L’Entrecôte, The French Brasserie (Suntec City)

Many of us have probably heard of the word entrecôte, used either as part of a restaurant’s name or steak dishes. But what does it actually mean? L’Entrecôte is often associated with Parisian style bistro concept, while L’Entrecôte sauce (commonly known as Café de Paris sauce) refers to a complex herbed butter-based sauce which is served with grilled meat.

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As the name suggests, L’Entrecôte specialises in Parisian bistrot style steak frites. This establishment has more than one outlets, but this post only covers the one at Suntec. Located at the heart of the fountain terrace, it is easy to miss this unassuming looking restaurant if you don’t look closely.

Steak frites (Regular – $29.90, Large – $39.90): Choose between regular or large steak; regular would be sufficient for most ladies. Next, let the staff know your preferred doneness for the steak. Your order will then be written on the paper ‘tablecloth’ for easy reference. To help you make sense of the symbols, we requested for our steaks to be done medium rare, and ‘L’ simply refers to large steak. Every order of steak frites starts with a salad and comes with unlimited fries.

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Serving size of the salad is the same, regardless of size of steak ordered. The simple salad of greens and walnuts is tossed in a light mustard dressing. Personally, the vinaigrette dressing was too sharp and sour for my liking but my dining partners seem fine with it.

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The steak came to us sliced up and drenched in the signature L’Entrecôte sauce. The sweet and savoury sauce went well with the steak, but I’d have liked it better if it was less sweet. The steak was not particularly tender and could do with slightly more seasoning in the taste department as well. Nothing to shout about the quality of the steak and I know I can’t expect much for the price I’m paying anyway. What was totally unacceptable was that the medium rare steak which I ordered was clearly overcooked, as shown in the photo above. When I approached the waiters regarding my overcooked steak, they brushed it off and informed me that the steak had been done according to my order. Well, it clearly doesn’t look medium rare to me. That aside, the fries were delightfully crispy but (there’s always a but) unfortunately too salty.

Overall, I did not have a pleasant experience at the Suntec outlet, but my dining partners had better luck with their steak. So, don’t write it off as yet, since mine could just be an isolated incident.

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Nassim Hill Bakery Bistro Bar

If you’re looking for a brunch spot in town (and by town I mean Orchard) that isn’t too crowded, you’ve got to try Nassim Hill Bakery Bistro. It is approximately a ten minute stroll from Orchard station, perfect for working up an appetite or walking off your brunch.

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Located in the building (which also houses Tanglin post office) opposite Tanglin Mall, its entrance is not visible from the main road, and neither is there any signage or whatsoever. You’ve got to navigate your way up the stairs and pass the butchery to get to it. Alternatively, you can enter from Nassim Road, where the main entrance is.

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The first thing which struck me about this bakery/bistro was how bright and spacious it was. The food menu was comprehensive with a pretty good selection of egg dishes on the menu, but drinks are limited. I opted for my usual Eggs Benedict since nothing spells breakfast more than eggs.

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Eggs Benedict ($20): The Eggs Benedict came with a bread basket with three different warm and crusty toast. I’m not big on bread but I have to say the cranberry walnut was amazing. I loved it so much I bought a loaf back. The eggs were perfectly poached and lathered with creamy hollandaise sauce which had the right amount of acidity. The ciabiatta was soft and fluffy but personally I prefer the usual muffin which can soak up the sauce and flowy yolk without being too mushy.

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Hot Reuben ($18): Corned beef sandwich with melted emmental, saurkraut, onions and Russian dressing on the bakery’s signature Grimbergen Ambrée beer bread. Anything with melted cheese is a winner and this is no exception. The corned beef wasn’t too salty and the bread had a nice, rich taste of beer, finished with a kick from the saurkraut.

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Coffee ($5): The coffee however, was disappointing. Not only did the coffee taste watered down, my latte came with foam which had already collapsed into the coffee.

Overall, this place is recommended for brunch. Service was prompt and the prices are nett. Read: No service charge! Will definitely be back for the other egg dishes.

Nassim Hill Bakery Bistro Bar is located at 56 Tanglin Road #01-03 Tanglin Post Office and is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 08:00 to 00:00.

Not too sure about parking availability at the building though. Might be easier to park across the road at Tanglin Mall and walking over.

Saveur

I must be one of the last few gourmands to try this highly raved French bistro, and I probably wouldn’t have made the effort to if not because a friend suggested it. I blame it on the perpetual queues and long waiting time that everyone keeps warning me about. I waited in line for approximately 15-20mins on a weekday before I got a table. Yes, there was a queue even at 9pm on a weekday. The crowd was young and boisterous, but I thought the lively atmosphere was rather welcoming.

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There were so many things on the menu I wanted to try, so I opted for a ‘three course meal’, starting with a soup and finishing it off on a sweet note with some strawberry dessert.

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Mushroom cappuccino ($4.90) Rich, earthy soup made with mushrooms and topped with a salty foam. I would have enjoyed this hearty soup more if not for the tinge of sourness.

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Saveur’s pasta ($4.90 for entree, $6.90 for main): Saveur’s take on our local bak chor mee (minced meat noodles). Capellini pasta tossed with chili oil, fine-chopped konbu and sakura ebi with minced pork sauce. The pasta was cooked al dente and coated with just the right amount of sauce. For some strange reasons, the mushy meat sauce was reminiscent of a chicken mayo spread. That aside, the dried shrimps added a nice bite to the dish without overpowering it like how the usual hei bi (dried shrimps) can be.

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Rib eye steak ($22.90 for 180g): Rib eye steak served on truffle mash. Well seasoned and flavourful, the steak was a decent considering the price. Unfortunately, it was a little too rare for medium rare doneness. Sorry no photo to substantiate my claim because the bloody photo (no pun intended) will put you off. Though it was a steak dish, the truffle mash stole the limelight. Creamy and fragrant, it certainly was a delight just eating it on its own. The truffle mash should be available as a separate side dish!

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Beef tenderloin ($24.90): Beef tenderloin with potato au gratin (pronounced grah-tan), carrot puree, button mushrooms, red radish, baby carrot and beef jus. The steak was well seasoned and sufficiently rested, evident in the juices that was retained despite being cooked to medium doneness (as requested by my friend). The tenderloin was less flavourful than the rib eye steak, but that’s purely due to the cut of the meat. More on that on a separate steak post. So if you prefer beef with a milder taste, this is for you.

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Strawberries and cream ($9.90): Basil ice cream, macerated strawberries, meringues and strawberry leather. This was undoubtedly the star of the night for me. The basil ice cream paired surprisingly well with the sweet strawberries and doubled up as a palate cleanser too. The meringues were a nice play on the textures, and I particularly liked it with the strawberry leather.

Overall, this is the place to go for decent food with a French twist in a relaxed and casual setting. Not forgetting warm service and affordable prices too. That said, do go to the restaurant with reasonable expectations and bear in mind the amount you are paying.

Saveur is located at (1) 5 Purvis Street #01-04 and it is open Mon – Sat: 1200 to 1415 & 1800 to 2130 (last order) and Sun: 1800 to 2100 (last order) / (2) Far East Plaza #01-07B and it is open Mon-Sat: 1130 to 2130 (last order) and Sun: 1130 to 2100 (last order)

It is a short walk from (1) City Hall MRT station and (2) Orchard MRT station respectively. Parking spaces along the streets are limited but there are a couple of basement car parks in the area. Do keep a look out for the obscure entrances.