'I'm excited about eating mouse, but I'm not excited about eating mousse,' declares nine-year-old Goh Zhi Yi, one of our food critics for the day. We’re at chef Emmanuel Stroobant’s restaurant Saint Pierre, where big foodie words like ‘quinoa’, ‘bubbles’ and ‘kelp’ fill the special Flora and Fauna menu ($85/child), designed to educate kids aged seven to 12 about the five tastes: sour, umami, sweet, salty and bitter. So we got Zhi Yi – and a shy, but expressive seven-year-old, Wang Ling Xuan – to lend us their taste buds to sample the meal.
First course: Sour
A bowl of momotaro tomatoes, white balsamic sorbet, tomato foam and cashew nut papadum.
Zhi Yi: Is it tomato sor-bett? So we're just eating tomato? [Eats some, scrunches face] It's sour and sweet.
Ling Xuan: The tomato is sour.
ZY: I think they put pepper on the top. Can I don't finish it? I don't want to eat the foam. [Service team removes the cutlery and plates and returns with a new set.]
ZY: [Rolls eyes] A new fork and spoon?!
Second course: Umami
Stacks of turnip, coconut and quinoa, avocado cream and hair-like squirts of kelp draw the shape of a face on the plate.
LX: I like the hair. The hair is salty. [Stabs at the eyes] The eyes are spicy.
ZY: It has coconut in it. [Chef brings a special Susu soft roll, made with extra milk just for kids.]
ZY: [Grabs bread and spreads kelp on it] The bread is nice with the hair. Better than peanut butter.
LX: [Abandons dish for bread. Crams all the bread in her mouth, smiles.]
Third course: Sweet
Hokkaido scallop, sweet potato leaves, mashed potato, fried potato cubes and preserved truffles.
LX: I like the 'French fries' potatoes.
ZY: [Dumps whole scallop in mouth.] Very nice. Sweet. I think it will go well with the Susu bread.
LX: I still like the potatoes. I'm done.
Fourth course: Salty
Lobster tail, farmed vegetables and carrot purée scribbled into a ring of text that spells out 'yum'.
LX: The food looks like an aeroplane. These two sides [points at carrots] look like the wing, the lobster looks like people sitting inside.
ZY: [Aeroplane sounds, lands fork into lobster. Spears all four slices of lobster tail and stuffs it in his mouth.] The [romanesco] broccoli looks like the spawn that grows out of a rotting tree. The broccoli is my favourite. [Turns to the waiter] Help me tell chef the food is AMAZING! [Throws vigorous thumbs ups in the direction of the kitchen's CCTV camera.]
Dessert course: Bitter
Dark chocolate sphere, dark chocolate mousse and roasted nuts.
ZY: Is the plate chocolate, too?
Chef: Unfortunately not.
ZY: [Grabs the lid off the chocolate sphere. Grins to himself.]
LX: Sweet! I like it all. [Dips shell into the mousse] Everything wins because I like it all!
ZY: My favourites were the scallops, fried potato. Big fat scallops!
LX: Mine is dessert. Chocolate, all the cookies and these small biscuits [Points at treats from the dessert trolley.]
ZY: [Gestures at his chocolate mousse-topped petit four] All of you go and have it!
Try out the children's menu at Saint Pierre at 1 Fullerton Rd.
Dine with (hopefully) less of a tantrum at these other child-friendly cafés and restaurants.