Suckling pig confit | Photo: Bistro du Vin
In an enclave dotted with some of the country’s finest dining outfits, veterans Philippe Nouzillat and Bertrand Raguin — with a combined experience of almost 50 years — team up to deliver a quietly confident menu that proffers unpretentious French signatures. Favourites here include the oven-baked Burgundy escargots ($25) prepared with a richly flavoured garlic butter blended with an assortment of herbs; and an almost-too-generous serving of pan-seared escalope de foie gras ($35), served on toasted brioche with a side of caramelised pears and, yes, bananas. You will do no wrong in ordering the much-lauded duck leg confit ($33), balanced by a side of white bean ragout.
Book a table here | Address: 35A Keong Saik Road | Tel: 62214506 | Opening hours: Wed-Fri, Sun 11.30am-2.30pm; Tue-Sun 5.30pm-11pm
Bistro du Vin
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 cosy space along Zion Road, coated it in a warm shade of crimson and lined the walls with heaps of wine bottles — all the better to impart the laid-back Parisian bistro vibe. Simple, straightforward dishes with robust flavours are what you will find on the menu. Start with a cold cuts platter ($30) of pork pate, duck pate, duck rillettes, Iberico ham and saucisson before moving on to an expertly prepared duck confit with stewed haricot beans and lamb sausage ($28). Alternatively, go for the fork-tender suckling pig confit, served up alongside choucroute (French version of sauerkraut) and bacon (belly $38, leg $42).
Bistro du Vin | Address: 56 Zion Road | Tel: 68366313 | Opening hours: Daily 11.30am-2.30pm, 6.30pm-11.30pm
Chef-owner Frédéric Colin’s Brasserie Gavroche on Tras Street is a charming, high-ceilinged space flanked by gilt mirrors and antique pieces, where he 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 with crayfish ($35), and duck liver-flecked pork terrine ($26) with a buttery crusted rind. Colin’s own creations are no less stunning — a stuffed rabbit leg with mushrooms and herbs ($38) in his minted summer 2014 menu keeps us going back for more.
Brasserie Gavroche | Address: 66 Tras Street | Tel: 62258266 | Opening hours: Mon-Fri 11.30am-2.30pm, 6.30-10pm; Sat 6.30-10.30pm
Cafe & Bar Gavroche
If you’re hankering for lighter French fare, make a beeline for Cafe & Bar Gavroche sited just across Brasserie Gavroche. Wines here are typically easy on the palate as on the wallet, with most going for below $100 a bottle — perfect for whiling away the hours with an order of half a dozen Cadoret oysters ($28), an open-faced French country bread with scrambled egg and onion marmalade ($16), and croque-monsieur ($16), which is an oven-baked ham and gruyere cheese sandwich with bechamel sauce.
Cafe & Bar Gavroche | Address: 69 Tras Street | Tel: 62258266 / 62254869 | Opening hours: Tue-Sat 2.30pm-midnight
At his roost at Rendezvous Hotel, former hotel chef-turned-restaurateur Jean-Charles Dubois plays down refinement in favour of rusticity, as evidenced by the banquette-lined booth seats and white-laced cafe curtains. Food-wise, Dubois parlays his fine-dining craft for a menu of heartwarming Gallic fare. Highlights include his signature lobster bisque with sauteed organic mini Qwehli prawns ($18), which packs a punch with an intensely robust crustacean flavour; and beef cheeks a la Cuillere ($30), slow-braised for 48 hours and sent out on a bed of velvety smooth mashed potato grand mere with borderlaise sauce.
Book a table here | Address: #01-01 Rendezvous Gallery, Rendezvous Hotel, 9 Bras Basah Road | Tel: 63360797 | Opening hours: Mon-Thu 11.30am-11.30pm, Fri 11.30am-midnight, Sat 11am-midnight, Sun 11am-11.30pm
La Maison Fatien
The Fatien family may own a luxury bed-and-breakfast and a wine merchandising business in Burgundy, but their maiden outpost in Singapore — a two-storey shophouse unit at Duxton Road — is a no-frills bistro with white-washed French windows and partially brickwalled space. The menu proffers generous portions of French classics the likes of bisque aux crustaces ($18), a rich creamy shellfish soup with pan-seared scallop, saffron potato, caviar and fennel, and a hefty cote de boeuf ($153, serves three to four), which sees roasted Black Angus prime rib matched with sauteed fine beans, potato mille feuille or shoestring fries, roquefort cheese and truffles jus — best washed down with Maison Fatien Pere et Fils wines ($14 to $16).
Book a table here | Address: 76 Duxton Road | Tel: 62203822 | Opening hours: Mon-Fri noon-11.30pm, Sat 6pm-11.30pm
Kenny Leong is a Certified Specialist of Wine and an independent writer whose unquenchable thirst for wine is exceeded only by his love for tea. When not poking his nose into wine glasses and tiny teacups, the self-professed devotee of classical Chinese culture can be found plucking the strings of his guqin (plucked seven-string musical instrument of the zither family) in his Ming dynasty outfit. Right now, he is saving up for a Han dynasty sword, because in the case of a zombie apocalypse, the pen might not necessarily be mightier. He has written for the likes of Cuisine & Wine Asia, Appetite, Singapore Tatler, and Town & Country.