1 Old Parliament Lane, #02-02
6333 9312 | ocf-singapore.com
It’s doubtful that there are many people familiar with the name Olivia Cassivelaun Fancourt, the first wife of Sir Stamford Raffles. But founders of a new restaurant at Arts House thought it fitting that it bear her name, given that his imposing statue stands nearby on the bank of the river.
In the acronym-loving 21st century, the restaurant is simply known as OCF and is backed by the group that runs Bar Stories and Modern Asian Diner. This latest venture sees classically French-trained chef Jonathan Koh team up with maître d’ Novalan Dorasamy, a former Raffles Hotel cellar master.
The seasonal menu changes regularly and is based largely on the fresh produce sourced from trusted growers in France. Each course of the lunch menu du jour ($38) offers four choices, and each demonstrates the considerable talent at work in the open kitchen.
For starters, the Jerusalem artichoke soup with fine croutons and the marinated beetroot salad are visually beautiful and whet the appetite. The main course options include interesting ingredient combinations. Made from diced potato, the unusual rice-less risotto is laced with lashings of bacon and parmesan and has a distinctive purple hue. Another unusual combination is a crispy-skin fillet of Atlantic bass with a spicy Basque-style squid and saffron jus; the flavours combine in a scrumptious medley.
At lunchtime there’s no one playing the baby grand which stands in the cute alcove at the side of the room, but atmospheric French music covers the odd bit of noise from the open-plan kitchen. There’s a 12-seater private dining room nearby; it was the magistrate’s chambers way back when this building was a court house, and it’s an excellent spot for small gatherings.
Dessert is a feast for the senses: reconstructed carrot cake with an amazing carrot sorbet on the side, and an extravagant hazelnut dacquoise with praline cream.
Although OCF is fine dining, and the à la carte prices certainly reflect that, it’s relaxed and comfortable and offers quality food in a modern setting with flair and imagination.