Saturday, December 25, 2010
L'Entrecote @ Duxton Hill
Macarons, labels and cafes make Paris my favouritest city alive (amongst the handful I've been to!).The greatest regretable takeaway of Paris is not being able to find time in a lil Parisan cafe to laze, soak in the sun and people watch.
10,000 miles away in Singapore...there is an option in the form of L'Entrecote next to Les Bouchons that tries to bring a wee bit of Paris here. My only brushes with Duxton Hill have been limited to Flor Patisserie and Uluru. L'Entrecote's nabbed itself a snug location right on top of the hill. On a weekday afternoon, it was fairly packed for lunch.
Bottles of bubbly..
Smiles greeted me and I was shown to the cosiest corner with the most enchanting high ceiling ever! I spent a great deal of time gazing at the warmly lit light bulbs dangling precariously above my head.
Paper-lined tables with neatly folded napkins and cutlery adorn the checked napkin drapped table. The menu is simple, entrees and desserts offer more choices while there is just one choice for mains - Steak frites.
A Kir Royale aperitif of blackcurrant cream liqueur and champagne was readily poured into flutes for us...a lovely way to steal time away from work and let the mind get slightly intoxicated. Loved the sweet hues of the apertif, the alcohol was clearly well masked given the rate I slurped it down so enthusiastically.
Still or sparkling...? Neither for me.
Complimentary basket of baguette. The closest we've got to baguette from Paris, the dense chewy bread brought back memories...lovely memories.Word has it that they air fly in Poilâne bread from the famed Parisian bakery to ensure freshness...not THAT explains it! Poilâne, a bakery I've heard so much about yet missed it when I was there!
Unsalted butter so velvety.
Seconds are most necessary which was better than the first, hot off the oven! A pity the third was not delivered.
Escargots de Bourgogne ($14)
Snails with parsley butter and garlic
A strong contender of Au Petit's, these are milder in flavour though equally sinful for bread dipping. I cannot find anything more french an appetizer than escargots though I have to admit I was swaying towards the duck rillette.
Dripping with sin.
I had to pair it with the yummilicious bread!
Walnut Green Salad
Fresh crisp greens and a toss of walnuts make this salad so healthy! An extra dash of vinegar would have given this more flavour.
Their means of identifying your steak's doneness.
L'Entrecote Steak ($29)
Single portions are good enough for sharing. I forgot the doneness of beef in French cooking should be ordered one level down, i.e. medium for medium well. Anyhow the steak was done medium and sliced thoughtfully before serving.
Kudos to the kitchen for handling the steak so well, the evenness in searing the beef! Each bite is succulent but could be better if there was a beefy taste to it. Otherwise, the sauce that came with it made this an absolute star of its own.
A must mention on the way L'Entrecote ensures the diners always get to eat their food piping hot, each single portion of steak is divided into two servings. While you heartily tuck into the first, the second is roasting and kept warm under light and served when appropriate. How thoughtful!
Creamy, sour and herb-infused, the legendary sauce was definitely hard to decipher much to the relief of amused Olivier who bantered "I'm not gonna tell you either!". Dousing each slice of steak in sauce was sheer delight. The closest hint I got from the menu to their secret recipe is..."butter based sauce." Their mustard is equally delish.
Shoestring fries retained most of its crunch even after the beefy star was duly wiped off the dish.
As weak willed I may seem, no matter how full I am...desserts are always hard to resist.
Lemon Tart ($12)
Described as "a must", I was looking forward to my socks being blown off. Looking like a plain jane without fanciful lemon rins nor squirts of ole fashioned whipped cream, I dug my fork into it. The lemon curd had a pleasant sour taste on the plain tasting tart.
Profiteroles de L'Entrecot ($14)
Vanilla bean ice-cream profiteroles with hot chocolate sauce
Usually served smothered in rich chocolate sauce, I made a request for them to be separated. Nobody else does them quite like L'Entrecote, even Au Petit's fell flat with disappointment.
The puff pastries despite being choux pastry has a lovely bite and density to it. Paired with a ball of vanilla icecream, it was beyond mamma mia to describe. One setback however, do not attempt to stuff the tempting scoop of icecream (no matter how deceivingly small it may look!) into your mouth...or end up freezing your row of pearlies just like me. Frost biten, yet deservingly so. It would have been better if the icecream had a milkier finish but it was simply...good. Undoubtedly a best seller...perhaps L'Entrecote can term this their "must have" instead!
The French have been known for their haughty service, not L'Entrecote. Warm service dished throughout with Olivier making his table rounds and checking on customers. Liked that personal touch! The only haughty sign of things would perhaps be their no reservations policy.
On the way out, I spied an interesting poster to sum up what L'Entrecote is all about.
"We never allow customers to walk away hungry", the waiter quipped. I totally agree, I walked away more than full, satisfyingly so. Rustic french is what L'Entrecote serves up, sincere and modest french fare without the pomp and fuss of the other well established.There's so much more to discover about L'Entrecote and for sure, I'll be back!
36 Duxton Hill