Singapore: Bistro Du Vin

12 Jun

I was looking for a French place for an early Father’s Day celebration and decided on Bistro Du Vin at Shaw Centre (Orchard). I’ve never tried it earlier despite the Les Amis Group brand name as the decor was a bit try-too-hard-to-be-authentically-French for my liking (though I actually do like the decor…yes I’m weird like that), but I finally decided on doing so after reading a few good online reviews.

As mentioned, it looks exactly like a Parisian bistro that was transplanted all the way to Singapore. No detail was spared in recreating an authentic look and mood. For a moment, I really thought I was in the dreamy City of Lights with strains of La Vie en Rose playing in the background.

The menu here is classical French bistro fare. They do a very reasonably priced 3 course set lunch at $30++ although quite a few options come at an additional fee.

To start, we were served a lovely French loaf with a thin crust and very fluffy insides. Ice water was offered (and repeatedly refilled throughout the course of the lunch), there is none of that sparkling or still snootiness here. I’m impressed.

For appetisers, my mum had the green asparagus with escargots and Hollandaise sauce (+$3) which was delicious. I loved every element of this, and their Hollandaise sauce was very good. If you haven’t had asparagus with Hollandaise, try it! It goes really well with the sauce, along with salmon and poached eggs.

The salted cod brandade with toast, soft boiled egg, Espelette hollandaise (+$3) was also another good dish, although I personally felt the portion was a little too big for an appetiser. The cod tasted fresh and not fishy or overly salty, and the sweetish yolk of the perfect soft boiled egg provided a good complement to it. The Hollandaise here had the addition of Espelette, a French red pepper that gave it a little piquant kick.

To balance the richer dishes, we also had the tomato soup with garlic croutons which tasted like it was made from scratch (sour alert!) and was the ultimate comfort food.

For my main, I chose the baked Norwegian salmon and prawns with champagne butter sauce because I wanted something light. It came in a such a generous portion I probably would have been contented with half. The salmon was cooked perfectly and the sauce was very moreish, not too rich with a heavy dash of citrus. The bonus roasted prawns were also really huge and crunchy. Yums!

My mum had the duck leg confit, brussel sprouts and mustard sauce (+$4) which I felt wasn’t as good compared to the one in restaurants such as Skyve and Pamplemousse. The skin could have been crispier (only some bits were very crispy) and the meat much more juicy. Though I appreciated the wholegrain mustard sauce, I preferred if it was in a separate sauce bowl for dipping or pouring so it won’t make the skin soggy. Props on boldly serving brussel sprouts as a side though, this rarely seen in Singapore vegetable is an acquired taste but I do like it!

My dad’s roasted spring chicken, sauteed mushrooms, bacon and garlic was very well marinated and moist (even the breast meat). It was such a huge portion at half a huge chicken too. He commented that the bacon wasn’t crispy but I’m not sure why it was even here. It could have been taken off the plate and it would make no difference to the dish to me.

For dessert, I had the apple pie with vanilla bean ice cream (+$3). Their version had slices of tart green apples laid on top of a wafer thin filo pastry. While it was crispy, I much prefer the version at Ember that had a lovely crumbly crust and a juicy apple filling. Perhaps I should have gone for the banana crumble with chocolate ice cream or the cheese plate instead.

My dad’s gratinated pineapple with champagne sabayon and coconut sorbet actually tasted much better than I expected. The warm pineapple was very juicy and had slightly charred top. Thoroughly refreshing. When paired with a light champagne sabayon and a coconut sorbet, this dessert simply screams beach holiday in the tropics! I only wished the coconut was lighter in taste and mouth feel – more towards coconut juice/pulp and less of coconut milk.

My mum’s creme brulee was also one of the best renditions I’ve tasted. Crispy caramelised top – check, smooth custard generously studded with vanilla beans – check, not too sweet – check.

Tea or coffee was also included in the set lunch and I was pleased to find out that they serve Clipper Tea, a British tea brand involved in fair trade that I’m partial to. Service wise, the front of house team at Bistro Du Vin was faultless – very efficient, warm and attentive.

While there were some hits, I thought the food was not bad, but not great (I can think of restaurants that serve a better duck confit, a better apple pie etc). But overall its charming setting, great service, hearty portions and reasonable prices are big pluses. The set lunch offers quite a few options and it’s relatively quiet during lunch, so you’ll get some privacy if you’re having a business lunch.

Price: $$-$$$
Location: #02-12 Shaw Centre, 1 Scotts Road, S (228208). There’s a second branch at Zion Road.
Tel: +65 6733 7763
Opening Hours: Daily 12 to 2pm, 6 to 10pm
Website: http://www.lesamis.com.sg/

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