“Towkay” DJ Darren Wee of 987FM opens his second F&B outlet Babette, the first being Chillax Café at Serangoon Gardens. Radio presenters have met with varying degrees of success opening restaurants. But this is one guy who hosts food programmes and knows his industry.
The peculiar restaurant name “Babette” is likely to be named after Babette’s Feast, a 1987 Danish film which won the Best Foreign Language Film in the Academy Award.
I was told that Babette is a stone’s throw away from Chye Seng Huat, along the café hipster stretch of Tyrwhitt Road. While I was half-expecting some “urban industrial” bistro of sorts, it is in reality a restaurant bar located within a hotel – Parc Sovereign Hotel.
It took me a while to orientate to the menu, more the case of I-didn’t-know-what-to-order.
The tapas starters had a variety of intriguing selections from Charred Cauliflower with tangy yuzu velout ($8), Bacon Tempura with yuzu mayo ($10), to Roasted Avocado ($12).
As for the mains, there seem to be a Japanese-Asian-Western slant – Duck Confit Donburi ($28), Pork and Bacon Hamburg Donburi ($16), Tokyo Miso Pasta ($18), and Salmon Soba with tamagoyaki ($17).
I ended up with Truffle Fries ($11) since it was a signature over at Chillax, Crackling Pork Belly ($10) as I was in the mood of sio bak, and Steak & Foie Gras Donburi ($28). (Texted Darren “Hey, I happen to be at Babette now, what should I order?”, and that was his reply. Yah, usually I would just come anonymously.)
While Babette’s food may still require tweaks, they are by-and-large delectable. The Truffle Fries are likely to be a crowd pleaser with the robust distinctive truffle oil and truffle salt aroma, and shoestring remaining crisp and light after a long while, suitably drained of excess oil.
There were parts we liked about the 48-hour slow cooked pork belly – the outer layer delivered a definite crunch, but the whole mustard grain sauce tasted at odds.
Darren’s recommended Steak & Foie Gras Donburi did not disappoint. The marbled grass-fed sirloin steak was full-flavored and tender, complimented with creamy pan-seared foie gras, in fact of better quality than what some mid-end restaurants would serve. The bowl of Japanese short grain rice was also drizzled with a saltish homemade sauce which kind of worked.
Having Matcha Lava Cake ($12) completes the Japanese-Western direction. The green tea infused cake is one of the few cakes I had that both tasted and smelled ‘matcha’, almost brilliant, but perhaps overpowered by the over-sweet white chocolate fondant. I also wondered about the “premium azuki red beans” which went M.I.A.
Very promising new restaurant. My main recommendation is: add a little more French here, and a little more Japanese there. (Met the boss as I was leaving. Pardon for our un-photoshopped ‘cui‘ look. One didn’t shave, the other didn’t do his hair. But nevermind yah.)
Babette Restaurant & Bar
165 Tyrwhitt Road, #01-03, Parc Sovereign Hotel, Singapore 207569 (15 min walk from Lavender MRT, near Chye Seng Huat)
Tel: +65 63417 727
Opening Hours: 11am – 11pm