Friday, October 23, 2015

Bistrot du Sommelier: revisit review

I reviewed the Bistrot du Sommelier in 2012, click here for that review. I was impressed with the quality of the food then, and was rather keen when I received an invitation to try out their new Fall menu. 

From the 2012 review, they have a new chef de cuisine, in the form of the young Brandon Foo. 

We started with the famous Duck Rillette, 100gm ($10.80++)

As with my experience earlier, this is a winner. Rilette is a typical French style dish, like pâté, the meat is cubed or chopped, salted and cooked slowly in fat until it is tender enough to be easily shredded, and then cooled with enough of the fat to form a paste. They are normally used as spread on bread or toast and served at room temperature. And the one at Bistrot du Sommelier is fantastic. Spread on a nice crusty bread, it is delicious enough to be a complete meal.

The bread, was of course up to par. Crusty, but deliciously soft within. Very good with the rilette and with the next dish: the  Rabbit, Pork, Duck Foiegras Ballotine, 150gm ($18++)

Traditionally a ballotine is like a sausage, and usually with poultry. But these days all kinds of meat can be used. And in this dish, Chef Brandon used rabbit, pork and foie gras. The ballotine is rather firm, and was served with some greens and cold. It went well with the bread. Kin thought it to start to grow on her as she ate, while I preferred the rilette. 

We had double salads...First a warm salad: Chataigne, Bettrave et Sabayon aux Cèpes ($19++). Chestnut mousseline, steamed beetroot and cèpes mushroom sabayon 

Not quite what I was expecting. The sabayon dressing was warm and wonderful. The other components of the dish was excellent as well. Great way to serve up vegetables. And they used both red and white beetroot, which is rather unusual, I guess. The beetroots were cooked beautifully, enough to be tender, but not mushy. 

The second was actually a seafood salad: Panaché de Fruits de Mer ($19++). Prawn’s ‘Babajuan’, confit trout, sautéed squid and Pourpier salad 

The trout and squid were marvellous. The prawn was hidden in a crusty pastry, and I couldn't really taste the prawn. The salad was excellent, as was the dressing. Chef Brandon really knows his way around the flavours as they remained distinct but at the same time melded well with each other.

Then on to the mains. We started with the fabulous Roast Chicken: Poulet rôti, Cuisses en Vol-au-vent de Foie gras, jus Volaille aux Epices (Serves 2, $68++)  Oven roasted French chicken, legs and foie gras in puff pastry, spiced chicken jus

Beautifully roasted. Half a chicken, we were told French origin, but was not sure if its the famous poulet du Bresse. It was magnificent.  Below the chicken leg, and within the Vol-au-vent of puff pastry is a serving of rich, sinful, gorgeous duck foie gras. The dish was served with a side of whipped potato, which I felt was a bit too creamy, but Kin enjoyed. The whipped potato was very finely done, with no lumps, or bits of potato. 

A closeup of the meats...the breast meatwas moist, tender and flavourful. The leg had a heavier flavour, but still very tasty. And the skin was springy, yet had a crispness that tasted absolutely sublime. 

And we also had the pork chops: Côtelette de Porc Canadienne rôtie, Pomme Vigneronne ($38++). Oven roasted Canadian pork chop served with potato Vigneronne 

Very Provence style. Basic, earthy. And most wonderfully delicious. The pork was cooked to perfection. And perfection is not used carelessly. The cooking was superb.

The pork was wonderfully pink and moist within. And a crust had begun to form on the outside. The chef must have seared the pork chop to create the beautiful, Maillard-ed crust, then finished it off in the oven at just the right temperature for just the right amount of time. Even as I write, I can almost smell the wonderful aroma of the pork. The accompanying potato gratin was also excellent. My favourite dish for the evening.

And then we waited a while for the dessert. Soufflé à la Noisette, for 2 ($25++). Hazelnut soufflé and dark chocolate ice-cream

When it arrived, it looked like a soufflé should. The eggs had risen to a magnificent overflow to the bowl, with a membrane like topping sprinkled with castor sugar. As the waiter placed it on our table, it a proper soufflé should. My standards of reference are rather high...Chez Dumonet in Paris. OK, this is not near the levels of Dumonet. But was very close. I found it slightly too sweet...yes, I know desserts should be sweet, but this for me was a tad over. But I was bowled over with the crispy whole hazelnuts within. And the beautiful chocolate ice cream served at the side. So, overall, for me, this was a winner.

We also had some French wine to go along with dinner. The house Bourgogne Rouge: Bachelet Monno 2012 ($88++ per bottle) was rather nice. Chosen by the sommelier as a house wine, it had plenty of pulpy, citrus fruit over a base which is bright,  chalky minerality, and then refreshingly pithy, zesty notes on the finish. 

The Bistrot also offers a TGV Menu for, quick like the French high speed rail for busy folks. Three course prix fixe menu for only S$35++. 

We enjoyed this visit to the Bistrot du Sommelier as I did the last time I was there, and made a mental note that 3 years is too long for a revisit, and will return soon. The cuisine is hearty, the cooking excellent, and the ambience was very nice. 

Le Bistrot du Sommelier
53 Armenian St, Singapore 179940

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