LÈ Restaurant and Bar: Chinese fine dining
The latest brainchild of the Paradise Group, LÈ is a bar and restaurant that aims to modernise Chinese fine dining. Walking into LÈ feels like strutting into a chi chi place where Sex & the City’s Carrie Bradshaw and friends have a date night in Manhattan. At LÈ, you can order a drink and chill out with your friends while waiting for your table to be ready or simply have a quick martini before heading out to the next venue.
A bar lounge complete with psychedelic lights, chopstick-inspired decor and a live DJ spinning upbeat groovy tracks greet you at the entrance of LÈ. The bar offers an extensive range of mid to high end wine, cocktails and beer as well as tapas in the show kitchen. Of the Asian-inspired cocktails designed specially for LÈ, we tried the LÈ special and a warm digestif named Silky Road in Summer.
The LÈ special reminds us of an alcoholic ice kacang. It looks and tastes like it but comes spiked with curaçao, crème de menthe, pomegranate syrup and spiced rum. Order it if you like your drink sweet and dessert-like. The Silky Road in Summer is an unusual concoction of spiced rum with teh halia (ginger tea) served warm. Topped with star anise and other Asian spices, the drink is surprisingly aromatic, while the rum gives it a kick.
From the tapas kitchen, we tried the Mantou Burger with Braised USDA Prime Beef ($16 for 4) and Chili Crab Kuey Pie Tie ($15 for 4). A twist on the traditional braised pork belly bun, the bite-sized mantou burger feels a little underwhelming. I would have preferred the bun to be softer and a bigger serving of meat between them for a more satisfying bite. If you are a fan of chili crab, the crispy kuey pie tie combined with the sweet and spicy filling will not disappoint.
Passing a short passage of lava stones from the bar lounge brings you into the main dining area of the restaurant. The Zen-like wood finishes, aromatherapy and giant Buddha statue in the middle of the dining hall might seem overly elaborate at first but they quickly recede into the background once you settle in and start focusing on the food.
Setting a great first impression was the Alaskan Crab Tomato Relish Shooter ($10) delivered straight from the open concept restaurant. A zesty mix of crab meat, tangy grapefruit cubes and cherry tomatoes in a sesame dressing, the explosion of sweet and citrusy flavours is simply delightful.
Having heard so much about the Dirty Duck ($38 for a half duck, $68 for a whole duck) before heading down to LÈ, I am excited to finally try it out. To make the dish, the duck is first stewed in a special blend of spices and flash-fried till extremely crispy. Shredded table-side by the service staff, the duck is then wrapped with cucumber, Hoisin sauce and basil in homemade scallion crêpes. Although strikingly similar in presentation to its humble cousin the Peking duck, the Dirty Duck is an entirely different dish. By including a good portion of the duck meat and skin into the wrap, it feels substantial and gives an amazing mouthfeel.
Next, we had the Coral Trout Poached in Lobster Broth ($16 per 100g, $28 for the broth). Served table-side as well, a whole filleted coral trout is lightly poached and served with a surprisingly light lobster broth. In my opinion, this is one of the best ways to highlight the freshness of the fish and umami broth.
The Pan-Seared Grade 9 Australian Wagyu ($160 for 200g) with truffle oil and lemon zest sea salt was the last dish we had. Seared to medium-rare perfection, these high grade Waygu beef cubes simply melt in your mouth but leave a lingering taste. Need we say more? If all of the above doesn’t fill you up, round off your meal with the stir-fried angel hair pasta with Japanese dried Ebi ($28).
Before you diss this place as a fad, I’d say give it a go. Hang out at the bar after work and check out the yuppie crowd. Always a nice way to send the evening!
LÈ Restaurant & Bar
#02-314 Suntec City Mall (Convention Centre), 3 Temasek Boulevard
Tel: +65 6338 8775
Restaurant Lunch: 11.30am to 3pm daily
Restaurant Dinner: 6pm to 10.30pm daily
Bar: 3pm to 11pm (Sun to Thu), 3pm to 12mn (Fri & Sat)
Nearest Station: City Hall, Esplanade
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