Brasserie Gavroche, 66 Tras Street, Singapore
A good dinner at Frederic Colin’s Brasserie Gavroche with food the way we like it – fresh ingredients + flavour with minimal messing around.
The half dozen Tsarskaya oysters from Britany were fresh with full firm flesh, slightly briny and sweet. Paired with freshly baked baguette slices (we had at least 3 servings of the bread) and very good butter. And the Burgundy escargot baked in their own shell with parsley and garlic butter were plump and well-flavoured without any hint of bitterness. Grand pere Henri had good recipes for the french onion soup and pork hotpot with cabbage and garden veggies.
Then a waiter bustled from the kitchen to offer every one a madeleine infused with orange zest, still nestled in its baking shell – a very good rendition – buttery, tender-crumbed, and crisp not rubbery at the edges.
The desserts: tart tartin with rum and raisin ice-cream (the apples were tightly-packed and set on a thin bed of puff pastry that was still wonderfully crisp) and profiteroles with vanilla bean ice-cream and milk chocolate sauce.
Naturally, we were discussing idolatry: the idolatry of money and of the late Kim Jong Il.
As we grow older, we begin to realise that our youthful disregard for money was somewhat misplaced. We used to think that our parents’ and society’s obsession with material wealth all so vulgar, so worldly, so base. Why, we’d do what we want with our lives, thank you – we’ll be artists and actors and embark on all sorts non-money-making ventures that the newspapers can write about (and in our interviews, we might say that our parents disapproved until they saw how happy we were doing what we wanted and so relented) because we’re above all this crass gold-hoarding… until we realise that perhaps it is not that our society does not support everything that we call art, but that perhaps there is an objective standard to art that perhaps we do not have the ability or inspiration to attain. (Also if the biggest supporters we can find are the government and large corporates and we are against them, sponsors are hard to come by.) And we also realise that if we really wanted to do without parental support and were really not material boys and girls, it is not the so-called branded goods that we eschew or the opportunity to escape from a lifetime of rubbery madeleines and pesticide-ladden artificially-coloured fruits and vegetables, we eschew the certainty of a roof over our heads, the ability to take our child with learning disabilities to specialists to be treated, or the ability to fork out money to get our aging parents to get a second opinion on a critical illness diagnosis. The imagery of a misanthropic Scrooge counting out his money isn’t realistic.
Which is why to obey the lesson found in the parable of the rich fool requires total faith that what Jesus promised is true for us now:
Someone in the crowd said to him,”Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But he said to him,”Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them,”Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of one’s possessions.”
And he told them a parable, saying,”The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich towards God.” (Luke 12:13-21)
So what about the aforementioned roof above one’s head?
And he said to his disciples,”Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.
“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with money bags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Luke 12:22-34)
And now that Kim Jong Il is dead, there is much speculation that the televised outpouring of grief was faked by state media, and that people were really rejoicing that the dictator could not dictate the time or manner of his death. But, while there is indeed evidence of a manufactured personality cult, how different is the North Koreans’ grief from the mourning of rabid fans (in the free world) when pop/movie star they worship dies? It’s silly idolatry of people who don’t deserve to be worshipped, either way.
66 Tras Street