Not just any Toulouse sausage - this one's stuffed with Kurobuta
Best for rustic fine dines
Hotel chef-turned-restaurateur Jean-Charles Dubois is former chef de cuisine of Raffles Grill and co-owner of the now-defunct The French Kitchen. At his new roost at Rendezvous Hotel, Dubois plays down refinement in favour of rusticity as evidenced by the banquette-lined booth seats and white-laced café curtains. Food-wise, Dubois parlays his fine dining craft for a menu of heart-warming Gallic fare. Highlights include his signature lobster bisque ($16), which packs a punch with an intensely robust crustacean flavor; and pan-fried Kurobuta pork-stuffed Toulouse sausage served with sautéed spinach, which, at $24 for a single serving, makes for an infrequent indulgence.
#01-01 Rendezvous Gallery, Rendezvous Hotel, 9 Bras Basah Road; 6336 0797
Bistro du Vin
Best for Parisian vibe
The straighforward duck leg confit
Years after its fly-away success serving herbed butter escargot to the chi chi crowd at its flagship Shaw Centre outlet, the Les Amis Group snagged this cozy space along Zion Road, coated it in a warm shade of crimson and lined the walls with heaps of wine bottles (house whites and reds, $15-$20) – all the better to impart the laid-back Parisian bistro vibe. The foie gras terrine ($26) and duck leg confit ($28) make for trusty companions if you like it downright classic. We reckon you’ll be equally well rewarded if you veer off the radar with the savoury brick of suckling pig confit (belly $38; leg $42).
56 Zion Road; 6836 6313
Best for hand-me-down recipes
Bone marrow on toasted Poilâne bread with garlic confit
After an illustrious career as executive chef at some of the world’s most luxurious hotels, Frenchman Frédéric Colin pursues his calling as chef-owner by way of a brasserie on Tras Street, near Tanjong Pagar MRT station. In a charming, high-ceilinged space flanked by gilt mirrors and antique pieces, Collin unfurls a treasure cove of his grandpa Henri’s recipes including dough-baked fish quenelle (oval-shaped poached dumplings) wading in a savoury bisque perfumed by crayfish ($34), and duck liver-flecked pork terrine ($28) with a buttery crusted rind. Mind you, Collin’s creations are no less stunning, not least the rustic dish of toasted bread blanketed by parsley puree crowned with morsels of bone marrow globules and garlic confit ($19).
66 Tras Street; 6225 8266
EDITOR'S PICKLa Maison Fatien
Best for homely plates
La Maison Fatien's crisp yet moist duck confit
The Fatien family may own a luxury bed-and-breakfast plus a wine merchandising business in Burgundy but their maiden outpost in Singapore – a two-storeyed shophouse unit at Duxton Road – is but a no-frills bistro with white-washed French windows and partially brick-walled space. The menu proffers predictable French classics served in generous portions the likes of subtly salty duck confit ($28) and heart-warming braised lamb with French beans served in cocotte ($28) – best washed down with Maison Fatien Père et Fils wines ($14-$16).
76 Duxton Road; 6220 3822
Le Petit Cancale
Best for French seafood platters
Seafood platter laden with Brittany imports
This bistro sited on Duxton Hill is named after Cancale, the oyster capital of Brittany. The bistro serves half a dozen varieties of freshly shucked French oysters including the fin de Claire, as well as premium bivalves like Tsarskaya and Belon ($20-$78). Seafood lovers will also be enthralled with the parade of fresh shellfish, not least the langoustine, clams and crabs imported from Brittany ($90-$195). When you've washed it all down with a flute of Champagnes, the whole grilled Brittany sea bass ($38) – one of the best we've had – beckons with a citrus-accented antiboise (anchovies, coriander and tomatoes) sauce. But if you like it all voluptuous and luscious, the butter-grilled Brittany blue lobster ($95) is first rate.
37 Duxton Hill; 6534 7671