Singapore sure does live up to its reputation as a food haven with the variety of cuisines on offer all around the island, and also the wide selection of food within the cuisines itself such as both delicacies and typical road-side food. Of all these cuisines, french cuisine has been well-accepted in Singapore as the rich sauces and fresh ingredients appealed greatly to the Singaporean palette accustomed to the gravies and textures of our Asian dishes.
French restaurants are abundant all over Singapore, from the more upmarket, expensive restaurants such as Au Petit Salut, Brasserie Les Saveurs, Au Jardin Les Amis; to the mid-range, more affordable options such as Saveur, The Black Sheep Cafe and The French Stall. The popularity of all these French restaurants, as well as those not mentioned, prove that French cuisine is indeed well-liked in Singapore.
Joining the latter group of restaurants is French casual dining outlet Poulet, helmed by the Thai Express group of restaurants. Described on their website as “a modern French-themed bistro offering affordable French classics to the mass public”, expectations were high for this new restaurant as we have become accustomed to high standards of French food no matter the price range. Interestingly enough, Poulet chooses to specialise in Poulet roti (roast chicken), and besides chicken also offers everything requisite to compose a complete French meal; appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches, mains, sides and desserts.
I visited the outlet at Raffles City Shopping Centre on a Friday night and was greeted by a snaking queue outside the restaurant, despite it being only about 6pm. Be warned, Poulet does not take reservations so if you do not want to be stuck in a queue for half an hour like I was, do plan to have an earlier dinner, or a later one, to avoid the general dinner crowd.
Inspired by a modern alfresco setting in France, the restaurant featured classic wooden tables and chairs and was brightly lit and cheery, offering a nice atmosphere for a good meal. By the time the food came, we were starving and ready for a good meal, especially considering queuing and waiting time.
French Onion Soup ($5.80): Caramelised french onion and fond de veau served with cheese croutons. The french onion soup was surprisingly good, pleasantly salty without being overwhelming which often happens in this soup. The croutons provided a nice crunch and the caramelised onions in the soup itself offered some texture. The rich red of the soup was also visually appealing!
Saute Wild Mushroom ($7.80): Sauteed button mushrooms, Shimeiji mushroom and King Oyster mushrooms served with poached egg. I always say that it’s pretty difficult to go wrong with sauteed mushrooms, and this proved to be no different as the mushrooms were juicy, tender and tasty. The one complain I have about this dish is that it’s pretty clear that the egg is hard-boiled instead of poached, as mentioned in the description. It lacked the runny yolk that I had been so looking forward to, which is my favourite part in a poached egg. Generally, s simple dish that can’t go wrong in most ways anyway.
Saucisson ($6.80): Grilled french garlic and pork sausages served with our homemade Black Mission fig marmalade. The sausages were tender with a crisp skin that provided a nice crunch to the sausage. They were slightly too greasy for our liking though, as evident in the visible sheen of oil in the picture above. The marmalade was nice enough, nothing special, although its sweetness and slight sourish taste complemented the saltiness of the sausages well.
Poulet ala Orange ($17.80 for half a chicken): Poulet roti with sauteed purple cabbage and streaky bacon served with cranberry sauce. As expected, the roast chicken was the highlight of the menu and deservedly so. The chicken was tender and juicy, separating from the bone easily enough, which is testament to its tenderness. The skin on it was not too fatty, and slightly sweet after having absorbed some of the sauce. The sauce itself was very very orangey, so much so that after a while it became too sickly sweet for my taste. the sauteed purple cabbage and streaky bacon provided additional tastes of sweet and salty to the dish, making it a very nicely well-rounded dish that definitely was worth its price tag.
Poulet Roti ($15.80 for half a chicken): Poulet roti with homemade Mushroom Chardonnay Sauce. The chicken was succulent and tender as mentioned above, but I preferred the mushroom sauce on this dish over the orange one in the previous dish, probably because I love anything with mushrooms. The mushroom sauce was flavourful and thick without being overly dense, enough to coat the chicken pieces as you ate them. The sweetness of the mushrooms shone through and complemented the roasted chicken perfectly. The standout dish of the menu.
Tiramisu ($7.80): Mascarpone cheese, sponge fingers soaked in espresso and rum syrup. We had seen many other tables eating from these cute mason jars while we were having our main dishes, and felt that that was enough indication that this dessert is a must-try! We had no complaints as the serving of tiramisu was generous and delicious. Our favourite part was that the sponge fingers were literally saturated with espresso and rum syrup so much so that when you bit into a sponge finger the espresso and rum syrup filled your mouth! the mascarpone was also creamy and lovely. This dessert is meant to be shared though, as the serving is big and the creaminess might get overwhelming after a few mouthfuls. A great way to end a meal though!
Caramelised Apple in Puffy Tart ($7.80): baked caramelised granny smith apple and almond paste in puffy tart served with vanilla ice-cream. While the description sounded promising enough, this dessert disappointed as much as the tiramisu pleased. The puffy tart, while flakey and crisp as a tart is meant to be, was slightly too tough and bland. The caramelised apple consisted of a few token slices on top of the puffy tart and I barely tasted any almond paste. The vanilla ice-cream was…vanilla ice-cream and nothing special. A disappointing dessert and I would give it a miss the next time I visit this restaurant.
All in all, a great meal with delicious food for an affordable price! The service staff did seem slightly overwhelmed, probably because they were flooded with customers on a busy night, which might explain why they were less observant and efficient as one would expect, resulting in long wait times for food and service such as refilling of water. Oh, they also don’t serve cold water in cups, only cold bottled water, so be prepared to pay extra if you want a nice glass of cold water with your meal.
A great restaurant that I would recommend to anyone looking for affordable French food, and it’s numerous outlets across the island make it more accessible than the popular Saveur.
Raffles City Shopping Centre
252 North Bridge Road
Tel: (+65) 6336 3119