Spice Up Your Dining Experience at the Halia (Now Halal Certified)!

I must admit I’ve always had a soft spot for Halia. Set against a backdrop of lush greenery and ambient birdsong, it’s easy to forget that you’re just a little walk away from urban Singapore. With the botanic garden’s recent UNESCO appointment, the grounds have become even livelier, but never too much so – it’s still the very picture of serenity.

Today, I couldn’t wait to check out Halia’s menu revamp, which it undertook after being awarded a Halal certification. I was eager to see if the restaurant still retained their tasteful flavour combinations and creative use of spices, and in these the restaurant did not disappoint.

Halia couldn’t have been sited at a better place than the middle of a spice garden – the kitchen does an exceptional job at showcasing the wide range of spices available in the tropics, employing them in a number of creative ways (even the restaurant’s name features this play on spices, with Halia being the Malay word for ginger).

Being Halal-certified, Halia no longer serves alcoholic beverages. You wouldn’t miss the lack of booze though, for the restaurant has conjured up an alluring range of specialty drinks and herb infusions that bring together wonderfully complex flavour profiles. Consider tasteful titles like the Grapefruit and Tarragon ($8++), which features Earl grey tea, fresh grapefruit juice, house-made tarragon infusion and soda, or the Cucumber and Basil ($8++), a mix of Tulsi (holy basil) tea, Japanese cucumber and a basil infusion.

But it is with its food that Halia really shines, with its beautifully plated dishes and whirlwind of flavours. Large dishes at Halia are particularly appropriate for sharing, and you may want to select a variety of them to taste all of them with your friends.

Beautifully plated dishes and a whirlwind of flavours

The first dish to arrive was the Lightly Smoked Kingfish ($17++); clean and fresh on the palette, it really gets the appetite going.

Coming alongside was the Caramelized Onion and Beetroot Tart ($17++), my personal favourite of the starters. The beetroot is cooked perfectly, robust, and with a savory, almost meaty texture. It is savory-sweet, pretty as a manicured garden, and sits atop a delightfully crisp puff pastry. Attractive aesthetics, complementary flavours and contrasting textures – this dish is a star example of Halia’s capabilities.

The Charred Caesar Salad ($17++) is an intriguing starter, looking a little like it was doused in squid ink, except for its creamy taste of garlic aioli. It is refreshing and addictive, albeit slightly dangerous for those wearing white shirts.

The first of the large mains to arrive was the Slow Cooked Tender Chicken Breast and Braised Minced Leg Potato Gratin ($29++), a great one for sharing given how it’s practically two dishes in one. The chicken breast is moist throughout, and is accompanied by “wok-hei” cabbage – the veggies are a hit, with their lightly charred flavour and satisfying crunch. The gratin has the character of a shepherd’s pie with lots of gravy, and is hearty and comforting.

The Pan-fried Barramundi ($28++) arrives in a burst of colour and dynamism; the fish sits atop a bed of what looks like risotto, but which is actually pignolina pasta. Fun fact: Orzo is rice-shaped, whereas pignolina has a slightly longer and more slender look that is very similar to pine nuts. It is a thoughtfully balanced dish, ranks for me as the best of the mains.

The Lamb Rack and Braised Spice Islands Marinade Rump Stew ($46++) is our third main to arrive– or should I say, third and fourth main. This wonderful dish comes in two parts – the first is a classic combination of lamb rack and spinach, robust and flavorful. The second is the rump stew, which is reminiscent of a sweet, dry rending, set atop pearly white bulgur wheat.

Desserts that knock it out of the park

Halia’s desserts really knocked it out of the park (or, gardens, as it were) for me. All parts of each dessert were made in-house, and to very high levels of detail. First to arrive was the Yuzu Gateaux ($13++), with the yuzu imparted its characteristic bright and citrusy perfume to the dish.

Second was the Fig Tart ($11++), perhaps the star dessert of the day. Caramelized fig, yoghurt and turmeric foam are arranged delicately on a wonderfully crisp and crumbly speculoos tart base. It is wholly addictive, and took the better part of self-control to not order another.

The Ginger Garden ($14++) is a classic of Halia’s. Here, it’s undergone a re-imagination of the original hit and, in my mind, they’ve taken an already great dessert and elevated it once again. Sporting an intricate butterfly lattice that’s almost too pretty to eat, the garden hid delectable galangal (blue ginger) poached apples. The Ginger flower sorbet is fragrant and refreshing, and was wiped clean by our party.

Patting our satisfied bellies, I think it’s safe to say that Halia’s decision to get Halal certified was both well thought out and executed. The dishes are as inventive and flavorful as they were before, and now even more of us can get a little taste of that creativity. It sure looks like Halia’s set to spice up the dining scene once again.

Thank you The Halia for the invitation.

The Halia
1 Cluny Road
Ginger Garden
Singapore Botanic Gardens (enter via Tyersall Avenue)
Singapore 259569

Reservations: 8444 1148
Website

Opening Hours:
Mon to Thurs 9am to 9.30pm (last seating)
Fri and Eve of PH 9am to 10pm (last seating)
Sat 10am to 10pm (last seating)
Sun and PH 10am to 9.30pm (last seating)

Brunch Weekends and PH 10am to 5pm
No reservations on weekends and public holidays from 10am to 6pm

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If you own one of these three cards, Triple Three’s Okinawa Food Fest is for you!

What happens when you partner a good buffet restaurant with the Okinawa Prefectural Government of Japan?

You get a good-quality Okinawa-themed buffet, of course. From 6 to 16 July 17, Triple Three is carrying a wide variety of authentic Okinawan dishes daily.

Throughout the food promotion, specially flown-in seafood such as Bluefin Tuna, Yellowfin Tuna and Mackerel will grace the sushi, sashimi, teppanyaki, and carving stations of the Japanese-inspired international buffet restaurant. The warm waters of Okinawa supposedly yield seafood high in protein and low in fat.

But while I enjoyed these Okinawan ingredients, I struggled to detect a discernible difference between the sashimi I sampled and the sashimi usually served during Triple Three’s regular buffets. In taste, appearance, and quality, I did not find the sashimi uniquely Okinawan.

Likewise, while I enjoyed the Agu pork served shabu-shabu style (it was tender, aromatic, and had a good balance of high-quality and lean meat), I would not have guessed that it was an Okinawan delicacy if I had not known the provenance of the dish.

Luckily, Triple Three’s Okinawan vegetable dishes are more distinctive. Okinawan produce is supposedly richer in antioxidants compared to other Japanese foodstuff, thanks to the mineral-rich sea breeze and strong southern sunlight abundant in this tropical prefecture. I enjoyed the Okinawa Purple Potato dishes because of their creamy and slightly sweet taste; the sea grapes (really a type of seaweed) because of their delightfully salty, yet juicy, profile; and the stir-fried bitter gourd with tofu and egg. A word of advice: the bitter gourd is more bitter than the Chinese ones more traditionally found in Singapore. Steel yourself before you pop a slice into your mouth!

Make sure you also try the following Okinawan dishes: the nicely bite-sized Okinawan Taco Rice bowls; the refreshing Okinawan green papaya salad, the crunchy Okinawa carrot; the savoury Mozuku seaweed; the sweet and creamy Jimami tofu desserts, and the crispy Okinawa pancake.

This wide variety of authentic Okinawan dishes comes at a hefty price. I do not recommend that the average diner pay full price for this limited time food promotion, even though the air-flown seafood is top-notch and the dishes are authentically Okinawan. This is because I do not perceive this Okinawan buffet to be qualitatively very different from Triple Three’s traditional dinner buffets. You will probably baulk at the $20 premium on the regular buffet’s weekday price. After all, Triple Three will continue to feature Okinawa specials every Thursday following the food fest.

But if you are a DBS, POSB or UOB cardholder, you need to make your way down to Triple Three. You don’t have time to lose, because this promotion ends on 16 July 17. With 50% off every second adult diner (up to eight diners per card), this buffet will effectively cost just $81++ a person, if you’re dining as part of an even-numbered group. At this price point, you are getting good value for your money.

Triple Three
Mandarin Orchard
333 Orchard Road

Singapore 238867

Reservations: 6831 6288
Website

Pricing [Okinawa Food Fest]

$108++ for adults and $48++ for children (aged 6-12 years old)

DBS/POSB/UOB credit card members enjoy 50% off every second adult diner (up to eight diners per card).

Sunday to Wednesday [after the Okinawa Food Fest]:

$88++ per adult; $33++ per child (6-12 yrs)

Thursday to Saturday, Eve of Public Holiday and Public Holiday [after the Okinawa Food Fest]:

$108++ per adult; $48++ per child (6-12 yrs)

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Gourmet Pasta In a Kopitiam? Pasta Boutique, A Hidden Gem

A little gem called the Pasta Boutique, now in Bedok!

It took a while for me and my friends to find the PASTA Boutique in Bedok. When we got off our Uber, we found ourselves facing three food centres next to each other. We finally found it tucked in a corner next to the entrance of a washroom: a brightly lit stall with two men in dark blue T-shirts, bent over their counters, frying food on a sizzling pan and plating it on wooden serving boards.

The two men are Mark and Eddie, proprietors of The PASTA Boutique. Mark joined the F&B industry in 2013 to get some working experience in the trade before embarking on his dream: starting his own F&B establishment. While working at the Wharf Oyster Bar and Seafood, he met his future business partner, Eddie, whom he convinced to join him in his new venture. Eddie does most of the cooking, Mark told me, although he is learning as well.

Striking out on one’s own in F&B is always a gamble, and I was intrigued that these two men would decide to go from working in restaurants to running a food stall in a coffeeshop. However, humble beginnings for western food establishments is nothing new in the Singapore food scene: Aston’s current pantheon of restaurants all began when Aston Soon started his East Coast coffeeshop stall to offer quality western food to the masses at an affordable price. The PASTA Boutique’s mission is an almost word-for-word echo: in Mark’s words, to bring better quality pasta to the neighbourhood at kopitiam prices.

I approached Mark at his stall, introducing myself. He showed me a menu with about fifteen choices over three pages. Stunned by the wide selection, I just told him to give us the dishes that best represented his stall. He warned me that we might have to wait a fair bit before getting our food, since it was the busy dinnertime period. He handed me a number on a stand, and I went back to the table where my friends were at. I cracked open a cold one with the boys to pass the time. A beer maid attempted to sell us another bottle of our lager despite our continual refutations. I tried my best not to inhale as cigarette smoke wafted over from the smoking section.

Mark walked past us, carrying pasta and a dish of chicken chop to a neighbouring table with three elderly Chinese people. Once they were served, they started to dig in enthusiastically. They looked like they lived in the area, and had simply come down for a dinner at the local kopitiam. When Mark and Eddie started their stall, business wasn’t so good as the older heartland folk from the Bedok neighbourhood usually opted for something else other than Western food. Instead, the PASTA Boutique got most of their traffic from millennial gastronomes who intentionally travelled to Bedok to try it. Word-of-mouth spread and more customers came for their food. Eventually, the neighbourhood folk warmed up to their cuisine too.

Fifteen minutes after we first arrived, Mark finally came to our table bearing food. That wait had been shorter than expected. And just like that, we had a panoply of dishes to sample: Chicken Chop with Herbs and Spices ($8.80), Seabass with Salsa Verde ($12.80), Creamy Bacon and Mushroom Pasta ($9.50), and Chili Crab pasta ($10.50). Linguine was used in our pastas, but you can choose spaghetti or fettuccine if you prefer.

The Meats: Deliciously Crispy, with Tasty Sides

I bit into the grilled chicken, while my friends tried the pasta first. The charred, crispy skin was a real delight, and the meat remembered to be juicy. There was also savoury brown gravy in a little bowl. I wasn’t sure if it was for the mashed potato or the chicken, so I tried it with both. It turned out to be a fantastic accompaniment with either.

The seabass was covered with a browned, crispy skin that had been smothered with a green layer of herb pesto. In my friend’s words, the fish was ‘mint and refreshing’. The white flesh was still soft, but had acquired a nice smoky taste from the panfrying.

Both the non-pasta dishes – the seabass with spicy salsa verde and the grilled chicken with herbs and spices – came with sides of mashed potato and ratatouille (which looked like sautéed vegetables). Notably, PASTA Boutique’s mashed potatoes were clearly homemade and prepared indulgently: thickly solid and buttery, with an uneven heterogeneity from the use of a handheld masher. The vegetables in the ratatouille had also been sautéed long enough to release the natural sweetness found in tomatoes, zucchini, and peppers. I devoured them without hesitation.

The Pastas: Reliable and Well-Prepared

We had been promised good pasta, and on that, the PASTA Boutique delivered. Before I move on to discuss the sauces, I need to emphasize that their pasta noodles for both dishes were cooked to exactly the right texture; al dente, as the Italians say. Very few kopitiam Western food stalls know how to make pasta properly, and on this regard, the PASTA Boutique already stands out.

PASTA Boutique’s Creamy Bacon & Mushroom pasta does not disappoint. The noodles had been run through the sauce such that each strand was adequately coated, leaving no oily residue at the bottom of the plate – often a sign of badly made cream sauce. The flavour of the sauce was also not overwhelming; lemak, but not gelat. Succulent brown mushrooms and bacon round up the ensemble soundly.

When the chilli crab pasta first arrived, I caught a strong whiff of what I judged as a tom yam fragrance. This is perhaps not ideal, since chilli crab isn’t supposed to taste of tom yam. But after the first bite, it became clearer that what I thought was tom yam came from the thinly sliced strips of lime leaf garnish. While I feel this addition works, it’s definitely not as similar to the tomato-ey rich flavours of traditional chilli crab dishes. However, I appreciated the generous portion of real, shredded crab meat that found its way into every mouthful. Considering the economical price of this dish, it was an impressive dedication to standard and quality.

Is this the future for Kopitiam Western Food?

I left the kopitiam, particularly impressed with the PASTA Boutique’s dishes and the prices they have managed to keep it at. They are crafted well and presented at a level beyond what one would often expect from kopitiam food, standing out in contrast to other Western food stalls at a similar price range. The promise for the PASTA Boutique are dishes with both heart and soul. Is this possibly the beginning of a renaissance for kopitiam Western food? Time will tell. In the meantime, if I hanker after a good and cheap pasta, I know exactly where to go.

Thank you The Pasta Boutique for the invitation.

The PASTA Boutique
New Century Food House Coffeeshop
Blk 539 Bedok North Street 3
#01-619

Contact: 9859 9850
Facebook

Opens Daily
11.30am to 3pm
5.30pm to 9.30pm

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Foraging for new flavours at Audace!

Audace takes over the space held by the much vaunted Cocotte, housed in the eclectic Wanderlust Hotel just off Little India. The outfit is helmed by Michelin-starred chef Jeremy Gillon, a passionate and affable maverick in the kitchen.

Gillon experiments extensively with techniques that extract the essence of the more than 28 rare foraged herbs that he has in his store, each gathered, dried and shipped to Singapore by his friend in the French Alps. A distinct flavour profile is identified for each herb. It is then carefully coaxed from the plant, with certain taste dimensions amplified and others dialed down. Some are made into syrups, others into crunchy bits of crumble, yet others turned into pastes and sauces. Each is unique, wild, and a fine specimen of food alchemy magic.

Delight in contemporary French Cuisine

We started off our afternoon with the Green Peas Salad, Apple, Reine Des Pres, Almond, a refreshingly green appetizer that exhibits the bright tanginess of green apple alongside the earthier flavours of almond and peas. Reine Des Pres can be found in the damp meadows of the west, and brings with it a subtle, sweet aroma in the form of an amber syrup.

The Egg Yolk Confit, Smoked Foie Gras, Mushroom Consomme arrived next, a show-stopping force of distilled umami essence. It is a play of smooth textures and deep flavours, each ingredient coming together into a comforting whole.

Our third dish of Braised Octopus, Grilled Onion Salad, Roasted Hazelnut, Basil was competently cooked, with the octopus braised to just the right bite. However, while the browned sweetness of the onions and hazelnut aromas worked well together, I find the nuttiness didn’t have the same complementary effect on the octopus.

Following not long after was the Steamed Mediterranean Seabream, Broccolis, Salted Lemon Paste, Black Olive Powder; delicately cooked fish dusted with a black olive powder that surprises the palate with a bittersweet affect.

Arriving next was the meat dish of Striploin Beef, Banana Shallot Papillote, Tarragon Coulis, Dry Capers and Anchovy; the beef was succulent, and imparted with a sweet-salty depth by its accompaniments.

A Ganache with Sorbet to look out for!

Dessert came in the form of the Dark Chocolate Ganache, Roasted Coca Nibs, Monarde Sorbet, a wholly refreshing sorbet set atop luscious, silky-smooth ganache. The Monarde doesn’t shy away, with its bright red petals and alluring, floral fragrance. Together with the crunch brought by the roasted coca nibs, this was one addictive way to round off the meal.

As we sit back with some coffees and pat our satisfied bellies, Gillon walks over and greets us with a wide smile. After a brief round of introductions, he invites us over to explore his extensive collection of herbs. It is an impressively diverse range of flora, and you can tell from the excitement in his voice the profound joy he has from not only bringing in precious specimens harvested from the wild by hand, but also from discovering new ways to unlock surprising flavours from each of these gifts of nature.

It’s rare to find such a combination of passion and skill in taking what the wilds have to offer and making this accessible to diners the other side of the world whom may never have tasted, let alone heard of some of these herbs. But that’s precisely why we should be rooting for mavericks like Gillon, and why we can’t wait to see what alchemy he works next at Audace.

Thank you Audace for the invitation.

Audace Bar & Restaurant
Wanderlust Hotel
2 Dickson Road
Singapore 209494

Reservations: 6298 1188
Website

Opening Hours:
Tuesday to Saturday
Lunch 11.30am to 2pm
Tea 2pm to 6pm
Dinner 6.30pm to Midnight

Sunday Brunch
11.30am to 4pm

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Cook & Brew: Good Food, but even Better Desserts

Sited on level 33 of the Westin Singapore, Cook & Brew might draw comparisons to another high-rise establishment on the same storey in a nearby building. But that is another article for another time. For the most part, Cook & Brew is an excellent gastro-bar — I liked the quality of the food, the ambience, the knowledgeable bartenders (they expertly customised a gin-based drink after I asked for one) and most of all, their desserts. But I am slightly less enamoured with its main dishes, because I think that while they are a testament to Executive Chef Aaron Foster’s creativity and skill, they can still aim to provide even greater value for money.

I am probably not the most objective diner to comment on the Garganelli Pasta & Duck Confit ($32++) or the Handmade Ricotta Cavatelli ($28++), since I am not a fan of anything other than spaghetti (I find most other pasta varieties to be too starchy). But I find the former dish aromatic, thanks to the inclusion of double-boiled duck broth, dry Riesling, butter, and the duck confit.

I am more circumspect about the ricotta cavatelli, though. I might betray my lack of cultural capital with this admission, but I can’t stop thinking about how this dish can cost so much, but appear to contain so little. A large part of the price can probably be attributed to how the cavatelli is rolled individually by hand, reflecting the artisanal finesse within.

The Meats: Flavourful, but pricey

Meat connoisseurs will probably enjoy the Beef Pot Roast ($39++). The USDA beef short ribs were tender, and I enjoyed the creamy goat cheese, mascarpone polenta, semi-dried tomato jus, and crisp kale that accompany it. But I find—and this is an indictment of the other meat dishes as well—that the serving size is disappointingly small.

The USDA 365-Day Grain Fed Striploin ($61++) is just as good, if not better. The striploin has a distinctly buttery taste and melted in the mouth. Pity about the small serving, though, because the meat will disappear all too quickly. The restaurant will not do itself a disservice if it increases the size of its cut slightly.

If you are keen to try something more creative, go for the Lobster Grilled Cheese ($49++). It is an expensive sandwich, but then you are getting Nova Scotia lobster between fried brioche, topped with tomato jam and sour pickles. Cucumber salad completes the dish. The lobster is good, of course, but I would personally save my money and go for multiple servings of Nem Nuớng Vietnamese Charcoal Grilled Pork Sausage ($16++) instead. This is Chef Foster’s inspired take on Vietnamese street food, and the substantial grilled pork is served with a slice of spicy watermelon. The lime and chilli dip is an inspired accompaniment.

While the main dishes are delicious, albeit pricy, I cannot say the same for the desserts. The desserts are both great and wallet-friendly.

Must Try: Desserts and that Caramel Butter Tart

Anna Olson’s Steamed Carrot Cake ($14++) is not your usual carrot cake. It might even be a polarising dish. Instead of being crumbly, it is sticky and chewy. The accompanying scoop of cream cheese ice cream might also upset traditionalists expecting something sweet. It is a dish I am happy to order alone, but I will not risk ordering it if I am sharing with someone else. Something about the sweet and slightly salty mix is enamouring to me.

The Caramel Butter Tart ($13++) is my favourite dessert at Cook & Brew. I liked it so much that I made a second visit to Cook & Brew to savour this again. I enjoyed the cold and citrusy blood orange sherbet, especially when combined with the hot, melted butter that oozes out of the tart on the first bite. The sweet whipped cream that sits atop the tart also complements the accompanying slices of grapefruit and orange.

Chocolate Raspberry & Hazelnut Crunch Cake ($15++) is made without flour, so it comes with all the goodness of chocolate cake but with considerably less guilt. The star of this dessert is probably the scoop of Valrhona Guanaja, which has an intense and long-lingering flavour. The warm and flowery notes of the chocolate also goes well with the layer of raspberry buried within the cake.

A stellar ambience at night!

Cook & Brew probably has something for everyone. If you are looking for a quiet spot to have an intimate tête-à-tête, come here on a weekday night. The place is virtually empty and should afford you with the privacy you need. But extroverts will feel right at home in this place as well on Friday evenings. The place buzzes with a live band, animated chatter, and well-dressed professionals hitting back drinks. Go for the outdoor seats if the weather is fine—unlike most other high-rise Marina Bay bars, you get to see an almost uninterrupted vista of the sea, instead of surrounding buildings. Just make sure you don’t leave without having dessert.

Thank you, Cook & Brew, for the invitation.

Cook & Brew
The Westin Singapore, Level 33
12 Marina View, Asia Square Tower 2
Singapore 018961

Reservations: 6922 6948
Website

Opening Hours:
Monday-Thursday: 11am – 12 am

Friday: 11 am – 1 am
Saturday: 5 pm – 1 am
Sunday: Closed for private events

Promotions:
Friyay! Every Friday night, enjoy happy hour promotions all night long. Housepour wines and beers start from $10 nett, cocktails begin at $12 nett, and bottle deals are from $88++.

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Ô Comptoir blends East and West with its crêpes and galettes!

Most Singaporeans are probably familiar with crêpes, but not its close cousin the galette. Both are French pancakes, but the former is a sweet pancake made from wheat flour, while the latter is savoury and made from buckwheat flour. Ô Comptoir in Circular Road is one of those rare places in Singapore that serves good crêpes and galettes. And true to its stereo-typically French roots, the crêpe and cider bar takes quality very seriously.

Famished? You will have to wait for your galette. Every single crêpe and galette is made-to-order. The restaurant owners also insist only on organic flour from a mill in France’s north-western Brittany region, because no one else makes it to the same exacting standards they demand.

The restaurant has a line of galettes and crêpes that is inspired by Japanese sushi rolls. I am usually wary of fusion food because the gimmickry often overshadows quality. But Ô Comptoir largely pulls off this fusion attempt with fresh ingredients and piping hot pancakes.

Try out the Chef’s Recommendations

The crab avocado maki galette with cider sauce ($16++) is a chef’s recommendation, and rightly so. You taste juicy crab roe first, then creamy and sweet avocado, before savoury crabmeat registers on your palate. It is a great mish-mash of flavours and textures.

I am ambivalent about the smoked salmon maki galette with wasabi sauce ($18++) as there are too many things going on in this dish. The smoked salmon is strong-tasting, but so is the thyme and wasabi sauce. It does not help that the galette is coated with a layer of black sesame seeds, which adds more complexity to a very forceful dish.

The allure of duck confit and mashed potatoes

Yet, after sampling a variety, I liked the Duck confit maki galette with mashed potatoes ($16++) the best. The richness of the mashed potatoes and the fragrant duck complimented the slightly grainy texture of the buckwheat flour roll.

The salted caramel maki crêpe ($8++) is the right amount of sweet and is delightfully chewy with its homemade caramel sauce. But while it is good, I cannot help but wish for a more substantial accompaniment such as ice cream, fruits, or nuts. The dish feels like it is incomplete without one of these or a richer sauce.

Ô Comptoir’s “usual” galettes are good as well. I had the cheekily named Ménage À 3 ($14++), which comprises Emmental cheese, ham, and a sunny side-up. For three more dollars, you get mushrooms and tomatoes added to the mix. The Ménage À 3 was pleasant enough, but I should have gone for the upgraded version. The mushrooms and tomatoes would have added pep to the slightly salty Emmental cheese and ham.

I strongly recommend the Khao San Road ($22++). This is a perfect example of how good a fusion dish can be, done correctly. The pancake is a perfect wrap for the prawns, mango cubes, tomatoes, bean sprouts, sunny side-up, mint and peanut bits. Every bite taken brings me back to Thailand, reminding me of the good street food.

Thirsty? Make sure you try the ciders and the wines. The ciders start from $6 for a 125ml serving. I tried the dry pear ($7++) and the rosé apple ($7++) and found them both great accompaniments to the savoury galettes. Don’t be surprised if the wait staff asks if you would like to have your cider (directly imported from France under controlled temperature conditions) served in a bowl, as is the practice in Brittany.

The restaurant’s mainstay is its pancakes and alcohol, but they also do serve salads, cheeses, and other sides and mains expected of a decent bistro.

Charming for that date night out!

Ô Comptoir has a charming ambience. There is a cheeky neon quote from Oscar Wilde on one of the walls, quirky light fixtures, and cosy lighting. The young-at-heart should request for the sole swing seat in the house. That spot also happens to be one of the best places in the restaurant to people-watch. When I visited on a Wednesday night, the place was quiet, with the restaurant and bar never more than a quarter filled. But with such an ambience, Ô Comptoir is a good place to have a romantic dinner or an intimate catch-up with friends before a walk along the adjacent Singapore River.

Thank you Ô Comptoir for the invitation

Ô Comptoir – SG
79 Circular Road
Singapore 049433

Reservations: 6534 7645
Facebook

Opens Daily
Mon an Tue 11am to Midnight
Wed and Thu 11am to 1am
Fri and Sat 11am to 2am
Sun 10am to 10pm

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