It’s a tough time for the F&B industry right now.

The COVID-19 circuit breaker measures have set strict guidelines for all dining outlets, and food can only be had delivered or to-go. Dining in is no longer an option.

More so than just sustenance, food has always been at the centre of gatherings. Now that we’re confined to our own spaces, this familiar experience has vanished. Takeouts and deliveries in plastic containers are the new normal.

Yet, it is through these unfavourable times that we see innovation and transformation. Two-Michelin-starred restaurant, Saint Pierre, is looking to send you some love with their latest (and very novel) dining experience: Virtual Saint Pierre.

The eight-course omakase bento aims to deliver a one-of-a-kind culinary journey right to your doorstep, all in the virtual company of your loved ones. Read on for the full review.

The virtual experience

Virtual Saint Pierre Review
(Image credit: Jocelyn Tan for Lifestyle Asia)

It’s an odd concept and one which we had many, many burning questions. After all, it’s not every day that a high-end restaurant was providing a full course meal in your home, sans the mannered service staff and beautiful ambience and design.

At $180++ to $220++ a meal, how would the food be delivered? Would they serve hot food? How is it supposed to be kept warm? Are the eight courses coming in individual boxes?

These concerns disappeared at the door. Deliveries for Virtual Saint Pierre are handled entirely in-house, and guests will be handed a hefty lacquered black box after being greeted by a smartly suited hostess from Saint Pierre.

It’s hard to ensure food stays warm, especially when there are eight courses to consume. To counter this issue, dishes from the box are served cold, and have to be refrigerated until the time of consumption.

For the full experience, we were joined by other media friends for dinner over a Zoom conference call, and we were delighted by yet another surprise: Celebrity chef-owner Emmanuel Stroobant also logged in to speak to us as well. We were told that he would personally join every Virtual Saint Pierre that has been organised to speak to diners about the dishes, and guests are free to ask him any questions.

However, they understood that some guests might want a quiet night to themselves, so those who prefer a bit more privacy can also opt-out of the Zoom call when making their reservations.

If you follow the course structure when dining, you will find a relaxing rhythm to its food — courses begin light with a refreshing Kinmedai served in Shisho Jelly, then moves to stronger flavours like the caviar mounted Scallop, slows down with the smooth Hokkaido hairy crab Chawanmushi and ends with the sleek Omi beef roll with ponzu.

Other dishes we enjoyed included the Marron, an Australian crayfish whose meat was silky smooth, and when paired with the almost honey-like Japanese Amela tomatoes and cocktail sauce, presented itself as an elegant box full of sweet, exquisite flavour.

Together with a hearty cheese course and delicate petit fours, it is safe to say this multi-course meal is perfect for one hungry diner.

Virtual Saint Pierre Review
(Image credit: Saint Pierre)

Verdict

It might be hard to find comfort in dining outdoors, but this elegant bento meal over a virtual call might just be the answer. To be honest, it was an odd experience at first. Instead of meeting friends and acquaintances in person, you find yourself greeted with your laptop as company and everyone else in little rectangular boxes.

Yet one thing remains the same: conversation isn’t dead and relationships aren’t either. We spent the night chatting about how the new circuit breaker measures affected the way we enjoyed food, catching up with each other’s lives and by the end of our meal, it almost felt as though nothing had changed.

As expected in any luxury experience, unparalleled service is what keeps diners coming back for more. When our party was done for the night, we kept our bento boxes aside for the next morning, for Saint Pierre’s staff would be dropping by to collect them. A spectacular meal, with none of the fuss.

As a part of efforts to aid with the COVID-19 pandemic, Saint Pierre has partnered with investment company Rapzo Capital to contribute $25,000 worth of in-kind donations. For every order of a Virtual Saint Pierre menu, the restaurant will purchase a Coronavirus Prevention Care Packet (CPCP) from Project Chulia Street that will benefit migrant workers in Singapore who are affected by the crisis.

In addition, Saint Pierre will donate 100 specially prepared meals to frontline healthcare workers every week until circuit breaker measures are lifted.

Virtual Saint Pierre is able to fulfil orders for both lunch and dinner, for a minimum of 15 persons and a maximum of 30. Menus are available at $180++ and $220++ per person and orders have to be placed five days in advance.

Place your orders for Virtual Saint Pierre by emailing info@saintpierre.com.sg or call +65 6438 0887.

Jocelyn Tan
Writer
Jocelyn Tan is a travel and design writer. She's probably indulging in serial killer podcasts or reading one too many books on East Asian history. When she actually gets to travel, you can find her attempting to stuff her entire wardrobe into her luggage. Yes, she's a chronic over-packer.