The French Kitchen (TFK)
7 Magazine Rd (off Merchant road)
#01-03, Central Mall
Tel: +65 6438 1823
Fax: +65 6438 3043
What do chefs do when they come back to a country where they had previously worked? Catch up with their old crew but of course!
For the longest time (since leaving Singapore 4 years ago) chef Ban was trying to get in contact with her ex-Raffles hotel buddy Jean-Charles Dubios; I had the pleasure of meeting him a long time back during another chefs farewell from Singapore. Little did we know that a few years ago Jean-Charles himself left the Raffles Hotel and opened up his own restaurant under the Emmanuel Stroobant group – The French Kitchen.
The restaurant itself is found at the Central Mall; a little hard to get to by public transport; it’s small, quaint and well full of warmth and charm that I often experienced when I was dining at bistrot when I was in Paris and Grenoble a few years back. Yes the restaurant would be what you would describe as ‘small’ (it can accommodate up to 40 guests) but it really does give you a very homely feel. The place itself is not adorned with much; it’s clean and simple; to me an ideal place where you can actually sit and talk with your partner/friends over dinner without losing focus on what matters most: your dining company and of course your food!
The French Kitchen offers 4 menus:
- Set lunch menu
- Traditional Dubios Degustation
- Menu De Jour (Daily Specials or Meal of the day)
I opted for the Degustation menu for the evening; having starved myself for most of the day I looked forward to this dining experience with bated breath!
As is tradition with French dining there’s always bread to start the meal. I was in two minds as to whether sink my teeth into the bread or simply wait for my entree I couldn’t resist! I loved the wholewheat raisin walnut bread with the salmon rillette, the texture of the bread combined with the sweetness of the raisin, the crunchiness of the walnut and the slight saltiness of the salmon I was floating.. honestly.. serve me this all night and I would have been satisfied! The thyme butter was light and subtle, but I cannot rant enough about the rillette!!!!
Why, why,why did this have to come in such a small bowl? *Grin* I’m just being greedy. My first dish was the Saint-Jacques Rotie Choux Fleur. This delicate little dish again like like The French Kitchen surprised me with the first spoon! There was so much flavor in this soup, if it would have been polite for me to lick the bowl I surely would have; as with all the food presented over the course of the evening (as is usually the case with French food) it looked all too pretty to eat!
When I saw that Foie Gras was part of the Degustation menu I had to order it! Nothing and I mean nothing makes me happier than sinking my teeth into a perfectly cooked piece of Foie Gras; sadly though the foie gras was overcooked :( While there flavor was there I miss the soft semi-cooked centre.
Fearing the worst out came my beef. One bite into the succulent piece of cow and my faith was restored. The beef blended well with its sauce and the vegetables were a nice accompaniment. There’s always something special when you have the chance to eat a properly prepared “sous-vide” side of beef!
Still recovering from the sensory overload that was my rib-eye a small cup of iced seasonal fruits came to calm the palette (I was on the verge of exploding already by the way!). A nice pre-cursor to desert.
And ladies and gentlemen we’ve come to the end of the degustation menu @ The French Kitchen. Presenting the Sabayon De Poire; essentially it’s a delicately beaten egg yolk until it’s very light and fluffy; there’s no going wrong with this desert, in fact there’s nothing wrong at all with the menu! It was absolutely fantastic, thank goodness the desert wasn’t overly filling!
We capped the night off with a chat with all things life with chef Jean-Charles; it’s very heartening to listen to Jean-Charles talk passionately about his cooking and his big venture away from the Raffles hotel. You can taste the sincerity and passion in his cooking, his kitchen staff of two and his two waiters were ever so helpful throughout the evening.
The two accompanying chefs and the chili padi also agreed with me that the food was top-notch; coming from a Frenchman (chef Sebastian) that’s a pretty bold call! Thanks to Jean-Charles too for the nip of cognac we ended the night feeling all warm and fuzzy, for all the right reasons. If you haven’t already guessed; I love The French Kitchen! It was doubly good to see Jean-Charles again! I’ll definitely be back there again, and again and again!