where I was sitting, I could see the chef cooking the tenderloin before it was brought to me. The beef tenderloin came with some mashed potatoes, grilled lettuce and red wine sauce which was poured onto the meat and vegetables. I was also given a pot of mustard.
The beef was nice and very tender. The mashed potatoes were buttery and smooth. I didn’t care for the grilled lettuce but I really liked the dried tomatoes that came with it. They were a little chewy with unexpected sweetness.
Before the dessert arrived, the waiter pushed a tray of cheeses to my seat. The cheeses were not part of the set menu and cost $18. The waiter asked if anything caught my eye. I pointed out the cheese (Epoisses de Bourgogne) which came in a container as if it was a pudding. The waiter then recommended three other soft cheeses which included brie and a black goat cheese.
The waiter placed pieces of the cheese and a scoop of cooked figs on a small wooden board. He said that I should eat from left to right, and apart from the goat cheese, I can eat the rind for the rest. He then brought me a plate of crackers to eat with the cheese.
I started on the black goat cheese which was so soft, as if it was starting to melt. It was mild and creamy. It was my favorite of the lot.
The Epoisses de Bourgogne was so soft that the waiter had to scoop it out with a spoon. It was also quite salty and went well with the crackers.
The third cheese had a somewhat dusty covering which reminded me of the sawdust pudding I had in Macau. This cheese was salty as well but there was a strong pungent taste which I did not like.
The brie was creamy and mild but it wasn’t as soft as the goat cheese.
For dessert I had the Le Chocolat. The captain served it to me and as he poured the chocolate sauce, he said, “Chocolate sauce, chocolate ice-cream, chocolate cake; everything chocolate.” It made me chuckle.
For a chocolate lover, this was a lovely dessert. The chocolate praline cake was dense and rich. It was also drizzled with a little bit of caramel. The chocolate ice-cream and sauce were nice as well and met my standard of chocolatey-ness.
I finished my meal with a cup of strong coffee.
While the counter seat was nice, I found it a little high. It was a bit tiring to have to sit up straight all the time. If I ever visited the restaurant again, I would ask for a table.
The bill was a total of $101.20. When I left the restaurant, the head chef was standing at the door to say goodbye to every customer. Nice service.
I was so full that I abandoned my plan to go for coffee at a nearby cafe as I don’t even have any space left for a drink. In the end, lunch was so filling that I could even skip dinner.