It’s a Wednesday night and along Purvis Street, there was a crowd of people along the five-foot way outside one unit in the row of shops and restaurant, most of which were empty and quiet. My companion Bee immediately pointed to that crowd as our destination even though it was the first time she was there as well.
It was just as well we had tea at 3pm and were not very hungry. So we put down our names and telephone numbers and the affable young man told us apologetically to expect a 45-60 minutes wait. Most patrons were smiling understandably and all were prepared to wait that long for the food. Bee and I adjourned to a neighboring corner kopitiam (café) and ordered drinks while we waited.
About an hour later at eight, we were finally seated. There was still a queue outside and they would probably eat at nine.
We didn’t mind the long wait but what was disappointing was that many of the popular items were sold out. The Duck confit and Salty Caramel lava cake, both of which we wanted to try, we could only look on longingly at others enjoying it. The crowd in the two-unit restaurant comprised mostly young adults and dating couples holding hands as they tucked in.
For starter, I wanted to be adventurous and opted for the special that night, Charcuterie – cuts of ham, salami, capicola served with bread. Bee wanted the Foie Gras with apple.
The Foie Gras was a bite-sized piece at $9.90. Bee indulged in the gamey-oily extravagance bit by bit. I regretted my choice of starter the moment I saw it. The name Charcuterie ($13.90) may sound exotic but I am really not into processed meat. Yet I didn’t want the usual choice of salad and soup (choice of mushroom cappuccino or cream of cauliflower). The other popular starter was salmon spaghetti.
For mains, Bee opted for Pork Belly and I the seabass. The ribeye special was sold out. I didn’t want tenderloin in a cold plate, and the chicken didn’t sound appetizing.
Bee’s belly pork ($10.90) came with half-boiled egg and lentil. She obviously enjoyed every mouth full.
My thick slice of seabass ($14.90) was served on a bed of cubed potatoes with crabmeat. The skin was deep-fried until crispy but the flesh retained its flaky moistness. It was unlike most seabass I tasted.
For dessert, we were recommended the pistachio Panna Cotta (6.90)and was told it was too small to be shared. It was small but we wouldn’t have minded sharing as the cream was a bit ‘jelat’ for me after a while. But a nice dessert to have after a meal.
We were also recommended the special that night Strawberry and cream but we didn’t fancy that.
Overall, we enjoyed our dinner last night. The large group of local staff was attentive, very friendly and made us feel very much welcome. Credit must be given to the man taking down reservation. He was both cheerful and apologetic, which made us very willing to wait (unlike the haughty arrogance of some other popular restaurants.)
Our meal last night cost us $74.55. Bee expected the price to be lower, probably because unlike other restaurants, the mains are priced lower than the starters. Still, one could enjoy French on a budget if you order carefully at this restaurant.