Saint Pierre, one of Singapore’s finest Michelin-starred restaurants known for its classic French cuisine is set to open in Kuala Lumpur’s W Hotel this September.
The KL offshoot will be twice the size of the Singapore original, being able to sit up to 70 diners as opposed to 32 in Singapore. Head chef KimKevin de Dood, will be moving over to helm the team of 12.
“It will be the same spirit with what we’re doing in Singapore but the decor will be slightly different since it’s in the W Hotel,” says Emmanuel Stroobant, the chef-owner of Saint Pierre Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. “We try to match the hotel as it is a bit more modern, but Saint Pierre will still be classical contemporary and we’ll be keeping everything from the cutlery to the plates to be as similar as possible.”
A look at the artist renderings reveal darker interiors than the Singapore restaurant. Tables are still draped with white table cloths while pendant lamps hang overhead.
This venture marks a first on many fronts; it is the first time Singapore is exporting a homegrown Michelin-starred restaurant concept, and also the first time Malaysia is getting a fine dining establishment that has the Michelin stamp of approval in its originating country.
Previous Singaporean eateries that have earned a star and made it abroad is Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice, which now even has an outlet in Taipei. KL was also home to the short-lived Tim Ho Wan before it folded.
A prior attempt by a different F&B group to bring in two-Michelin-starred Les Amis also fell through. Still, the market seems ready now for such concepts as chef Emmanuel can attest. The chef lived in KL for two years from 1997 to 1999 and remarks that the scene has grown tremendously.
“The late 90s KL is very different from what it is today. 20 years ago, Western food meant a meal at the Ship Restaurant,” recalls chef Emmanuel. “Malaysians are more well-travelled and open minded now. People are much more discerning — they know how it should be cooked, where it comes from and how it should be presented. Just that alone makes the market much more exciting.”
The supporting industry around restaurants, like ingredient suppliers, too have grown.
“It’s a little harder to get what we have in Singapore but if I compare what I had 20 years ago in KL, it has a much larger variety of ingredients,” explains Stroobant. “We haven’t found anything that we absolutely can’t get in Malaysia. If that’s ever the case, it is our role as chefs to be flexible and creative enough to replace and find something different.”
Guests to Saint Pierre KL can expect three menus. The ‘Classic’ offers five-courses which will be all the signature dishes, the ‘Discovery’ menu will offer eight-courses omakase style that highlights seasonal ingredients while the ‘Adventure’ menu will be a 12-course opus that comprises the entire menu of Saint Pierre.
Despite the efforts to maintain one identity, there will still be subtle differences and the two chefs point out that diners in Malaysia have a spicier palate as compared to Singapore where the preference tends to be sweeter. “We try to keep the food along the same line but we do have to adapt it to the clientele in Malaysia to make it work even better,” says chef Emmanuel.
Chef KimKevin chimes in: “I hope to make our KL customers happy, to give them the Michelin-starred experience they maybe haven’t had yet and that they will be well taken care of.”
Saint Pierre KL is slated to open on 11 September 2018.