Saturday, November 10, 2007

French Bistro @ Balestier - Le Troquet

The "Blink and you will missed it" or "looked like closed but actually opened for business" Le Troquet is one very mysterious french bistro in Singapore. It is almost like trying to find the leaky cauldron on street of London in Harry Potter.

As if their location is not unusual enough at Balestier Rd, they camouflage the bistro further with large potted plants outside that you find it hard to peak inside the restaurant on the pathway. It is so secluded that I wondered how many customers they served per day. Then again, I supposed they must have a good flow of customers since it has been there for quite some years.

We have heard of that bistro when it first opened. Strangely, we have never patronise them before. Perhaps we always thought that they are not opened for business during lunch, but they are (See explanation below). Then by chance, colleague Isebel brought Oreo and I there to try out their food. She managed (somehow) to find her way there with her hubby and thought that the place is extraodinaire.

We walked to the place and (again) I almost exclaimed in disappointment that it is not opened. Isebel, their regular, immediately pointed out that it is indeed opened. I have mistaken it to be closed because the bistro is hardly lited and with the large potted plants outside, I didn't see that there are people inside. (I am thinking they are trying save either the world's resources or their electric bills... Hee Hee)

We walked in and immediately you can feel the ambiance is very different from other restaurants. The place is very tranquillité (quieter than some libraries, I think) with soothing music playing in the background and plus the "hardly lited" effect, you might mistaken that you have stepped into a spa instead of a restaurant. The cook, plus owner, plus waitress greeted us or rather Isebel warmly. She too spoke (funnily enough) in a very soft manner like a librarian and informed us that menu is on the blackboard.

As we had heavy lunch that day, Oreo and I decided to share something that we have not eaten before, the apéritif - foie gras (single portion, $19) and confit de canard ($28) to try it out. Isebel has been craving all day for cous cous, ordered their main course - cous cous avec agneau, poulet et boeuf ($ 28). The cook, plus owner, plus waitress then proceed to cook our order at the open kitchen.

While waiting, I start to think that the place is indeed quite amazing and very french. I have read sometime ago about french dinning. Everything is done unhurriedly, drinks and bread are served at a somewhat slow pace, time seems to stop while you were there. It is a very good place to chat and have your dinner properly.

There are no crowds queuing outside to worry about that you have to finish your food fast fast. There are no one near to hear your conversation, no people at next table staring at your food. You can take your own sweet time to saveur every morsel of food. (Main reason why french are not fat...) As there are not much customers, it is like having the restaurant and the cook all to yourself !

Oui, c'est la vie.

Pan-seared Foie gras with berries' vingrette

Ever wondered why Foie Gras, Truffles and Cavier is known as the french food trinity? I haven tried the rest, but the taste of foie gras is really really good. The taste is very unique and I cannot compare it with anything that we taste before.

Foie gras is actually fatten goose or duck liver, but it does not taste like liver ! Because it is pan-seared, it has a very crispy crust outside. The texture is very custard-like and buttery, a bit similar to chawamushi, tender and melts in your mouth. The taste which hardest to descibe has no goose or duck taste to it. It is slightly sweet and has a rich butter taste but minus nutty flavour you get from it.

Le Troquet accompanied the foie gras with greens and aged vingrette is a good combination. The vingrette not only enhance the flavour, it also seems to curb richness of the foie gras. Sorry animal rights people. I do know how foie gras are produced, but I have to say they tasted heavenly!

You should have seen how clean the plate was as we mopped up the essense of the foie gras with the remaining bread ! 此物只该天上有!

Main Dishes

Cous cous avec agneau, poulet et boeuf ( Cous Cous with Lamb, Chicken and Beef) comes with vegetable stock. The cous cous tasted light and fluffy with a light buttery taste is not bad. However, the accompanied meats are not really outstanding. Not sure if they should taste that blend.

Confit de canard is simply duck fried in its' own fat. It is one of the famous french dish. The skin of the duck drumstick is fried until crispy. When bite into it, the fats of the duck will oozes out giving it a nice flavour. The meat however is a bit tough.

Not sure if this is how the french like their duck cooked, I have to say it is an aquired taste. To chinese like us, I think the meat taste like the lean part of 烧腊档的烧肉, which is a bit salty to be eaten on it own. Just like Oreo, how we wish to have a bowl of rice and cha xiu sauce while eating it. Hee Hee. Btw, just to mention, the potatoes was slightly undercooked. :(


I am a french food newbie, thus unable to comment on how authentic/good the food is, but Le Troquet has been recommended by many books and magazine. It has also won quite a number of awards, therefore I believe their food must be of some standard.

The ambience is very good though - very private. Good for first date and dating couples since it is quite romantic and couples who cannot be seen together since location is quite secluded and there are not much people. :P


Off Balestier Rd, next to 326 Tau Siah Pia (another famous shop) which is next to the Balestier Guan Yin Temple. (Go early and search yourself, bring a torchlight though if at night)


ABN credit card get 10% off if spending is over $100 dollars. Passion Card owners get 10% discount too.


Amazingly, they have a website - !!!

1 comment:

French course said...

Le Troquet is a great place to eat. Their menu changes weekly. They offer traditional French specialties such as onion soup, quiche lorraine, ...