The Sultan Hotel
101 Jalan Sultan
Its contemporary French bistro décor is stunning, and Toots Brasserie is buzzing this Friday night; but you know you’re in Kampong Glam rather than Provence when the waiter asks if you’d like hot water or cold water.
In this neighbourhood, located within the lovely old Sultan, Toots can’t rely on passing trade alone – so it knows it has to give the people what they want. Veteran of the local French dining scene (Les Amis, Petit Salut), Chef Jason Wong describes his menu as “good, old-fashioned, hearty food”. Understanding that local tastes reject fatty food and overly rich sauces, he has successfully gone for interpretations of authentic French dishes that don’t include such flavours.
His terrine of duck liver ($18), made in-house, of course, is superb; and the inherently bland flavour of pan-seared frog legs ($18) is pepped up with plenty of garlic butter. For me, the highlight is pan-roasted Black Angus beef Rossini ($46) – so delicately lean a cut that, even topped with foie gras, it’s not too heavy.
It’s ten out of ten for the chocolate profiteroles ($12) with vanilla ice cream, roasted almond flakes and Valrhona chocolate sauce. The crème brûlée ($10) with citrus sorbet is pretty good, too.
After dinner, charming manager Fahran Samad finds us a scarce table at the Sultan Jazz Club Hotel upstairs. Cocktails flow while the Latin Affairs trio is leading its coterie of ardent Latin dance fans – we hear they follow the band wherever it goes – in a sexy wiggle-fest that must be seen to be believed. We can only gape in admiration.
Must-try dishes: Terrine of duck liver, and pan-roasted Black Angus beef Rossini