Chef Nicolas le Bec in Beijing

Two weeks have lapsed since I enjoyed possibly one of the best meals of my entire life and I’m still thinking of those poached scallops that resonated so deeply of languid holidays in Thailand and some of the tastiest meals I’ve had. The poached scallops with bergamotte oil dish was a Proustian flashback, reminding me so fondly of a scallop cerviche that I once had in Bangkok.


Being the busybody I am, I went behind the scenes of the kitchen at Jaan of Raffles Hotel to volunteer some help as I watched chef Nicolas and chef de cuisine Guillaume having fun with the preparations.


The tray above is slow cooked eggs with mushroom bouillon, which was lovely but the spring onions in it was overwhelmingly powerful. This we had paired with a Croze Hermitage Domaine Mule Blanche 2005.

I had already mentioned the beautiful done poached scallops likened to a Proustian moment. This was paired with a Hermitage Le Chevalier de Stérimberg 2001, which sat so well with the influential Chinese food critic whom I sat beside—he bought 2 crates of that RMB900 bottle.

My contribution to this dish was shaving the lemon skin onto the sides of the plate… which was a task more difficult than I thought—avoiding to grate my own fingers onto the dish.


The photo doesn’t do this dish justice. It was a delicious hunk of wagyu which was citrusy sour on first bite before delivering a lingering woody sensation from being roasted in the wood fired oven. The chef earned himself bonus points from Beijing’s biggest Chinese food critics by wrapping the beef in lotus leaves, showing that he was culturally engaged in the capital city.


Dessert, unfortunately was a little uneventful, a trio of chocolate mousse, sorbet and a macaroon. Our Muscat de Beaumes de Venise Lechant des Griolles 2007 however was light and lively, with a lychee accent.


(Left: Chef Nicolas, Right: Chef Guillaume)
I enjoyed my scallops so much I went back for Sunday brunch and was again bowled over by another dish. Our first course was a half cooked egg served in a martini glass with a creamy soup based thingy, with an earthy accent from the generous black truffles shavings. That was reminiscent of the half boiled eggs my father used to make me for breakfast, but a much more luxurious version.


Next, we had a buttery rich risotto served in a teacup and more generous shavings of truffles. It was perfectly proportioned, otherwise we’d have little room for the main. My choice of beef parmentier served as a filler course and was uneventful, even a little disappointing although the sparse portion of beef was deliciously well seasoned.


After googling like a crazy person, I found the Thai scallop dish that gave me a Proustian flashback. It’s also known as Yum Hoy Shell in Thai and the international food blogger extraordinaire, chez pim has just the recipe for it.

If you’re ever in Lyon, definitely stop by the two star Michelin restaurantNicolas Le Bec à Lyon.

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