Anyway, this being a foodblog, I'll make some comments on the degustation menu, introducing each course with a picture and a description as written on the summer 2005 degustation menu.
dashi poached lobster with roasted foie gras terrine, avocado puree, green cabbage effeuillee with lobster coral vinaigrette and iced green crab soup
The much-needed palate cleanser was a smooth peach sherbet. It was just sweetened enough and was excellent.
maison joulie white miso marinated cod with tomato confit, mango, slow braised organic onions, wild thyme, caramelized giant garlic and nasu in shiraz dressing
At this point, I was full so I really needed encouragement from the food to keep me going. Alas, the seventh course, which was the cod, failed to deliver. I was anticipating the dish the whole night because I had an excellent cod meal the first time I was here. But there was not enough miso (and I really could not detect any at all) to bring out the flavour of the cod, which was not really the freshest piece. The rather bland confit mixture did not help matters. There was also a couple of rubbery-looking things at about 1 o'clock, not described in the menu. I ate a piece and thought it was octopus but since we were both curious, we questioned the server who told us they were japanese snails. I had enough snails for tonight so the other piece went to J.
rosemary scented chargrilled lamb saddle with etorki and piquillos infused fork mashed ratte potatoes, green bean flageolet and piperade dressing
The next course was the lamb. Since faithful readers know I don't take meat, the kitchen offered a seabass replacement for me. After the disappointing cod, I was not looking forward to this fish course at all. Turned out I was right. The kitchen used a cheap striped seabass. Barely seasoned, I cleverly thought the idea was to keep the fish light so the herb layer could shine and balance out the taste. But surprisingly, the skin of the fish was so dry and chewy I had to remove the skin such that I ended up with a pathetic looking piece of naked seabass. The redeeming part was the mashed potatoes which had chopped up bits of what seemed to be sun dried tomato and other stuff but really, it was salty enough to go with my fish nicely. Otherwise, I would really have to request for salt and pepper and embarass the chef.
domaien de durban whole lemon confit filled with citrus flavoured soufflé served cold
The ninth course was the first dessert course. I enjoyed this by scraping the half-lemon hard enough so I could have a bit of the tart flesh and juice, a bit of the sherbet in the middle and lots of the sweet cream-cheese like topping. Of course, the slightly caramelized topping gave it a nice crunch too.
Finally, we ended on a fail-safe warm chocolate cake with really excellent vanilla ice-cream. The apricot sauce was slightly tart but perfectly balanced with the chocolate sauce. The honey tuile provided the welcomed-crunch too.
Some other points to note, selection of bread was between white ciabatta and a nut-raisin bread. Waiters were not consistent and failed to describe the dish and what the Chef hoped to achieve. They were attentive though and constantly re-filled our water. Another thing was the absence of amuse and petit fours. Granted we were the earliest to arrive but subsequent tables all had an amuse. We were not served complementary petit fours as well, though we lingered for a while. The other French restaurant we went gave us not only complimentary coffee and tea, but also a wide variety of petite fours consisting of chocolates, tarts, coffeecakes and pastries as well, and we did not even order the degustation!
Overall, I was not impressed with the menu this time around. Somewhat the standards have dropped and the impression of the bad courses are just too inked to make me want to revisit. Desserts were good and really redeemed the entire experience somewhat, ending on a sweet note (note the pun!). But I am now even hesitant to consider his other establishments. But nonetheless, I still want to credit him for making his round on the dining area.
Finally, I just wanted to share a picture (I must add, does no justification of how beautiful the bouquet is) of the roses J sent to my work place (and I must add, drove my colleagues crazy with jealousy :).