Good French restaurants in Singapore may give the impression of being high priced and high end. Think Saint Pierre, Gunther’s, Au Jardin Les Amis, Au Petit Salut and Absinthe. On the other spectrum, there are some pseudo French restaurants that may not quite cut it in terms of authenticity.
Fleur De Sel fills in the gap, located in a charming shophouse on Tras Streets Tanjong Pagar, helmed by Chef Alexandre Lozachmeur who refined his culinary skills at Spoon restaurants, 3 Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée Restaurant, and Harbour Grill, Au Petit Salut and Brasserie Les Saveurs. An impressive resume.
This new French restaurant is small and cosy, with six counter seats round the open-concept kitchen to catch the action, nine tables, and a separate private dining room – which is also connected to the kitchen through a door.
Perhaps Fleur De Sel represents Chef Alex’s public kitchen, where he whips up house-specialities for guests he treats as friends. The set menus are changed weekly to continue to surprise regulars. For a one month old restaurant, he was personally surprised that there were many returning customers.
I like the feel of Fleur De Sel as it is not overly pretentious.
Both entrées were very decent. The Les Champignons ($19) a mushroom veloutée with a texture between velvety smooth and rustic, had a homely comfort feel.
Some may argue on the cruelty of consuming foie gras. Though Chef Alex’s version of Le Foie Gras de Canard ($28) served with apple tatin is lightly seared and almost melt-in-your-mouth buttery tender, and makes it one of the best I have eaten locally.
The La Lotte ($38), a braised monkfish dish with fennel, dried tomatoes, croutons and bouiabaisse jus with firm and dry bite, felt it could do with more succulence. The service manager gave a very puzzled look, “You mean you don’t want this monkfish anymore?”
All the desserts scored almost full marks with our table. We thought that the Le Chocolat ($18), a dessert interlaid with chocolate and praline layers, drizzled with sea salt caramel and chocolate was pure decadence and pleasure.
Just as we thought that was the best, the Le Baba ($18) with balanced portion of strong Grand Marnier liquor within, stole the thunder. Have this if you can only afford space for one sweet treat, though I have the feeling you won’t stop at one.
Chef Alex is always there. Fleur De Sel is his pride and joy, a showcase of what he has experienced through his culinary journey from his years at the South of France to Singapore. And I curiously asked, “What happens if he is not here?”
“That hasn’t happened…yet.”