There’s just something about the French. Whether it’s their fashion or their food, there’s a certain – you guessed it! – je nais se quois that draws people to it. If you’re looking for somewhere special for your next dinner date or girls’ night out, L’Angélus and Les Bouchons are two fantastic French restaurants that have been around for a while – over 18 years, in fact. Both are effortlessly chic with a rustic charm, reminiscent of cosy bistros tucked away in the corner of a Parisian street. Here’s what we enjoyed on our recent visits.
This iconic French classic is in the heart of Chinatown. It opened in 1998, and is dubbed the oldest single-location French restaurant in Singapore! The long-standing eatery’s ode to preserve the legacy of authentic French cuisine has earned it a number of accolades, including a “Restauranteurs de France” award.
We loved the Parisian vibes of the restaurant, which features French artefacts and vintage posters from bygone eras. The décor has an endearingly traditional feel, which hasn’t changed in the restaurant’s long history. Take a stroll (with a glass of wine in hand) through the passage beyond the kitchen, where you’ll find rows of sepia-toned photographs lining the wall. L’Angélus is a welcomed respite from city life.
Like its French bistro setting, the food follows classic French gastronomy, from start to finish. Top quality ingredients from Rungis, France, are prepared using traditional cooking techniques. All this is complemented by a unique wine list of entirely French wines; it’s full of gems for lovers of older vintages. We enjoyed the Burgundy escargots ($18) – don’t miss them on Wednesdays, when they’re free-flow – along with the foie gras Poêlé ($24), seared to perfection atop a shallot tarte tatin. Another favourite is the La Côte de Boeuf ($136); coming in at a stomach-rumbling 1kg, this giant prime rib is rich, flavourful, delicately seasoned and easily feeds two. Served with a creamy potato gratin, sweet and fragrant vine-ripened cherry tomatoes and further accompanied by blue cheese and peppercorn sauces, this plate is great for sharing with your date – or your friends!
A well-curated wine list that’s full of gems and vintages for wine lovers complements the food. The best-kept secret of the restaurant is probably the bar. Apart from an exhaustive wine selection from France, there’s also a splendid selection of spirits, liqueurs, cocktails and Armagnacs. You know where to find us!
Since 2002, Les Bouchons has been paying homage to the grand tradition of French bistros by serving up a mean plate of steak frites. In fact, the restaurant was one of the first in Singapore to offer this French classic! There are two branches; the first at Les Bouchons at Ann Siang, housed in a traditional shophouse for a charming, vintage feel. The venue also offers a private dining room on the second level, which is perfect for intimate celebrations. In 2006, Les Bouchons Rive Gauche opened at Robertson Quay, overlooking an outdoor terrace that overlooks the Singapore River. It’s the perfect pick for date night.
Les Bouchons’ steaks are prepared to your liking, and served with free-flow homemade fries (they’re hand-cut and twice-cooked). Chef Mika cooks the steaks on the grill from start to finish, and the result is a beautifully red inside with a sweet char on the outside. Go for the extra tender Angus beef filet ($47) or the ribeye ($43) for a fattier cut and richer flavour.
On top of steak frites, the menu also has a delectable range of sides, as well as meat and seafood dishes. The French onion soup ($14) is the result of a 36-hour process, which includes slow-cooking the beef stock, and then adding caramelised onions at the end. This means that the onions aren’t soggy and don’t absorb into the liquid, making it taste lighter than many other renditions that we’ve tried. There’s also a variety of special condiments and sauces, made to pair well with all dishes on the menu. We also shared a crème brûlée and the last of a bottle of French Bordeaux; it felt a little like we had been on a Parisian interlude!
For drinks, Les Bouchons boasts a stellar wine list that’s ever evolving, with Old and New world wines from various small batch and renowned wine producers. Though predominantly French, the vino selection has some good Australian and New Zealand options, too, so you’ll be spoilt for choice here.
Les Bouchons at Ann Siang
7 Ann Siang Road | 6423 0737
Les Bouchons Rive Gauche
60 Robertson Quay | 6733 4414
Check out where to head to for brunch this weekend!