Where to eat and what's new in Singapore: French Fold, Le Vin, Levain, Restaurant Euphoria, Miznon, and more
Where we dined this week...
From the same guys who brought you Merci Marcel, French Fold is the latest crepe spot to win the hearts of listless café-goers. In a more curated and niche game plan, the menu is all about galettes and crepes — hence where the "fold" comes in. Not forgetting, a bar (that you can't miss from the entrance) pouring a bevy of cocktails from day till night. The outfit is stylish yet lays on a warm welcome, where you're greeted with a lavish display of plants wherever you choose to sit. Savoury galettes strictly go by buckwheat flour — therefore they are all gluten-free — and come in an extensive line-up of renditions. For an initiation that might warrant a second visit, go for the No.4 — a classic essential concealing ham, organic egg in a sunny side up, sautéed mushrooms, and Comte cheese. A stellar combination that aims to please. We also lapped up the wild trout rillette, as it was dabbled with seaweed from Brittany, lending a briny brittle to the entire dish. In attempt to find ourselves a moreish homerun, the pork sausage came first to mind. French Fold has theirs (from France of course) bundled with onion confit spiked with cider and even has mustard cream to do right by it. If you're dining with company, take on a few options and split it amongst yourselves. It really is the best case scenario when you're in a place like this. Because, you do want to save stomach space for the sweet crepes. For a classic, No.13 comes faultless, lathered with butter from Maison Beillevaire and a subtle coat of brown sugar. For something a little inventive, tickle your taste buds with a bittersweet trio of buckwheat seeds, Hojicha sea salt ice cream, and artisanal Manuka honey. —JS
204 Telok Ayer Street, Tel: 6970 7626
Opening hours: 8am-10.30pm
Le vin, Levain
At risk of confusion, let's clarify this: Le Vin, Levain is a takeover — here to stay indefinitely at Tiong Bahru Bakery's Eng Hoon branch. And it only happens at sundown, meant to steer away from the typical day dining and call for a surprising dinner at the neighbourhood's stalwart brunch spot. Consistent with the recent Spa Esprit launches, this new concept brings it all back to the gut as it is spearheaded by their travelling concept, Drunken Farmer, which offers wines that abide by minimal intervention — i.e. natural tipples. A glass of rose à lies posed as a refreshing start. As for the grub, sourdough takes centrestage as that too heeds the philosophy of natural occuring yeast during its making process. And while you might think that still sounds a lot like breakfast food, the menu cleverly incorporates the use of sourdough in its pizzas, stuffed prawn rolls, and even waffles. But something worth noting is this: beyond sourdough, chef Paul Albert churns out standout creations that best complement the humble loaf. His Singaporean Stracciatella is a cheese farmed, produced, and made entirely from scratch on our shores. With cow's milk from Viknesh Dairy Farm, which they receive every morning, it is turned into curd through fermentation then combined with cream and pulled repeatedly. The dressing is the ultimate finisher: a drizzle of EVO smoked with applewood, rosemary, thyme, juniper berries, and Kalamata olives. Safe to say, a midas dip to TBB's sourdough foccacia. House cured cold cuts are also another surprise, which are cured in-house in Tiong Bahru Bakery. They do a mean platter of pancetta, salted beef, muscle salume made from shoulder the shoulder and neck from a pig, and others — all of which have been dry-cured with a house blend of spices and herbs. To counter all that, Tète Blanche rolled off the tongue sweet with a subtle zing at the end. For another flavour play, the Spanish Mackeral rillette comes close to the Singaporean Stracciatella — it's slightly more smokey and tart with the fish melding with housemade ricotta, chives, butter, olive oil, lemon juice, and balsamic vinegar. Next to this dollop, is a side of miso mustard and green oil from local herbs and bay leaf – a fitting balance to make sure no one overdoses on cheese and carbs. A real game changer landed in the form of a blue prawn roll — think Luke's Lobster hype, but better. The sourdough brioche won with a laksa sambal sauce along with mayo whipped with prawn oil. A stellar example of how local flavours can work in favour. And don't forget dessert: The sourdough waffles are good enough to swing by alone — a crisp yet delicate center and marred with salted caramel and an ice cream scoop made entirely out of bananas, and nothing else. —JS
56 Eng Hoon Street, #01-70, Tel: 6220 3430
Opening hours: (Wednesday - Sunday) 6pm-9pm
In a hotbed for F&B that is Amoy Street, you might miss Solo Ristorante if you have been fixated on your usual favourite haunts. Truth is, it's a cosy spot to score yourself authentic Italian fare — in the North to be specific. Chef-partner Simone Fraternali made sure to shine the spotlight on the dishes he grew up with in his hometown Gradara by the coast. Light yet refreshing flavours take center in the Antipasti selection, thinly sliced seabass dressed with lemon emulsion, chopped shallots, and chives. But we urge you to opt for something a tad heavier — wagyu caparccio, with a special cheese aged for 24 months as well as pickled artichoke — where grade 5 prime cuts meet a sharp yet delicious match in fermentation. Folks who love lasagna and their eggplant, would find their calling in the baked eggplant. Because who can't resist deep-fried eggplant layered with mozzarella and parmigiano? A dangerously heavy dish that we recommend to split with your crew, or else that might just the only thing you can stomach at the restaurant. Your priorities should be aligned with the fresh pastas here — gnocchi for that matter, which chef Simone stresses that the right kind of gnocchi shouldn't have a firm chew to it, instead a close-to-molten. The trick to that is using more potato than flour. His rendition sees Angus beef ragout with rosemary and red wine — a plate that speaks of more home than gourmet. Nothing too pretty, nothing too delicate, it's a meal you can easily picture at home in Emilia-Romagna. One of his signatures, the tagliolini with sea urchin is a densely rich pile to show for — chilled al dente noodles layered with smokey uni sauce, tarragon, and a touch of lemon zest. Portions here do go larger than most Italian spots that we've visited, so you might want to fan out your options for sharing. Especially with dessert in the picture: we'll definitely save some room for the coconut and dark chocolate lava cake, paired with a fragrant yuzu and orange sorbet. —JS
45 Amoy Street, Tel: 6260 0762
Opening hours: (Tues-Fri) 12.30pm-2.30pm, 6pm-10pm, (Sat) 6pm-10pm, (Sun) 12.30pm-2.30pm, 6pm-10pm
Where we're looking to dine...
The noteworthy GastroBotanica cuisine — coined by chef Jason Tan (previously from 1-Michelin Cornerhouse) — focuses on the exquisite taste of botanical elements such as vegetables, fruits, spices and herbs, and how it combines with fresh produce, from premium meats to seafood. And it is this very philosophy that is taking the front stage in Restaurant Euphoria, Chef Jason's freshly established dining experience. The foliage-interior of the new space is set to be a visual representation of the gastronomic experience, complete with natural lighting and edible botanicals.
76 Tras Street
With over ten outlets across big cities such as New York and Melbourne, Miznon is bringing the distinctive taste of Israeli cuisine to Asia — for the first time. A child birthed by chef Eyal Shani, a famed chef from their streets, Miznon promises contemporary yet casual fare, with unique iterations of the well-known pita that conveys the vibrancy and lively quality of their homeland. Some famed menu options include the Baby Cauliflower Flower and the Runover Potato.
6 Stanley Street #01-01, Tel: 9015 5319 Opening hours: (Mon-Sat)11am-11pm