Beef cheek | 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
Mille feuiles | Photo: Brasserie Gavroche
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 Cote de Boeuf | Photo: La Maison Fatien
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 ofbisque 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