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

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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Monti – Singapore’s Longest Brunch Buffet with a Stunning View!

Monti Magnifique

There are brunches, and there are brunches. They’re calling it Singapore’s longest brunch, and at Monti’s, the food starts from noon and the party goes till midnight.

Monti takes over the Fullerton pavilion from the celebrated Catalunya, where it glimmers like an inset jewel on the waterfront. Inside, the ground to ceiling glass facade gives it a soaring, spacious aesthetic that presents the marina Bayfront in its full glory. The trade-off with so much glass though, is the occasional heatwave from Singapore’s characteristic sunny days. But it seems like a worthwhile trade, for the views are stunning — sunlight glistens across the water and flits flatteringly across your dining table; it is an instagrammer’s dream. Inside, the aesthetic is elegant and uplifting, with bright hues of blues and yellows adorning the room.

Singapore’s longest brunch is served a la carte, which means you get to choose what you want, and exactly when you want it. This makes for food that’s always prepared fresh and brought to the table piping hot or nicely chilled, instead of sitting around looking hopeful on an open counter top.

The Seafood Platter

The first thing you notice when you sit down is the massive seafood platter that greets you. It’s a visually-dramatic starter and fitting centrepiece that arrives with a bit of theatrics and smoking dried ice, but nothing too over the top that it distracts from the royal display of king crab, oysters, shellfish, sashimi and prawns. It comes highly recommended that you take a moment here to misdirect your dining companions with gorgeous bayfront views, or by flinging empty clam shells at them, and by doing so buy yourself some more time alone with the fresh, succulent-sweet crab.

One of the many joys at Monti is the tableside chef service. Brunch is peppered with personal touches–our grilled octopus salad is assembled in front of our eyes, with the chef regaling us with origin stories of Sicilian lemons. The salad is bright and zesty, with octopus in abundance; we’re quickly working up at appetite by this point.

Pasta Galore and oh, that Truffle Risotto

The brunch menu is suitably lengthy, and the range of options you could consider are near limitless–you could probably rack up a hundred pasta combinations alone. With an infinite number of possibilities but a finite appetite, it’s important that we introduce some highlights to maximize your dining experience. The first of your selections must be the truffle risotto (i.e. Cacio Pepe e Tartufo). The warm risotto is finished tableside in a giant wheel of parmesan, where the cheese melts gently into the mix with each fold. A generous portion of truffle is shaved delicately over the risotto and served steaming with umami. It almost makes you wonder why all risottos aren’t similarly made in chunks of cheese.

Foie Gras, Iberico Pork Jowl and More!

Other favourites include the Foie Gras — rich, creamy and balanced perfectly with a tart wine jelly that’s made in-house. One item that you shouldn’t overlook is the French Toast from the egg selection. Don’t be fooled by its simple name and humble associations (relative to say, the king crab). It’s perfectly done, and incredibly addictive. I could wake up to this every morning.

The other must-tries include the Charcoal Grilled Iberico Pork Jowl – crunchy on the outside from an excellent char and juicy on the inside. You can tell the quality of meats partly by how the fat tastes — meats of poor origin often have a distinct chewiness and a strong, off-putting odour; on the other hand, the best fats have a luscious quality and a slight sweetness. It is here that the iberico park jowl shines. You may want to get a couple more of these for the table, they’re going to go quickly. The lamb chop and ribeye were tasty enough, but could have been grilled on a higher heat for better char. I’d happily dig into more pork jowl instead.

Along the way, don’t forget to try out the drink-making stations with your friends, where you get the chance to be your own bartender. Hit up a couple of mojitos and bloody marys, all in the name of a bit of good fun (and refreshing boozy beverages, of course). Here’s a hot tip we picked up from the friendly staff: clap your mint leaves, and don’t muddle them — a light pressure releases its fragrance, while abrasive force extracts the bitter compounds.

Stuffed as you may be, there’s always room for dessert. The dessert table at Monti is not one you want to miss. Don’t be fooled by their petite, unassuming stature; each little morsel packs a powerful punch of flavour. Look out for the Peanut Cream Tartlets and the Torta Caprese (chocolate tortes) and their deep, rich chocolate interiors. Try also the Stuffoli with Honey & Nutella, little fried cheese balls which you top with honey and Nutella — it’s like a moreish, chewy, cheesy churro.

Monti has all sorts of good things going for it at its Sunday brunch. And it certain earns its longest brunch title with the DJ sets and live jazz that take over towards the late afternoon and into the night. What I’m actually more curious about are the postmodern jukebox-styled sets that I hear Monti hosts on Thursday nights. Now, if only they served brunch in the evening…

Thank you Monti for the invitation.

Monti at 1-Pavilion
82 Collyer Quay

Singapore 049213

Reservations: 6535 0724

Every Sunday
12pm-3pm (brunch buffet service)
3pm-7pm (live DJs)
9pm onwards (Jazz At Monti)

$90++ (buffet only)
$120++ (buffet and non-alcoholic drinks)
$140++ (buffet and free flow wine)
$160++ (buffet and free flow champagne)

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Savour These Delicious TCC “Onigiri” Rice Dumplings this Dumpling Festival!

For the second year running, The Connoisseur Concerto (TCC) marks Dragon Boat Festival (30 May 2017) with a creative take on traditional Chinese rice dumplings. TCC blends at least three cultures in its 2017 rendition of rice dumplings, available only in May 2017 at all TCC boutique cafes. In traditional Chinese fashion, the sticky rice dumplings are wrapped in large, flat leaves. But in a Japanese-inspired twist, the dumplings take on triangular shapes and feature “hotate” (‘scallop’ in Japanese) in one of its three options. And to top off its eclectic cross-cultural offering, TCC has introduced an all-new Singaporean laksa prawn flavour, on top of familiar local favourites spicy chic(ken) and sambal hotate.

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The $88++ A4 Kumamoto Wagyu Wednesdays Buffet at Triple Three, Mandarin Orchard!

After my first well-received trip to Triple Three, I had been excited to return again. I finally got the chance to do so this month, and while I found that much had remained the same, one thing had changed.

There were now daily themed buffets, including Triple Three’s thematic take on top-grade, A4 Kumamoto Wagyu beef on what it calls Wagyu Wednesdays.

How good is the beef, and is Wagyu Wednesday worth the visit?

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Brunch out from the boring, at The Disgruntled Brasserie!

The thing about brunches is that you want them lazy, and you want them long. You get both of these at The Disgruntled Brasserie, with a five-course brunch set ($48++ per pax) and optional free flow of boozy drinks (additional $38++ per pax) that delivers some incredible bang for your buck. The plates are pretty and the portions generous, making it a great way to lounge around with your friends over the weekend, especially around the fabulous Ann Siang Road area which always seems like a uniquely different part of modern Singapore.

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Taste a new spin on Indian cuisine at Flying Monkey Restaurant and Bar!

Sunlight was waning as I wandered along Bussorah street, having some trouble finding this week’s restaurant visit. As the day turned to evening, Kampong Glam was waking up; people begain filling up the Turkish, Lebanese, and other Middle Eastern restaurants. I myself was looking for the Flying Monkey, a recently opened restaurant and bar serving pan-Indian cuisine and spice-inspired cocktails. I finally discovered it under an awning, as there was no evident signage on the façade of the building. Only when coming closer did I see its neon name blazing on the back wall of the restaurant.

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