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