J'ai Envie De Toi

J'ai Envie De Toi

French cuisine has been regarded as the upper crust of cuisine since the beginning of time, and it brings its own unique brand of poshness to the table. And if La France does their food as good as these places do, then I fully understand why French is fabulous.
Russell Leong
Russell Leong

Although the lamb burgundy pasta in @littlefrench_sg lunch set sounded mighty appealing, I chose the Filet of Barramundi Grenobloise instead. I’ve never had a grenobloise before, so curiosity won out and I had to see what it is. Grenobloise is something (usually fish) served with a sauce of browned butter, capers, parsley & lemon, resulting in a luxurious yet restrained dish.⠀

The butter sauce was the perfect pairing with a drier fish like barramundi, as the rich butteriness of the sauce lubed the fish up real good. It’s my first ever grenobloise so I got nothing to compare it to, but I thoroughly relished Little French’s rendition. The sauce is a little sweet from the brown butter, exquisitely tangy from all the citrus added to the sauce, and sublimely savoury. The capers added little pops of salty umami to every bite, and the velvety butter sauce was an impeccable medley to the barramundi. The fish was just a tad mushy, but the grenobloise was so good it compensated for the shortcoming of the fish fillet.⠀

Of course, the barramundi ain’t swimming solo, it comes with a side of cassoulet & rice. Cassoulet is normally a white bean stew and meat, so when I saw that it was a decidedly non stew like dish with rice in it, I was perplexed. However, my perplexity gave way to pleasure as I tucked into the rice cassoulet. It would appear that the rice has hoovered up all the stew while cooking, absorbing all of its savouriness in the process. Each fluffy grain of rice is fabulously flavourful and buttery, as if butter had had been mixed in with the rice. The white beans were supple and adequately flavoured, and presented a pleasant textural contrast to the soft, fluffy rice. ⠀

Both the barramundi & rice cassoulet were the ideal modes to mop up that glorious grenobloise, and you should get down to Little French Fusion to mop up their lush lunch specials.

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I have personally disrespected chicken on restaurant menus for far too long, snubbing chicken in favour of beef, lamb, pork or fish. However, due to Little French Bistro being in soft launch and most of their entrées being unavailable, I settled upon the Coq au Vin ($22.40 before additional 10% service charge). Yes, I was humbled by this humble protein, and I now rep Birb Gang.⠀

A whole chicken leg is braised in a cognac & wine concoction, resulting in chicken that’s marvellously moist and tender. The alcohol in the cognac & wine has cooked off, leaving behind an incredibly aromatic reduction that’s been fortified with garlic, onions and mushrooms. The sauce is incredibly delicious thanks to it being slowly reduced over several hours, interspersed with the spice of the black peppers.⠀

I kid you not, Little French Fusion’s Coq au Vin is the first chicken I’ve ever had that separated clean from the bone while retaining a good texture. The delicious reduction flavours the chicken amazingly, turning the pedestrian protein into a fabulously flavourful affair. The baby carrots & mushrooms provide a nice interlude between the savoury, peppery unctuousness of the chicken. The breadcrumbed & cheesy mashed pommes purée was quite pleasant, but it really didn’t need to be separated from the chicken & veg. Instead, it would’ve benefited greatly from being muddled with that stellar sauce, but it’s a minor issue that didn’t really spoil the dish.⠀

Little French Fusion may be just a two day old (at time of writing) little French restaurant, but it’s destined to be a humongous hit if they can maintain the standards they set with this Coq au Vin.

On average, I make only one good decision every quarter (of the year). If that is true, then I made my only good decision for the first three months of 2023 when I decided to drop by Little French Fusion. At time of writing, this little French restaurant has only been open for three days, and they’re still in their soft launch phase.⠀

As you might expect of a restaurant in soft launch, more than half of their menu was unavailable. Fortunately, their Escargot Bourguignon ($16.50 + 10% service charge) was available, and I that was my appetiser by default. After all, when in a French restaurant, do as lé Parisiens do, non? Half a dozen snails are baked in garlic butter till they’re just cooked through, and at Little French Fusion, they are poshly plated before arriving at your table. For the more astute amongst you, you may be wondering: ‘it’s called Little French Fusion, but where’s the fusion twist?’⠀

Mon ami, that is where the shichimi garlic butter & shiro miso (white miso) come in. Ye olde garlic butter is fortified with white miso and shichimi (Japanese seven spice mix), achieving the successful fusion of French cuisine with Japanese ingredients by turbocharging the garlic butter with a delectable umami that no ordinary garlic butter could ever hope to achieve. Admittedly, the shichimi was absent from my tasting, so it fell solely to the shiro miso powered garlic butter to flavour the snails.⠀

The shiro miso, which is a milder, less salty form of miso, fused with the garlic butter to produce an absolutely mesmerising mashup of flavours that fully flavour the escargot. The already attractive attributes of garlic butter are enhanced by the umami savouriness of the white miso, and that concoction of luscious liquid gold has nestled into the snail shells. The snail meat was perfectly cooked, possessing a cheerful chew while still maintaining a decent tenderness. Unfortunately, some snails were decidedly bitter, although that’s more of a farmer-side issue than it is a kitchen side one.⠀

Still, for a 3 day old restaurant, Little French Fusion serves up real big flavours, and I’m excited for the full menu. Hon hon hon!

@lumbre.sg is a Spanish restaurant in name and in cuisine, but that doesn’t stop them from making forays into other regions of the culinary world. Their Homemade Foie Terrine, Cheese, Apple Purée and Pistachio ($26++) showcases their mastery of French cuisine as well, and gives it a fresh new twist.⠀

The foie gras pâté is capped by a layer of soft cheese and served on an apple purée, and garnished with crushed pistachios & pomegranate seeds. The pâté is almost as light as a mousse, and preserves a decent amount of that fatty, gamey & rich flavour that makes foie gras so highly prized. The cheese layer imparts more salinity into the pâté, making it a certified knockout combo.⠀

While the pâté & cheese mix were never in danger of getting too surfeiting, the sharp apple purée & pomegranate seeds were on hand to make doubly sure. The sour, zesty apple purée was the perfect foil to the heavy, fatty flavours of the pâté, cleaning out your palate in preparation for the next bite. The pomegranate seeds served the same purpose, but with the additional bonus of a burst of sweetness and a good bit of crunch. The pistachios were kind of a non entity here, and they had been crushed too finely to make an impact.⠀

If you need more palate cleansing, then look no further than the Japanese Grilled Corn with Sour Cream and Tomatina Sauce ($22++). The corn is exceptionally sweet, and it’s balanced out by a judicious drizzle of sour cream and a smear of tomatina paste. Sweet, salty, smoky and tangy, this is a simple appetiser that simply can’t fail.

The escargots were baked in macadamia nut pesto & garlic butter, and the snails were served de-shelled. It was sorely lacking in salt, however, and was nowhere as satisfying as it could’ve been. However, the lack of salt enabled me to taste that the snails were incredibly clean, with a taste only slightly more insistent than chicken, and a chewy, bouncy texture akin to squid.

If you haven’t tried escargots before, Black Pearl’s a pretty great place to get your cherry popped. Provided they remember to adequately salt the snails from this moment on.

As my birthday treat a couple of weeks back, my dad brought me out to @blackpearlsteak, a restaurant that he’s been talking about for years. Yes, I kid you not. Years. It used to be Perle Noir back in the day, but they transformed themselves from a high end steakhouse into a more casual steakhouse & grill.⠀

The two French appetisers they’ve retained from their Perle Noir days are the escargots bourguignon ($14++) and the pan seared foie gras ($18++). The foie gras was stunningly & sinfully stellar, and I was absolutely awed by it. It’s a substantial slab of fatty liver from either a goose or a duck, and it was pan seared to nothing short of perfection. A charmingly charred crust concealed the gelatin-like liver within that quite literally melted on your tongue. It’s simply butter with a heavier, more gamey flavour, and it’s certainly an acquired taste. But goddamn do I love it.⠀

It’s offset by a sweet and slightly sharp apple chutney & rosemary balsamic reduction, but even that can’t fully counter the hedonistic high from the ravishing richness of the fatty liver. If I were having my last meal right now, this fantastic foie gras would undoubtedly be my appetiser of choice. With an appetiser like this, I can’t lose.

@elevenstrands has been around for a while, but it’s my maiden visit mainly due to them being on #burpplebeyond. It’s a modest sized, simply decorated restaurant that was positively buzzing even when I visited it on a Thursday night, and you probably shouldn’t expect a quiet dinner here thanks to the crowd.⠀

The menu is pretty expansive, and the most unique appetiser is their Chicken Liver Pâté ($14 before an additional 10% service charge). The pâté was mild in flavour, with a muted gaminess & salinity flavouring every morsel of the silky smooth pâté. Much of the flavour actually came from the pickled onions were slightly sweet and suitably sour to rein in the richness of the chicken liver pâté, and the parade of strange little cubes on top of the pâté.⠀

After rereading the menu, I realised that those cubes are pickled apple brunoise. Fun fact: a brunoise is a julienned fruit or vegetable that is rotated & diced up into tiny cubes. The pickled apple brunoise was stunningly sweet, and it was the main flavour force in the appetiser. That’s right, this chicken liver pâté is a predominantly sweet & super smooth appetiser with undertones of salty & sour. It’s good enough to eat already, but it achieves perfection when spread thickly on the toasted baguette on the side.⠀

Chicken liver is a bit of an iffy ingredient for most folks, but Eleven Strands’ renditions is so stellar that it’s a must try. Don’t be scared to take the plunge, this is simply sumptuous and you really shouldn’t miss out on it.

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5 Senses’ New Year set menu lasted long after the New Year was but a hazy, alcoholic blur so that sluggards like me could get some. And boy was I glad I caught it before it was gone.

The three course meal ($25.90++ per head) consisted of the above pictured bowl of seafood bouillabaisse, a main of peri peri chicken thigh, and a dessert of chocolate layer cake. And I gotta say, at $25.90++, it’s quite decent value.

What I wasn’t expecting, however, was the unquestionable quality of the food. The seafood bouillabaisse wasn’t just loaded with fresh mussels, prawns and (unfortunately) slightly over cooked squid, the bouillabaisse itself was stunningly sublime.

The tomato broth is rich, briny and utterly umami after hours of slowly simmering with the seafood. As if the seafood wasn’t enough, there were a couple of superbly sweet cherry tomatoes that burst apart to deliver their palatable payload without much provocation.

To top it all off, there was an indecently irresistible wedge of pungently garlicky bread to mop up every last drop of that beautiful bouillabaisse.

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Fun fact: Culina ain't just a damn good butchery, they've got some high quality seafood on offer (which they shuck right before serving) as well. My dad & I decided to mix up a half dozen oysters with an even split between the popular Fines de Claire oysters (left), and the more exotic Perle Noire (Black Pearl) variant (right)

The fantastically fresh Fines de Claire is a reminder of why oysters are so highly prized round the world. Creamy, rich and moderately briny, these mouthwatering mollusks were pure pleasure to slurp down with a squeeze of lemon and a dash of tabasco.

The Perle Noire, on the other hand, was infinitely more briny and salty. It was almost as if the ocean had been trapped and encapsulated within the rich, creamy flesh of the mollusk itself. I found the Perle Noire to only really require a squirt of lemon juice to complete, as the Tabasco would've made it too salty to fully appreciate.

While these oysters may cause your wallet to take a bit of a shellacking, they're well worth shelling out top dollar for.

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Culina had Grilled French Veal with Caper Butter & Lemon Sauce (&45++) as the special on the night that I was there, and it sounded veal-ly, veally appealing. Thus, I ordered that as my entrée without much hesitation.

The three tremendously tender veal medallions are stunningly savory and were grilled to a magnificent medium rare with those gorgeous grill marks on the surface. Every bite was just a divine, succulent mashup of the meaty juices of the veal, the sensational seasoning, and the sharp, salty and rich caper butter that glazes the medallions. Don't forget to give the veal a dip in the zesty lemon sauce to keep your tastebuds alive and active.

The blackened carrots below were soft and sweet, and the roasted potatoes went wonderfully with the rich, buttery bone marrow hidden within the large bone on the plate. Protip: get a glass (or bottle) of 2014 St. Hallett Blackwell Shiraz to complement this dish and further heighten the heady hedonism of this dish.

This is veal good eatin', I'll tell you that right now.

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Arome is the French cuisine stall in the atas foodcourt that is Wild Market, and they aim to dish out a taste of la Ville des Lumières in sunny Singapore. They've successfully managed to deliver on that with their Seafood Bouillabaisse ($14.90), with its rich, beautifully briny broth in which a bounty of seafood stews in.

The fresh squad inhabiting the bouillabaisse is compose of a trio of mussels, alongside a good measure of squid and hearty chunks of fish. All of them happily swim around inside that savory, rich broth that is guaranteed to warm your belly and tantalize your tastebuds. Pretty good eating for less than $20, if you ask me.

Originally, I didn't even plan to write a review of this, but Le Bouillon's quarter roast chicken was so good I simply had to.

I was fortunate enough to snag a leg, and it was joyously juicy and succulent. The seasoning job the chefs did on this piece of poultry was simple yet superb, and each bite unleashed a torrent of savory flavors. Combined with a moreish reduction, this chicken's hind quarters really worked hard for my money. Top that off with Le Bouillon's signature, luscious mashed potatoes and and simple mesclun salad mix, and we're good to go.

All that, for just $7.90.

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Alcohol may not be good for my body, but my body is good for alcohol. Insta: @okwhotookmyusername

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