Tag Archives: French
Our second Restaurant Week visit was to one of The Fullerton Bay Hotel’s signature restaurants- Clifford. Touted as one of the most romantic restaurants in Singapore with its 10 metre high ceilings and Victorian-chic interior, further complimented by the spectacular views of the Marina Bay Waterfront, it comes as no surprise that the French Brasserie has been fully booked since its inception into Restaurant Week a few years back.
With the DiningCity Star bestowed upon it, their set lunches had a supplement of $15++ while set dinners were an additional $20++. As I mentioned before in my Olivia Cassivelaun Fancourt (OCF) Restaurant Week entry, I was initially not planning on taking part in this Restaurant Week edition. Nonetheless, the lure of an available table which opened up last minute one afternoon was too hard to resist. So we went down to see what the hype was all about!
We were given 2 choices for our starters for the 3 course set lunch- another 3 choices were given if you were willing to add-on and pay more. The Scallop and Lobster Carpaccio with Lime Black Truffle Dressing +$12 was our immediate pick but the waiter informed us that supply had not yet come in. So we settled for the Beetroot Cured Salmon with Wasabi and Salmon Roe, and Basil Pesto Laced Minestrone with Fresh Pasta Ribbons instead- both from the actual Restaurant Week lunch menu.
A joint effort between A Thousand Tales (ATT) – the group that brought you Bar Stories, The Crostini Bar, MAD and Table Manners, and Timbre Group, fine-dining French restaurant Olivia Cassivelaun Fancourt (OCF) is one of the new entrants for this year’s Restaurant Week (March edition).
Truth be told, I was not planning on participating this time round because after having had 2 years and 4 editions worth of experience, I have not been too impressed with some restaurants’ haphazard ways of handling the Restaurant Week crowd and the food, being prepared on a large scale, did not usually do justice to what the restaurant had to truly offer.
Nonetheless, OCF piqued my interest and seeing available slots for a 3-course lunch offered at $25++ with no additional charges from the DiningCity Star, I could not resist making a reservation.
Not many know that this one year old restaurant is actually fondly named after Sir Stamford Raffles’ first wife- Olivia Cassivelaun Fancourt. The 60-seater space is intimate with a refined air of elegance and dignity. Service is prompt and attentive from the moment you step in. An open-concept kitchen steals the show with bar counter seats offering a front row view of the chefs in action while a stage with a grand piano offers a platform for live music to be played in the evenings.
Chef de cuisine Julien Royer is back with an Autumn/Winter menu inspired by the fresh seasonal produce of his hometown of Cantal, France. Featuring the heartiness and rustic nature of the quintessential vegetables and fruits of fall, each of his creations explores and highlights the richness and textures of the season’s harvest in its truest organic form.
I had an awe-inspiring experience at my first visit to Jaan last year when I tried Chef Julien’s Summer Menu and have since been recommending it to anyone asking me for the best restaurant in Singapore. That dining experience was after all, one of the frontrunners of my 10 Most Memorable Meals of 2013 list. Needless to say, this invite to sample the newly launched artisanal menu was greeted with much anticipation and excitement- I was eager to find out if the food was still as excellent as I remembered.
As usual we start off with some amuse-bouches with compliments from Chef Julien- a platter of miniature Chicken Pastillas, Black Sesame Sponge with Danish eel and Walnut Crackers topped with Cantal cheese presented with crisp rye crackers and homemade hummus dip.
Following this shortly was the thick frothy brew of Wild Mushroom Tea which brought back fond memories from my previous visit with bits of chopped grilled Portobello and Walnuts delivering a touch of earthiness and comfort.
Another mainstay of JAAN’s set lunches is their Bread Basket of warm viennoiseries with French butter and sea salt which never disappoints. The Truffle Rolls which I adored were unavailable this time so I settled for the Onion Brioche instead. Buttery, fluffy and a little flaky with a hint of sweetness and tanginess from the onions, I was sold.
You can always trust the French to get their pastries and bread right.
The people behind JAAN certainly do have an eye for chefs. Previously home to Chef Andre Chiang, who has since left to start his own restaurant Andre, the fine-dining French restaurant is now helmed by Chef de cuisine Julien Royer, winner of the title ‘The One To Watch’ at this year’s Asia 50 Best Restaurants. JAAN itself was ranked at No. 22.
Perched at level 70 of Swissotel The Stamford, JAAN restaurant boasts of a panoramic view of the Singapore skyline that is simply postcard worthy and quite breathtaking. With no elaborate architecture or snazzy décor, the space itself is decidedly intimate with no more than 13 tables and is simply designed with clean finishes, allowing the picturesque view and artisanal menu to speak for itself.
Chef Julien Royer’s seasonal menu places a heavy emphasis on fresh and sustainable produce, a trait he picked up when growing up in France, as a descendent of four generations of farmers.
JAAN offers 4 different set lunches- the first which we went for, was a 3 course for $68, the second was a 5 course Degustation at $118, the third was the Jardin Gourmand also 5 courses at $118 and the last was the Artisanal Cuisine comprising of 7 courses for $158.
Our gastronomic journey began with an assortment of gourmet snacks, formally known as amuse bouche. We were treated to Smoked Unagi, Cantal Cheese Cromesquis, Chef’s Julien’s own Hummus with a rich and nutty flavor conferred by the Auvergne lentils and accompanied with paper-thin crisp sesame crackers. An extremely delightful beginning that was peppered with a myriad of earthy flavors which paid tribute to Chef Julien’s love for the unadulterated rawness of what the harvest has to offer with each season.
Next, we indulged in a brew of Wild Mushroom Tea, a soothing concoction of Cep Sabayon, bits of grilled Portobello Mushroom and Walnuts, complemented by the subtle sweetness of Lovage and finished with a frothy cap for a touch of elegance.
The bread basket followed soon after, with a concise selection of Truffle Rolls, Mini Baguettes, Walnut Raisin, Dark Rye and Mini Croissants for your pick. I could not get enough of the Truffle Rolls and indulged in at least three servings. Paired with luscious French butter and sprinkled with sea salt, the breads were a definite underrated part of the meal here.
Starting on our meal proper, 2 of us had the 55′ Rosemary Smoked Organic Egg as our appetizer.
Saveur has long been synonymous with affordable French cuisine since the successful start-up of their flagship eatery along Purvis Street. With their no reservation policy, the waiting time before one gets a table has been at least half an hour and even up to an hour during peak hours. The full house which is bustling every single night speaks volumes about their popularity and appeal to the masses.
About a month ago, to meet the high demand for Saveur’s recipe of quality French fare at inexpensive prices, owners Joshua Khoo and Dylan Ong opened a second branch right in the heart of town, at level 1 of Far East Plaza. I personally never got down to the Purvis outlet as the queues have been a large deterring factor so I was extremely psyched to hear about a second outlet opening.
Moving onto the food itself…
Saveur’s Pasta $4.90
This highly raved about appetizer, also a Saveur signature, won me over instantly with its elegant presentation and how every single strand of pasta was twirled neatly in its characteristic roll. The key to thoroughly enjoying this exquisite dish is to first ‘untangle’ the pasta before mixing it all up so that every part is covered with the concoction of chilli oil, minced pork sauce and finely-chopped sakura ebi. An extremely refreshing and oriental take on regular pasta and this was sure memorable.
Duck Leg Confit $10.90
My choice of main was a slightly flattened duck leg confit sitting on a bed of homemade potato mash and sauteed shitake mushrooms on the side. A superbly crisp browned skin with succulent salty meat which was also fork tender and delectably delicious. Mmmmm.. I am getting hungry just thinking about it right now! And for just $10.90, this was an absolute steal and a must try! The mashed potatoes too were creamy and smooth, complimenting the French classic perfectly.
Pan-Seared Sea Bass $14.90
My sister’s pan-seared sea bass was another winner with its freshness and rich flavours. I especially enjoyed the diced saute potato crabmeat that added a salty rustic touch to the overall dish. One does not usually get such good quality fresh fish at a mere $14.90 price tag. For a more premium alternative, go for the Cod at $24.90, which is still unbelievably affordable for cod in my opinion.