Monday, November 28, 2005


In September, I blogged about K getting married and my being maid of honour (actually, the really dubious title that I was accorded was the matron of honour since I am actually married but it's just semantics). As a thank you, she bought us a voucher to Au Jardin Les Amis at the Botanic Garden.

Packrat and I, having not quite broken out of our student mentalities, could not fathom paying for tiny amounts of pretty food on large plates. As a result, we had only heard of the place having 2 sets of friends proposing to their significant others there on separate occasions. The comments we heard ranged from brilliant service and remarkable food to there was food that was so exotic, it could not be eaten.

So we had been trying to find a time that was not too celebratory, since we weren't sure we were going to like it much, but special enough since it was nice and we had to dress up and we ended up with the day before we were leaving for Melly.

The minute we stepped in, we were faced with the overwhelming urge to do something outrageous like moon the place or flash the place or blow up a paper bag and pop it. Everyone was speaking at this volume. It was that kind of place.

Dinner was officially four courses. But there was first, the pre-appetiser.


My favourite was the quail half boiled egg in the tiny egg cup. Throw in dark sauce, pepper and a little bit of toast and it would almost be like Killiney Road Kopitiam.

Appetiser followed,


which Packrat had. He claimed it was the wagyu of tuna. But there wasn't much of it. So, he had some of mine since...

Ondine's Appetiser

it was liver from the forced fed goose and I felt so guilty eating it, I stopped after a sliver. Packrat to the rescue!

There was an entree after that and it was by far the most conservative of the courses.


Wild mushrooms in puff pastry. Light, tasty and for once, I didn't mind the buttery-ness.

At this point, both of us were ready to call it a night. I recall reading that the French took pleasure in their meal, meaning that they savoured it and took their time with each course. Problem with that is, it gave your tummy time to settle and tell you it was full.

That was what it was telling us by the time our mains appeared.


Ondine's main

Conservative- fish. Plus apparently good food for the convalenscing.


Packrat's main

More adventurous, but expected of him, seeing that it was meat of very fat cow (read: wagyu)

I've been to buffets and I've felt food all the way up my throat. But at this point, I felt ill, not because I'd eaten so much, but because everything had been good and rich and each course was vying for a place at the bottom of my tummy.

But we had to have dessert since it was included.


I had a caramelised pear with some sort of liquer ice cream and when I didn't finish it, the waiter took it as I was questioning its quality. It took my several gasps of air to explain that it was divine but I did not wish to never be allowed back in this fancy restaurant because I had thrown up all over its beautiful table linen.

Packrat did better with his souffle that sunk the minute it was out of the oven.

Packrat's Dessert

But this was not all. Like I said, on paper, this dinner was supposed to be four courses. And just as there was a pre-appetiser to be had, there was a post dessert to be finished before they would release us from the beautiful confines of the gilded feeding trough.

Petit fours
Petit fours

Tiny but deadly. But at least, we had tea with it. Strong tea.

The verdict, a wonderful but totally overwhelming experience. I can see why people rave about the place. It really was beautiful and romantic and everything you'd imagine. Attentive servers who chatted with you when you wanted to, not holding you hostage with smalltalk were a definite good thing.

In some way, I think it is the perfect precursor to Melbourne. 3 hours of make believe. A world that we can step into and pretend to be part of for a while before returning to the real world. But one can also hope, that the portal remains open for longer the next time round.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 23:42

1 thoughts...

1 thoughts...

At 9:59 pm Blogger Tym said...

This blog entry should come with a warning: Do not read after you have yourself recently overeaten, else be prepared to feel even more ill at your own peril.

I ate too much at Terz's birthday dinner tonight.

I read your blog post.

Now I feel sick :(

I think I'm going to eat salad for several days.


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