Restaurant Week ’12: Bistro Du Vin (Shaw Centre)
One of the more popular little French bistros in Singapore, Bistro Du Vin by the Les Amis Group is not only widely known for their authentic French cuisine but also for maintaining the true charm of a real bistro in France with their setting and furnishing. This place has been on my radar for quite some time given the much raved reviews from many friends. Needless to say, we were psyched when we managed to snag two places which had been freed up at the last minute for Restaurant Week 2012.
As one of the restaurants along the stretch of Scotts Road, just opposite Pacific Plaza, the maroon-red painted doors were hard to miss. Stepping inside the bistro makes one feel like he/she has indeed travelled to France. Bistro Du Vin had done a great job in recreating a true French experience with the marbled table tops, quaint paintings lining the walls, a mini ‘cellar’ at the corner with a wide selection of wines to offer for accompaniment of the food and of course not forgetting the iconic striped red, blue and white French flag hanging from the ceiling. The vibe was casual and jovial, nothing too fancy.
Though the place was small, the mezzanine arrangement meant that more tables could be added without patrons feeling too cramped and I was amazed at how many people the bistro could hold at its full capacity though of course I was not too pleased at being able to reach across the next table. But who is complaining about the squeeze if the food is as charming as its setting?
Since this was my first experience with Restaurant Week, I was very fascinated with the A5 sized menus they had nicely printed on thick paper for us to choose from. The flip side of the page had a very French looking chef with his chicken who were both wearing a toque. It reminded me a tad of the Ratatouille movie back in ’07 and I was definitely feeling all ‘Frenchy’ after that and ready to order!
Before our food arrived, we were served with complimentary bread and my do the French definitely know how to make their bread. This baguette loaf was warm and oh so comforting to eat with a large slab of butter spread on it. Crisp on the outside but the holey and uneven center was soft and delightful. We were so happy with our bread, we decided to ask for seconds which the waiters kindly obliged.
Given that there were only two choices per course, we decided to order both so that we could have a taste of everything. Our entrées arrived and this was the Tomato Soup with Garlic Croutons. Warm and sweet, this was comfort food at its best. Throw in a few croutons to the mix and this soup was quite a homely affair.
We were not huge fans of the Foie Gras Terrine with Toasted Brioche though. The slice of terrine was smooth and salty but had a somewhat bitter aftertaste. My first time having foie gras served cold was not too pleasant especially with the odd combination of the raisin brioche.
The main course of Coq au vin was slightly better. The chicken braised in red wine was tender and peeled off the bone easily though the meat lacked flavour and was lackluster in taste. Luckily, the added bacon was fried to perfection and the carrots had just the right amount of softness. Mashed potatoes served at the side was also smooth, creamy and pretty much hit all the right notes.
The Baked Norwegian Salmon was beautiful in presentation. Unfortunately, an odoriferous (fishy smell) wave hit us once this dish was served at our table. I was disappointed because fresh salmon fillets would usually not have such a smell. I struggled through this course and if it were not for the exquisitely roasted prawns at the side, I would have been very sad with the supposed highlight of my meal.
Feeling very unsatisfied after finishing our mains, we decided to make an order of Baked Burgundian escargots (6 pieces) $15 from the ala-carte menu. Served with garlic herb butter, the escargots arrived at our table with great promise. However, the ratio of butter and oil was not quite right with the former not being enough. As a result, the essence of the garlic herb butter was unable to fully permeate the meat of the escargot and marinate it.
It was then time to move on to our last course- dessert. The Crème brûlée was definitely a sweet creation to be commended. The custard base was rich with a smooth consistency and the perfect caramelized top layer that gave it a complete covering and a crisp contrast.
No complaints about the Banana crumble with Chocolate ice-cream which was honestly a little too much after all that we had eaten. There was too little crumble to banana ratio and though the bananas had soaked up the brown sugar mixture well and ideal for the sweet tooth, it was definitely not a light end to the meal.
Sadly on the whole, we felt that the items offered on the Restaurant Week menu did not do Bistro Du Vin justice. Perhaps we will have better luck in future with other items on their ala-carte menu if there is ever a chance of coming back here again. The service was excellent though with the servers topping up our glasses without much prompting and regular side plate changes.
1 Scotts Road
#02-12 Shaw Centre
Tel: +65 6733 7763