NOT a food blog
Chanting Chewbacca and I decided to converse in French in anticipation of our lunch at Nathalie’s Gourmet Studio. (Translation into English provided in Italics)
Me: Hey sister, go sister
(Lovely weather today, mah sister)
Chanting Chewbacca (CC): Soul sister, go sister
(Yes, but it may rain later in the evening…I’m baring my soul damnit)
Me: Mmm Hmmm Gitchi Gitchi Ya Ya Da Da
(I just had hair done, I don’t want to look like a wet poodle)
CC: Gitchi Gitchi Ya Ya here
(Your hair is resilient)
Me: Mocca chocolata Ya Ya
(Yes, yes, I found a bar of chocolate in it)
CC: Creole Lady Marmalade
(Lady Gaga found something in her hair too, but hers was a jar of marmalade)
Me: Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?
(So would you like to eat with me this afternoon?)
CC: Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?
(Ah, finally some credible French words. Surely you don’t mean eat?)
Me: Christina Aguilera, Mya, Lil’ Kim & Pink
(I could eat a pink hippo and Lady Gaga but I’ll settle for macarons)
As you can see, I am an accomplished quadrilingual person, my first, second and third languages being English, American and Australian. My Malay isn’t as good because I spent my formative years being confused about the pronunciation of certain words since they just couldn’t make up their minds. Amazingly, I can read and write Tamil effortlessly, having memorised all the characters, but I speak it with an accent that could scare the kacang putih seller back to Singapore. I don’t dare to speak Chinese for fear that I will order Fried Rice with cockles instead of salted fish (true story….been there, done that, can’t show my face there no more), while my French….sigh….I passed elementary level, good enough to tell the difference between poulet and voulez, but I still don’t know how to say rare, a little bloody, but hold the pepper please.
And so, at Nathalie’s Gourmet Studio at Solaris Dutamas, when confronted with my obvious Asian-ness, the handsome young chappie proceeded to describe a dish as being particularly and absolutely French, which perhaps madame may not be able to appreciate. Attributing the tone to be kindly, rather than condescending, I smiled charitably and asked for the duck confit. Firmly. Smilingly. The duck confit was nice, lacking in any gaminess, and a lot more tender than the squid stuffed with oxtail, as enticing as the latter sounds. I wasn’t able to fault the squid, but CC and I agreed that the oxtail meat was too dry. The accompanying sauce appeared to be a reduction from the braising of the oxtail, very flavourful and saporous. Duck confit served with orange segments is always a match that will never go wrong. We loved our starter, beef carpaccio with salad and mustard espuma (foam). The salad consisting of a variety of greens, carrots, tomatoes and fennel was crisp and fresh, while the carpaccio, sprinkled with sea salt, was delicious.
Having tasted only substandard macarons in the past, and without having the pleasure of sampling the world’s best from Ladurée and Pierre Hermé, I’ve always shunned macarons and have never bothered to understand the obsession surrounding these petite confections. I am pleased to say that after sampling 6 macarons made by Nathalie, I am now a convert. The texture is amazing. The shell is crisp, almost crumbly, but the inside has an almost ethereal quality, light and airy. My favourite flavours are, without a doubt, lemon followed by passionfruit. Both these flavours possess one binding characteristic, that is, they are both acidic enough to balance the extreme sweetness of the macarons.
Nathalie’s Gourmet Studio
Unit A4-01-5, Solaris Dutamas
Tel: 03-6207 9572
Open from 10am to 6pm. Closed on Sundays. Menu changes monthly.
Food, for me, is a means to an end and not an end in itself.
Food, for me, represents the love of family, the fellowship of friends, and the community and communality it brings.