You wouldn’t think it from the traditional, colourfully tiled shophouse exterior, but this Little India newbie – located behind the lobby of boutique hotel Wanderlust – is a French thoroughbred. Its allegiances are displayed not only in the oversized vintage posters hanging faded on the wall and Le Creuset kitchen utensil holders on every table, but also in its wine list and unmistakeably traditional campagne-inspired cuisine.
The fried tripe ($12) arrived in a mini cocotte filled with tender pieces of said innards that had been breaded and deep-fried to a golden crisp; while the escargots gougères ($19) were succulent snails dolloped with herb butter then sandwiched in a crunchy, almost crumbly gruyère cheese pastry served with a side of light tomato coulis.
We didn’t care so much for the stiff, dry fries that accompanied the steak ($24), but had no beef with the meat itself: the skirt steak cut from a grassfed vache, cooked to a medium rare, was soft, rosy and oozing with juices. The dessert – a raspberry and cream cheese mousse ($12) – doubled as a palate cleanser and visual teaser with its topping of lacy, fragile fragments of tuile. While the plain-vanilla Philadelphia cream cheese with berry jam is not something we’d write home about, the tuile-making technique used here was clearly masterly.
Pair this skill with the spot-on savoury flavours of the meal, and you couldn’t help but think the chefs could be native French. But this is actually a story of three Sunrice Culinary Academy graduates done good. Real good.