December 11, 2014

Some restaurants don’t bounce back after a spectacular run. But Chef Julien Bompard and his wife, Edith Lai are veterans in the F&B industry and staying ahead of the curve in an oversaturated market is what they do best. Since the closing of Le Saint Julien restaurant at the Fullerton Waterboat House in 2013, the couple has taken time off to create a concept, which is closer to their hearts – private dining. And at Scotts 27, conditions are simply right.

Nestled in a refurbished three-storey heritage bungalow on Scotts Road, this “Home away from Home” experience is recreated once you step through the front door. Edith greets you like an old friend, followed by a warm welcome to her humble abode. Like any bona fide host, a tour of the house begins with three different private dining rooms.

Aptly named, the Wine Room is a perfect place for wine connoisseurs and collectors to indulge in over 200 labels of fine vintage wines personally handpicked by Edith. While over in the Heritage Room, displays of 100-year-old antique cabinetry as well as an ancient Mahjong set preserved by Chef Julien’s grand aunt can be appreciated together with a curated exhibition of tea sets. Finally, the Scotts Private Dining Room, which is the biggest – can seat up to 30 guests. Up on the wall, patrons can marvel at Chef Julien’s culinary achievements, marked by white chef coats in frames. Each coat bears the logo of an establishment Chef Julien was a part of, celebrating his life as an accomplished chef in the last three decades.

In true private dining style, a personal butler is always at your service to attend to your needs and Chef Julien or Edith handwrites each menu with love on a daily basis –making you feel charmed by the couples’ attention to details to elevate your experience.

The meal begins with an amuse bouche from the Garden of Scotts 27. The presentation is fantastically vibrant, with pumpkin purée as the base together with specks of herbs, vegetable leaves and mushrooms. A swipe of the purée is seductive enough to arouse taste buds for more. Next, the light poached lobster with caviar served with an oyster tartare is surprisingly good, as the caviar didn’t overpower the freshness of the lobster with its saltiness.

Watching scallops get cooked in front of your eyes, as the server pours a lovely bisque and cognac sauce onto a sizzling hot plate is a sight to behold. Once the smoke fades away, each bite gets tastier than before and eventually, the urge to slurp the decadent sauce is undeniable.

The duck confit with foie gras is a favourite of mine as Chef Julien prepares it exquisitely by wrapping the duck with a thin layer of puff pastry. The drizzling of the java coffee sauce goes well with the pull-apart tender duck and the flakiness of the pastry.

Similar to the duck, the sea bass en croute is another pleaser. The crust is cooked to golden brown perfection and slicing it open reveals the delicate flesh of the sea bass. On a whole, the dish is brought together nicely with the tomato concasse and choron sauce.

True to the spirit of French hospitality, Scotts 27 provides classic ‘gueridon service’ – where food is cooked, finished and presented to diners at the table from a moveable trolley. Edith prepares the crepe suzette with finesse adding grand marnier, brandy and orange to enhance the flavour. The crepe isn’t overwhelmingly sweet which ends off the meal on a satisfactory note.

Scotts 27 doesn’t take walk-ins and is only available by reservations. Menu options range from 4 courses at $148++ and 6 courses at $188++. It is clear that Chef Julien and Edith are passionate about what they do and at Scotts 27; you leave not only feeling loved (through their food and excellent service) but you also know more about the wonderful couple on a personal level.

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