Thursday, January 12, 2012

French Cuisine in SGP: Bistro du Vin.

French cuisine in Singapore: Bistro du vin

It is not always that I can recommend a French restaurant in Singapore...which serves authentic, non-pretentious Provonce style cooking. Many of the French restaurants in Singapore too often serve only haute cuisine and not enough serve authentic, traditional bistro fare. Sebastian's was one...and now apparent its successor...Bistro du Vin is another.



From the decor of the place, and the providence that Sebastian's which was in Hillcrest used to belong to the Les Amis group, who also own Bistro du Vin...it looks like this is the successor to one of my favourite French restaurants in town.

The set menu is particularly interesting. Unlike many places where the set lunch is a watered down version of the real menu degustation, here the set lunch is quite a good selection. This is a 3 course menu, with entree, main dish and dessert with coffee or tea...all for S$30++. Quite good value if the food is good...and good it is...no, I take it back...it is excellent French cuisine.
I had the chunky leek and potato soup with Burgundian escargots as a starter.

This was a foretaste of the excellence which was to come. The soup was excellent. The potatos were chunks floating in the in a rather clear, though creamy looking soup, which is beautifully flavoured. The escargots were plump and nice. Very good soup.

Kin had the Pan Fried veal head terrine, sauce gribiche and pine nuts.

This was excellent too. I found the salad's rockets a bit bitter. But the terrine (not visible in the photograph above, as it hides behind the salad) of pan fried veal head was very good. Gelatinous, tasty, and great mouth feel. Certainly not for the diet concious. The pan fried roll of veal is particularly crisp and beautiful.

For mains, I had the lamb shank, which was slow cooked with white onion and cherry tomato confit. A S$6 supplement for this main.

And worth the supplement...every penny. The lamb was tender...literally fall off the bone. I imagined the fats to be drained through the slow cooking, as what remained was just muscle and collagen. Beautiful mouth feel, and great flavour. The confit of white onions and cherry tomatoes were an able support team, providing a bit of acidity, and punch. The tomatoes were particularly sweet and ripe. Superb dish...I would certainly rank this as one of the best lamb shanks I have eaten.

Kin had the baked Norwegian salmon, parsnip cream, horseradish and roasted almonds:

Also exquisite. The salmon looked like it had been cooked sous vide instead of baked...the flesh was cooked just so...a bit rare inside. And still extremely moist. The cream was excellent foil to the salmon. And the roasted almonds toped the dish.

For dessert, Kin opted for the Creme Brulee

Excellently done...but for me, I thought it was a bit uninspired....a touch too ordinary. Especially after the spectacular starter and main course we have just had. But technically, nothing to fault. The glazed caramel was perfect. The creme within was smooth, creamy, nice.

I had the chestnut cake, with vanilla ice cream.

To say this is good, is an under statement. To say it is spectacular, is an over statement. This cake lies somewhat in between good and great. The chestnut cake was moist, tasty. The vanilla ice cream was strong, flavourful. Very nice. And all went well with the cream. Great dessert.

We both had the coffee...which, given the state of the third wave coffees available in town these days was dismal. I don't know why chefs go to such great lengths with the ingredient selection, preparation and cooking of the meals to produce such spectacular meals, have great sommaliers who select only the best wines to complement the cooking...but yet, the final cap of serving a decent cup of espresso...they fail. The coffee was too acidic, sour even. Dismal.

But overall I loved this restaurant. The cooking is as fine as I have tasted in France and Switzerland. And the ambience was excellent...nice relaxing. I forget to mention the baguettes which were served with unsalted butter before the entree...this was one of the best baguettes I have eaten in a long time...crispy, crusty exterior...soft, smooth, almost creamy bread within. Wonderful.

And the service was excellent. Catherine Piong and her team were knowledgable, cheerful...none of the "sparking or still" and frown on an "iced water" request. Great service. Bravo!

Certainly a fixture on my lunch calendars for years to come. Bistro du Vin 1 Scotts Road Shaw Centre #02-12 (address sounds like second floor, but it is street level)

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