Hubert Burda Media

The Finishing Touch

Every bit counts to Alexandre Lozachmeur of Fleur de Sel. But what matters most is creating a personalised dining experience.

The Finishing Touch

Alexandre Lozachmeur carefully shapes the lobster tartare in the middle of a deep white dinner plate with the help of a cylindrical aluminium ring to create the perfect circle. When done, he removes the utensil in one swift movement and proceeds to garnish the top with a sprig of parsley, paying attention to its exact position — in the middle of the dish.
Sitting behind the kitchen counter of the newly opened French restaurant Fleur De Sel, I have concluded, is the best seat in the house if you want to observe what goes on in the eatery. From where I am, I can watch the culinary mastery of Lozachmeur, the chef and owner.
Never mind that I'm also next to the grill where the smell of sizzling steaks keeps wafting into my nose, contributing to my craving for a good, thick slab of meat (which thankfully makes it to the depths of my belly soon after).
Lozachmeur places the plates of tartare in front of us, alternating the colour of the plates — white, black, white, black — among us four diners. Reaching behind him, he takes a small decanter and proceeds to pour his aromatic broth into each of our plates. Le Homard (“the lobster” in French) is ready.
It is one of the most delicious lobster bisques I've tried. Refreshing and addictive, the broth is not too creamy with crunchy bits of croutons and tender chunks of fresh lobster meat. As I devour the aromatic soup, I keep my eyes on the scene in the kitchen.
Despite having a team of three others, the French chef makes it a point to be very involved in the making of each dish, lending it his personal touch. After all, that is what Fleur De Sel is built upon.
The quaint 20-seater restaurant includes five seats at the kitchen counter and seven at the bar of the main dining floor, while its small private room seats up to 12 persons comfortably. Keeping it small is how the chef ensures he can perform his kitchen duties while making time to chat with his customers during their meal. No wonder it already boasts a number of repeat patrons.
The French dining establishment is the creation of Lozachmeur and is so named after the high-quality sea salt because it is a key ingredient in his menu of authentic dishes from southern France, where he calls home.
Opened on September 6, it combines the chef's love for fine French cuisine and wine, his experience at some of the best restaurants in the world (including Spoon and the three-Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée) and his pursuit for flexible work hours to spend time with his family of four. That's why he chooses to close the restaurant on Sundays — the designated family day.
In Singapore, the 33-year-old has also worked in a number of established kitchens, such as Restaurant Dolce Vita at Mandarin Oriental, Harbour Grill at Hilton Singapore, Au Petit Salut and Brasserie Les Saveurs at The St Regis Singapore, before opening his own.
From my “observation deck”, it's obvious the chef works well with his team of three chefs as they occasionally find time to joke and tease each other. Additionally, each member plays a specific role in the kitchen: One takes charge of the mains, one of the desserts and another of the pasta, while Lozachmeur makes the finishing touch.
The succulent braised monkfish, La Lotte, is crowned with fennel salad and complemented with dried tomatoes, croutons and bouillabaisse jus not only to compliment the dish, but to also create a mix of colours: White, red and cream.
The Les Cuisses de Grenouille — golden brown crumbed frog leg, which has been deboned, battered then fried — is set against a light green background of watercress puree and garnished with caviar. Both decadent delights are true crowd-pleasers.
Finally, the tempting seared beef tenderloin, Le Boeuf, in red wine sauce arrives. As expected, the dish is a combination of colours with its white mashed potatoes, green grilled lettuce, black olives and red dried tomatoes. However, though it is very satisfying, I must admit that the portion is rather disappointing — only four strips of the tender meat is served.
But the L'ananas dessert — a treat of Sarawak pineapple roasted with rum coriander and vanilla ice cream on the side — is quite memorable. The enticing sweetness of the juices is intensified by the caramelised pineapple nuggets. And together with rum and vanilla, it's just like Pina Colada on a plate.
It is an enjoyable meal at Fleur De Sel, as expected at a restaurant opened by someone with such vast experience. But though there are many offering authentic French cuisine that have been popping up all over our island (including its next-door neighbour Brasserie Gavroche), what this restaurant gives is the inimitable — Lozachmeur's personal touch. It's obviously what keeps customers coming back for more.
Fleur De Sel Restaurant, #01-01 64 Tras Street, Tel: 6222 6821, fleurdesel.com.sg