Local Celebrity Chef Daniel Koh embarks on a new dining concept, Le Cuisine, which pairs the gratification of salads and casseroles with a blend of Eastern and Western gastronomy. Spot European cooking techniques flirting with familiar Asian flavours.
Chinatown Point, the latest retail mall in Chinatown popularised by its new makeover and inviting tenants such as Daiso and Thye Moh Chan, is probably the only mall in Chinatown that’s hangout-worthy for youths. The numerous eateries are a draw. Le Cuisine sets itself apart from the rest with its charming interior design, and casual yet gratifying dishes chaperoned with passion and care. The setting is decidedly cheery and casual – cut the formalities, minus the solemnness – catering to a wide audience.
Braised Lamb Shank ($15.50)
Chef Koh scores a major goal, with due credit going towards his unwavering focus on high calibre execution. The pricings are kept attractively affordable without compromising on quality; salads are priced from $7.80, mains from $13.50, and desserts from $5.50.
Mesclun Salad ($7.80)
Chef Koh’s Mesclun Salad is no rabbit food; the sweet and appetising homemade orange and raspberry vinaigrette imparts the much-needed vitality to the otherwise mundane greens. Adding more dimension and texture to the salad greens are raisins, apricot bits and pine nuts (just to name a few). I’m no fan of salads, but this is one of the few I would eat without grouse.
Chicken Liver Terrine ($10.80)
Terrines are one of my favourite things to eat with bread. The Chicken Liver Terrine is a more affordable alternative to foie gras terrine that I love endlessly. It is made up of 60% liver and 40% butter to yield a smooth consistency without the grittiness. This 80g portion might need more bread to accompany than just two slices! Plus, the crusty ciabatta is hard to resist. Traveling buddies include vegetable crudités served with a tapenade dip.
Six Sense Mushroom ($6.80)
The homemade cream of mushroom soup is chockfull of fresh mushroom bits, so much so you won’t even find this cream-based soup to be all that cloying.
Escargot Fricassee ($12.50)
The enticing Escargot Fricassee gratifies much more than a similar dish I had at an upscale restaurant. Morsels of succulent escargot arrive enveloped in a sensuous and creamy plot scattered with mushroom and homemade spinach gnocchi, overlaid by a lightly browned crust of breadcrumbs and melted Parmesan cheese. Heavenly.
Signature Crabmeat Burger ($13.50)
The Signature Crabmeat Burger is Le Cuisine’s best-selling dish. This bun-less burger comes with a succulent and substantial patty made of crabmeat and ebi (prawn).
Don’t we just love molten egg yolk?
Beef Stew ($15.50)
This beef stew is pure comfort. Intensely flavoured beef cubes are stewed in red wine with chunks of potato, carrot and zucchini, served with a blob of mashed potato and crusty bread.
Oven-baked Spring Chicken ($15.50)
One of the standout dishes for me would be the Oven-baked Spring Chicken, which I expected to arrive in the shape of… a chicken. Instead, the chicken is first deboned and rolled into a cylindrical shape. These succulent pieces are served with sautéed button mushrooms, zucchini and roasted potatoes. The chicken-based sauce is painstakingly made of a hearty amalgam of tomato, carrot, celery, leek and onion to name a few, receiving nods of approval with the cloak of umami.
Braised Lamb Shank ($15.50)
Highly compelling is the fork-tender Braised Lamb Shank, priced affordably under $20.
The spellbinding sauce laced with rose wine masks any apparent lamb ‘odour’. This dish alone prompts an immediate return visit.
Lychee Pork ($13.50)
I would give high ratings to the Lychee Pork dish based on the balanced and penetrating flavours, aside from the meltingly tender meat that left me yearning for more. The pork belly is cooked for 2 hours to deliver that desirable texture. The total prep time for this dish adds up to 4 hours! Thick slices of meat are served on a bed of coleslaw, and given an added sweet dimension with a topping of lychee pearls (commonly served in bubble tea beverages) that burst with the fruity sweetness of lychee ‘juice’. The combination seemed odd at first, but once you dig into it you will find that the sweetness of the lychee complements the meat faultlessly.
Pear Tart ($6.50)
Desserts are decent, but are no showstoppers, in a way that you wouldn’t visit this particular joint just to eat dessert. Le Cuisine is where you would travel to for superb and affordable mains.
Chocolate Fondant ($6.50)
Delighting chocolate lovers is the rich molten chocolate within the lovingly baked Chocolate Fondant.
Trio Chocolate ($6.50)
For a chocolate dessert less intense than the aforementioned, go for the velvety Trio Chocolate that comes with three types of chocolate mousse –as you can tell from the picture, they’re white chocolate, milk chocolate and dark chocolate.
Aloe Vera Jelly ($5.50)
My most recommended dessert to conclude the meal would be the light and refreshing Aloe Vera Jelly, served with a strew of fruits and fresh mint leaves.
Chef Daniel Koh is usually present at the outlet, personally overseeing kitchen matters to keep quality in check. During my dining experience, I chanced upon several groups of fans popping by to show their support and leaving with nothing but compliments for the food.
For an intimate gathering, secure the “Chef’s Table”, a 12-seater private dining room.
133 New Bridge Road
#B2-34/36 Chinatown Point
Tel: (65) 6538 1963
Opening hours: 11am to 10pm daily