Joining Chijmes’ bustling bevy of restaurants is a new kid on the block and he’s making the epicurean enclave his home. Casa Restaurant is a contemporary woodfire gastronomic restaurant and wine bar helmed by France-born chef Remy Lefebvre in partnership with Plan B Ventures which also owns El Mero Mero, Señor Taco and La Mexicana.

Casa, or “home” in Spanish, is a showcase of 44-year-old Lefebvre’s life journey on a plate. To fully acquaint yourself with the restaurant, you first have to get to know the man behind it and his 20-year odyssey that took him around the world and back.

Born in Nantes, France, but raised in Ivory Coast of West Africa, Lefebvre was exposed to a constant diet of fish and tropical fruit during his barefoot and carefree childhood. At 10, he returned to France with his family to a life that was very alien to him. After graduating with a diploma in international trade, he backpacked through Mexico where he worked with fishermen, relishing the laidback life reminiscent of his childhood.

His first job took him to Paris, where he stayed for two years working at an import and export business. Following that, he landed in West Africa to manage a paint factory. After meeting a girl, he packed his bags and followed her to Madrid. While searching for a full-time job, he worked as a kitchen commis (or junior chef) in an Irish pub to pay the bills. Before he knew it, months had passed and his interest in an office job had been replaced by a passion for the kitchen.

In Spain, Lefebvre entrenched himself in the culinary scene, moving from Inshala in Madrid to award-winning Restaurant Locum in Toledo, then two-Michelin-starred Restaurante Reno in Barcelona, and Restaurant Fernandez where he was made executive chef.

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In 2007, just shy of 30, he embarked on his own venture, Restaurant Artkuisine in Barcelona serving tasting menus of contemporary bistronomy-style French-Catalan cuisine. Unfortunately, a year later he closed it down due to the financial crisis of 2008 and returned to France.

By 2010, Lefebvre was working in Beirut where he met his wife and fell in love with Lebanese food with its deep Mediterranean roots. The following years saw him working in Doha, Mumbai, Hong Kong and Singapore where he launched a contemporary Mexican restaurant, El Mero Mero, in 2014.


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In 2016, he found himself working in the Caribbean Cayman Islands where he cooked heavily with woodfire ovens for two years. He brought that passion for “real cooking” over woodfire upon his return to Singapore in 2018 where he helmed the kitchen at Butcher’s Block.

chef Remy Lefebvre - THE EDGE SINGAPOREFrance-born chef Remy Lefebvre’s menu focuses on seafood and vegetables, serving only one land animal a day on a rotation basis
The making of Casa

Two decades behind the stove in a diversity of places has coalesced into a highly individual culinary identity for Lefebvre and one that he brings to his own Casa. Having lived in unspoiled places around the world, Lefebvre is determined to preserve these conditions and their ecosystems for future generations.

He celebrates the seasons through fresh produce sourced from small farms around Europe, either organic and wild-foraged, traditionally farmed or bio-dynamic. Even for seafood, he prefers responsibly-sourced line-caught fish, and cows that are free-roaming and grass-fed.

His menu focuses on seafood and vegetables, serving only one land animal a day on a rotation basis. Rather than being frozen, the fish, meats and poultry are dry-aged to intensify flavours and improve textures. So, when they are put over the stove using classical cooking methods over woodfire, the flavours are bolder and more distinct yet clean. Lefebvre also ensures his cuisine is inclusive of most diets and vegan-friendly through largely gluten- and dairy-free cooking.

Casa Restaurant Kitchen - THE EDGE SINGAPOREHomely interiors

As its name suggests, Casa Restaurant embraces its guests in a space that feels like a home where Lefebvre and his close-knit team see themselves as hosts welcoming their diners as family members and friends into their abode.

A subdued palette of calm blues, ivory and sage green, along with surfaces of nuanced natural beauty, soothe and relax visitors as they enter the cosy 35-seater dining hall which offers mixed seating options — lounge, table and booth.

The eyes are immediately drawn to a row of arched mirrors along the walls which echo the original arched doors in the architecture of Chijmes. And just like many homes of today, Casa offers an open kitchen concept where diners are close enough to have a conversation with the chef, yet don’t feel any heat emanating from the high-tech Parilla grill and Mibrasa charcoal oven.

For patrons visiting for a drink or late-night snack, you are welcomed into the Living Room at the back which seats up to 18 on lounge sofas, chairs and ottomans. The elegant setting of steel, wood, leather, and luxurious fabric evokes a refined yet relaxed mood.

Gambas - THE EDGE SINGAPORE
Gambas
A woodfired menu

At Casa, the menu embodies Lefebvre’s life story on a plate, with beautifully-presented dishes inspired by the produce he’s worked with and the places he’s lived. For example, in his July menu, he served Gambas, a smoked Mediterranean prawn dish with Japanese influences — a nod to his time in Barcelona.

During his time in Spain, he also learnt that no menu is complete without an egg dish. So, he created the Perfect Egg, a gilded hanjuku egg plated with charcoal-cooked razor clams from Scotland and corn seasoned with Malaysian-inspired pepper crab flavours.

Perfect Egg - THE EDGE SINGAPORE
Perfect Egg
One of his standout dishes is the Line Cod, inspired during his time in Brittany, which is line-caught and aged for at least three days for a firmer texture. It’s then brushed with shio koji before being grilled over charcoal fire and served with a dairy-free buttery sauce made with cashew nut milk, kuzu and sake.

Apricot - THE EDGE SINGAPORE
Apricot
For one of his desserts, he created a deconstructed umami-laced apricot tart made from his favourite childhood fruit. Caramelised charcoal-grilled apricots are served with almond sorbet and topped with miso frangipane and tarragon oil.

For lunch and dinner, Casa offers a four-course Discovery menu for $118; six-course Experience menu for $198; and Carte Blanche with eight-courses for $258. Diners can personalise their meals by choosing their dishes from a selection of 16 items listed in the main menu.

There is also a special lunchtime-only executive menu called Trust Me, featuring a three-course menu at $88. And on weekends, there is a multi-course brunch with champagne at $198++. Beverages can be enjoyed in the forms of a “wine arrangement” ($198 for four; $258 for eight) or “mix arrangement” offering a mix of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks ($118 for four; $198 for eight).


CASA RESTAURANT BY REMY LEFEBVRE
30 Victoria Street #01-20 Chijmes Singapore 187996

Contact
+65 9722-8171 | [email protected] | www.casarestaurant.sg

Opening hours
Wednesdays to Saturdays | 12pm – 2.30pm / 6pm – 10.30pm
Sundays | 12pm – 3pm / 6pm – 1030pm