Have you got the Monday blues? There's no better way to chase them away than with comforting food!
Plateau de Charcuterie - cured meats, duck terrine, homemade pickles
Yeah, just gimme this platter and any Monday will instantly be magical instead of mundane. Saucisson sec, pork lomo, duck prosciutto, parma ham, duck terrine, pate, pork rillete and an interesting mixed terrine of guinea fowl, foie gras and pistachio (see the one below the cup of wholegrain mustard). Even the little pickles (carrots, turnip, mushrooms, cornichons) are so crisp and tart, they really perk up your tastebuds.
This platter (for 2-3 pax) is part of the "Mondays in Lyon" menu (S$68++) at db Bistro Moderne at Marina Bay Sands. Actually charcuterie is a signature item on the regular menu too, but it makes the Lyon menu very good value for money.
Mondays in Lyon? Yes, there's been a little culinary tour de France at db Bistro Moderne. After Alsace and Provence themed Monday dinners (see what the Provence dinner was like) in the past few months, Daniel Boulud is now celebrating his very own hometown of Lyon. Gastronomy city indeed. Lyon is famous for not just turning out chefs that win Michelin stars for their restaurants, but also for its everyday bistros and bouchons.
Boulud grew up in a small family farm where he learned the rhythm of using seasonal ingredients. Lyon is also where he first trained with renowned masters of the day.
He reminisces, "Growing up on a farm, I was always surrounded by an abundance of fresh, seasonal ingredients. My grandparents had a wonderful café that they ran on the farm, Café Boulud, where I have such fond memories of watching my Grandmother Francine at work in the kitchen. It was really here in Lyon that the foundations for my love of food and cooking were built. I am so proud to be able to share these memories with guests at db Bistro Moderne through this new menu of signature Lyonnais dishes that are incredibly dear to me.”
There are many Lyonnais specialties, but there are the items that Boulud has chosen to showcase. You get to choose a starter, main course and dessert.
If the charcuterie somehow does not float your boat, you can pick another starter like soup or salad.
Soupe A L'Onion - classic onion & beef consomme, Gruyere, croutons
A hearty and robust rendition, this bowl of French onion soup will warm your belly and your soul. It's hard to say no to all that melted Gruyere.
Salade Lyonnaise - Frisee salad, chicken livers, bacon, poached egg, croutons, mustard and carrot dressing
If you love chicken liver, this is probably perfect for you - they are done still pink on the inside, very tender and ...liverish. I will die for foie gras but somehow chicken liver is not my thing. I did really like the thick chunks of bacon though.
It was nice to see Executive Chef Stephane Istel again. He is ever so buoyant and energetic, swooping in and out of the kitchen to present and explain each item to us with pizazz.
On to the mains...
Cabilleaud Poche - poached cod, fish mousse quenelles, sauce Nantua, snow peas, baby carrots
That Nantua sauce is amazing - this classic seafood sauce has the same umami punch of the potent Bouillabaisse from the Provence collection.
The cod here is very fresh, warm, silky and firm, while the fish mousse quenelles were interestingly soft and sweet with a thin chewy skin. I'll say it again - Daniel Boulud does his fish very well. I still remember the incredible Daurade a la Plancha that we had when he was in town to launch Mediterranean dishes.
Poulet Au Vinaigre - vinegar braised chicken
This is yet another Lyonnais signature, made famous by Lyon's most famous hometown chef Paul Bocuse. Apparently chickens from Lyon are considered some of the best in the world (see Mark Bittman recipe from a student of Bocuse). And when we asked where db Bistro Moderne gets their chickens, we were stunned to find out that they are French chickens specially shipped to and raised in Malaysia (free range conditions and all that jazz) before they are brought to Singapore. Oh yes, all that effort is worth it - they tasted great: plump and juicy in that tangy sauce.
Tarragon Rice Pilaf that comes with the vinegared chicken.
Oh bless my basmati, this is so good, we were all saying it puts some Indian joints to shame! The rice is boldly flavoured that I enjoyed eating it on its own, but it also goes so well with the creamy vinegary sauce.
The last choice for mains is, I think, vegetarian (they usually have one).
Gratin de Cardons "Dauphinois" - cardoon & potato gratin, mushroom Fricassee, fresh herbs
Cardoons - now, this was a new vegetable to us, and is essentially something like artichoke stalks. There was a celery-like crunch to it, which gave the lusciously gooey gratin some texture. Loved the mushrooms.
Oh yes, what's a French dinner without wine? Add S$32++ for wines from one of the most famous wine regions in France, the Rhone Valley south of Lyon. Les Vins de Vienne, Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2010 and Rouge 2010 were the two labels for the evening.
After the stunning mains, it was time for dessert. All three options were so good, we thought it was cruel for diners to have to choose only one.
Apple Tarte Fine - puff pastry, Cognac ice cream
We hear Daniel Boulud loves apples, so here's his take on apple pie. That cognac ice cream is really strong, and is lovely with the puff pastry. On the side is a dollop of "apple pie compote" -- it really tastes like apple pie reduced to a paste.
Ille Flottante - Floating Island, Vanilla Creme Anglaise, Pink Praline
What they are really proud of is this "floating island" creation. If you like vanilla, you'll love this. I did. A dream-like wedge of soft meringue in a beautifully sweet vanilla cream sauce, topped with crunchy sugar-coated almonds (whimsically in pink). These pink rocks are a French specialty, particularly in Lyon (you'll see pralines sold on the streets everywhere).
Coupe Chocolat Et Marron - Valrhona chocolate and candied chestnut
For the chocolate dessert, of course it has to be Valrhona which is made near Lyon. Two scoops of sweet chocolate ice cream contrasting with one scoop of dark chocolate and topped with crunchy pearls, fudge and candied chestnuts.
The Mondays in Lyon dinners start 6pm, but the regular dinner menu is still available, so you also can choose a la carte items from there too. Catch the Lyonnais specialties before the promotion runs out end December 2012. I'll be back for the charcuterie for sure.
DB BISTRO MODERNE
B1-48, Galleria Level
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
(Across from the Theater)
Tel: +65 6688-8525
Monday - Friday: Noon to 5PM
Saturday - Sunday: 11AM - 5PM
Sunday & Monday: 5:30pm to 10PM
Tuesday - Saturday: 5:30PM - 11PM
Many thanks to MBS and the db Bistro Moderne team for the dinner.