Monday, September 5, 2011

Le Bon Marché :The Good Market

Le Bon Marche is a very cosy French restaurant cum gourmet shop found in a private residence apartment. The experience was quite different from the impression I get from past reviews as it turns out very good in terms of service,ambience, and of course the food quality.

Special Menu Board
The menu is very extensive and they also have a special menu which contains so many options that they can be counted as one menu already. On it's regular menu, there are sides appetizers salads, soups, breakfast items, mains, flammukuchen( traditional Alsace crispy pizza like tart) sandwiches and desserts. The special menu features some of the seasonal gourmet produce like black figs, black truffle, and artichoke.

Le Bon Marché means ‘The Good Market’ in French, and the name was inspired by traditional French markets that sell marvelous fresh harvested produce. Born and raised in Normandy, Chef Stephane Herve appreciates and emphasises the role of seasonality in cuisine – this is the core of his culinary philosophy.he had worked in world-renowned kitchens, from Michelin starred establishments of Guy Savoy to the stately French Presidential Palace, creating and preparing dishes for foreign dignitaries at state banquets.

By the way, to artichoke lovers, they actually have a main called Steamed Artichoke with some special mayonnaise dressing for $32. And to those looking for foie gras, yes they have it too. And foie gras lovers will be delighted to know that they serve it along with the bread as free starters.

Starters: warm bread, olive oil and basalmic vinegar, shoot of foie gras with apple jelly compote

The bread is unlike the usual white bread as it is more rustic and soft. I like that it has a more wholemeal like flavour. And of course how can we miss spreading it with the glass of foie gras?

We actually ordered Tasmanian Oyster from the specials menu but were told that the quality of the oysters were not good so the chefs do not want to serve it. Well, it was a good decision though we did not get to eat them as this shows how much the chefs emphasize on serving the freshest food to the guests:)

Main: Sautéed Beef Onglet 200g
With Shoestring Potato Fries, Shallots and Parsley Jus
This was done medium and the meat was done just right to that wellness. Pinkish on the inside and the gravy was full of flavour. It was not as fork tender as I thought but at least not too tough. The fries were piled like a mountain!

Mustard and Dijon mustard to go with the beef.

Special Main: French Lemon Sole Fillet with served with Butter Parsley Sauce and Baby Potatoes

This was on their special menu and surprise!!! It came on a hot plate. The fish was very fresh as certified by black faced daddy who is picky about the freshness of fish. He commented that the freshness of the fish justified the cost. Though it came just with a side of baby potatoes in olive oil, the portion was filling enough.
Their service was very comforting as one lady offered to ask the kitchen to debone the fish so that it is easier to eat but we declined the offer.The fish was lightly seasoned with herbs and so the dish was simple but tasty.

My Main: Braised Berkshire Kurobuta Pork Neck
On a bed of Wild Mushroom Ragout, Potato Purée and Mustard Seed Sauce
It was a tough decision between this and their special main "pan roasted quail with French Black figs" but went for this as it was highly recommended. Yeps, it was indeed a right decision.

The pork was wrapped in bacon and sits on top of a very smooth pureed potato and wild mushrooms ragout. Savoury comfort food that is not too overwhelming. The portion was just right as it leaves one room for dessert.
The pork neck is so fork tender with bits of fats that reminds me of the pork collar from Cocotte. But the texture is complemented here with the occasion crispy bacon that contributes to the smokey flavour of this dish. The amount of mustard sauce around the pork was just sufficient so one will not find the meat too dry nor drown in the sauce.

Desserts was an extensive one that features some seasonal fruits too. But I notice that many uses liquor so all those we ordered all contained alcohol . Yummy!!!!

Grand Marnier Souffle ($15)
Though it takes 20min of waiting time, the souffle came and took me by surprise. It was the largest souffle I've ever seen. I really want to kowtow to the chef who made this as he must have whipped the egg white for so long that it managed to rise about 250% the height of the ramekin.

The tallest souffle I've seen (already collapsed quite a bit)

Though this was not the tastiest souffle, it is the softest and most eggy souffle I've tasted. It is not marshmallow but like eating clouds. And the alcohol kick gives the dessert a booze that took me a while to get used to the taste. It was better after pouring in the hot chocolate sauce:)

Poached Prunes in Armagnac liquor served with homemade French vanilla ice cream
This one is slightly too sweet especially in the ice cream. The liquor was there but overall less sugar would do the job. Recommend this if you want some light fruits at the end of the meal.

Apple Tart Tatin
Home-made Apple Tart Tatin with Crème Fraîche and Calvados Liquor

This one is a Normandy style so it is a thicker base version but I find that puff pastry could be further cooked to achieve a consistent crispness. But the apples were well sautéed and not overpowered by any spice. The creme Fraiche added a contrasting tangy taste that makes this dish very well balanced in sweetness.

All the staff there were very approachable and friendly, making this dining experience a memorable one.They also offer takeaway and catering services. The ambience was enhanced by the lightings and the French flag hanging down from the ceiling.

Le Bon Marche
383 Bukit Timah Road
#01-01 Alocassia Service Apartment (3 bus stops from Newton MRT)

They have a quite up to date website with the menu: http://www.lebonmarche.sg/menus/


Epilogue 饭后后续
Since this is also a gourmet shop, one can walk around to take a look at the rare imports from France and Europe. There was also a cake counter that sells cakes and also bread such as chocolate croissants and baguettes.

Raspberry Tartlette
The raspberries were surprisingly sweet and juicy. Very soft and they sit on a tart that is filled with smooth chocolate ganache. The tart was delicious except for the pastry shell that was slightly soggy already.

Jupiter Cake made with Dark Valhorna Chocolate
The chocolate here is very rich and tasted much bitter than the ganache in the raspberry tart. Surprisingly, the sponge is more moist than it looks.

Hazelnut Crunch Cake
The hazelnut crunch layer is not well made as it has become soggy and the sponge here is dry. The hazelnut cream was average and quite sweet.

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