Food Review: Authentic French fare, wines and cheeses @ Ô BATIGNOLLES

Combining authentic French fare together with the charm of a Parisian bar, the chic and elegant eatery Ô BATIGNOLLES pride themselves on serving customers with an impressive range of French wines, gourmet cheeses and cuisine for an unforgettable dining experience. With speciality ingredients that have been carefully selected and directly imported from France, the owners of Ô BATIGNOLLES have brought their personal favourites to Singapore.

Ô BATIGNOLLES pride themselves on serving customers with an impressive range of French wines, gourmet cheeses and cuisine for an unforgettable dining experience.

Said Nicolas Guidi, 33, Operational Director at Ô BATIGNOLLES, “We opened five years ago. We have been through a long way since then. At the beginning we used to be purely a wine bar, but then our customers asked for cheese and cold cuts to eat with their wine. So we brought those in. Eventually we turned from a wine bar into a restaurant serving salad and main courses.”

He added, “And more recently too, we have had people who want to share food with their wine, so we came up with our tapas menu a couple of weeks ago, for customers to do just that.”

Combining authentic French fare together with the charm of a Parisian bar.

A good mixture of customers today

Indeed, the restaurant today has a mixture of customers ranging from French expats to Singaporeans as well as people hailing from other countries.

Said Nicolas, “We have realised that our clientele has changed over the years. We used to have lots of French people, who liked to have their own mains and desserts and did not like to share them. Step by step, our customers changed and we began to get more non-French expats as well as local Singaporeans who love to share their food.”

He added “Today we get both. French people still come here because they are homesick. They can get exactly the same cheese, cold cuts and wine that they get at home. Local people come because they have been to France. It is really nice to have people who tell us that they were in Paris, or Burgundy or Bordeaux and they tell us that the wine or the cheese tastes just like it did when they were there two weeks ago. So it is really rewarding for us.”

The restaurant today has a mixture of customers ranging from French expats to Singaporeans.

Nicolas added too that Singaporeans are getting more well travelled these days, and as such, they are becoming more aware of French food and wines. He explained, “I’m not sure whether it is because of culinary shows like MasterChef, but more local people want to learn about the wine, the food and the background so it is more interesting. We often have a chat with our Singaporean customers about our wines, grapes and vineyards and it’s really cool to find out that they know so much.”

Invited to a food tasting

I had been invited recently for a food tasting session at Ô BATIGNOLLES, where I tried several of their food items and a couple of wines.

Here are my thoughts and comments about the wines, cheeses and the food there.

Wines

According to Nicolas, the wines are all imported by Ô BATIGNOLLES themselves, and come straight from France. He said, “We import everything ourselves. For the wines, it is the temperature that will spoil them. So to be sure of the quality of our wines, we import them once a month. The wine leaves the vineyard at 10 degrees C and reaches the restaurant at 10 degrees C to make sure that it is of the best quality possible.”

He added “France is also quite big, so we try to pick out wine from every single area. So for example you will find some wine from Burgundy, some from Bordeaux and so on.”

I tried two types of wines and these are as follows.

Pays d’Oc IGP 2015, Chardonnay l’Orangeraie (left) and Comte Tolosan IGP Malbec 2016 (right).

Pays d’Oc IGP 2015, Chardonnay l’Orangeraie ($8/glass)

Coming from Languedoc vineyard, Chardonnay, France, this is a slightly fruity white wine. It has a tinge of acidity and at the same time, a mild body. It is a pleasant and not particularly dry wine that I had thought was quite soothing and refreshing to drink.

Comte Tolosan IGP Malbec 2016 ($9/glass)

Coming from South West vineyard, Malbec, France, this is a relatively fruity red wine with a rather full body and a tinge of acidity. I had thought that it is a pleasant and tasty wine to drink.

Cheeses ($8/portion)

Like the wines, the cheeses are imported straight from France, according to Nicolas and they are a great complement to munch together with a glass of good wine.

The cheeses here are served together with hot, crunchy toasted baguette bread. Most of the cheeses, according to the restaurant, do not really have a strong flavour – to cater to the taste buds of their local Singaporean customers.

But an exception is the PLAISIR AU CHABLIS, which the serving staff strongly recommended that I did not try, as I am not a fan of cheeses with strong flavours. This cheese however is quite popular amongst the French community. I thought that the recommendation was quite helpful as it shows that the restaurant indeed has their diners in mind.

$22 Cheese Platter. BRILLAT SAVARIN w/ TRUFFLE (left); OSSAU IRATY AOC (centre); TÊTE DE MOINE (right).

In the end, I tried three different types of cheeses and here are my thoughts and comments about them.

TÊTE DE MOINE

Made with raw milk, this is a hard cheese and is described on the menu as being silky, aromatic and fruity. It is a pleasant and rather enjoyable cheese to eat. It is served as shavings and has a very crumbly yet smooth texture with a mild, taste that hinges on slightly acidic. At the same time it is quite fragrant and has a creamy note to it.

OSSAU IRATY AOC

This goat cheese on the menu is described as being creamy, sweet and suttery. A hard cheese that had reminded me a little bit of cheddar in terms of its texture, it is also made with raw milk like the TÊTE DE MOINE. On tasting it, I could detect an acidic and sharp note. At the same time there was a goaty taste to the cheese that was quite apparent on the first bite, but after eating more of this cheese, this taste disappeared.

BRILLAT SAVARIN w/ TRUFFLE

I really enjoyed this cheese and it was my favourite one of the lot. On the menu it is described as being made with pasteurised milk and is creamy and soft. I found the texture to be pleasantly light, creamy and mild and the truffle note in the cheese gave it an extra dimension that had agreed with my taste buds. It was a very interesting cheese that I found that I kept wanting to sneak small bites of, and I simply could not get enough of it.

Other Cold Cuts

Besides the cheeses, Ô BATIGNOLLES also has a small selection of cold cuts including different types of ham and other meats, which customers can mix together with the cheeses on a platter, depending on their taste buds and personal preferences.

Though they can be purchased individually, the cheeses and cold cuts at Ô BATIGNOLLES are generally sold as a platter of varying sizes depending on how much you want to order.

The smallest platter is three cheeses of your choice for $22. This is what I had. You can also get five cheeses for $32 and seven cheeses for $42. Or if you want a mixed assortment of both cheeses and cold cuts, it will set you back by $34.

Tapas

Created to be shared over wonderful conversations, the French tapas items at Ô BATIGNOLLES consists of quintessential French classics such as the Croque Monsieur Bites with an interactive twist. They also include the Salmon Rillettes that are served with bite-sized pieces of baguette freshly flown in from France.

Said Nicolas, “The tapas menu has proven to be a great success since its launch two weeks ago. We sell more tapas right now than mains. It’s good because the tapes gives you a chance to try lots of items, whereas for the mains, you have your steak and that’s it, but for the tapas you can order the burger and the salmon and you share it. The concept is the same as the cheese and cold cuts platter.”

I tried two types of tapas during our tasting session at Ô BATIGNOLLES. These are as follows.

HANGER BEEF ($26)

HANGER BEEF.

Served with Borderlaise sauce, these are basically little nuggets of grilled beef and they are accompanied with both roasted yellow and purple sweet potato placed neatly on a side dish.

I had requested for the beef to be cooked medium well. I really enjoyed the beef and it had been cooked to just how I had requested it – without being overdone. This meat had been well marinated too; it was really tasty and full of flavour, which had hit me immediately when I took a bite. This is a dish that I would probably recommend to anyone who loves their beef.

At the same time, there is a distinctive beefy note to the meat, and the sweet potatoes blended in quite well with the beef as an accompaniment too. The texture of the sweet potatoes itself, had been quite firm and sweet at the same time. It was tasty and flavoursome.

CROQUE-MONSIEUR BITES ($20)

CROQUE-MONSIEUR BITES.

This is essentially a French style baked ham and cheese sandwich, and the Ô BATIGNOLLES version also comes with béchamel sauce to add some moisture to the sandwich. Upon tasting this, the combined cheese and creamy béchamel sauce flavour simply hits you at once and I could not really taste much of the ham flavour as a result. Still though it is palatable enough and did not completely overwhelm me. The slightly crispy baked cheese on the surface was also rather yummy and really brought out the cheesy note of this dish.

The sandwich bread though, had been grilled to perfection. It is crispy on the outside and hot and warm on the inside. I liked the slightly burnt edges of the crust too with the slight hint of cheese flavour coming from them too.

Mains

The main menu, according to Nicolas, does not have a big selection because the kitchen at Ô BATIGNOLLES is rather small, at about eight square metres. He added, “But everything we prepare is fresh and we cook our food daily. To ensure the quality we have about six to seven main dishes.”

Nicolas added, “We are proud of our restaurant and we want to deliver the best. So if we cannot guarantee the quality of a large amount of food, we prefer to do a short menu to ensure the quality and consistency. So regardless of whether you come on Monday or Friday, the standard will be exactly the same; we can guarantee it.”

I tasted two types of mains at Ô BATIGNOLLES and these dishes were as follows.

GRILLED SALMON ($26)

GRILLED SALMON.

According to Nicolas, this has been included in the menu to cater to the restaurant’s increasingly non-French clientele. Said Nicolas, “You need to serve food to please your customer and make what they want to eat. This is also a lighter dish and suits those who don’t want to have such a heavy meal.”

This dish had been served together with vegetables (asparagus and courgettes) and dill cream. I had requested for the salmon to be prepared well done. The centre of the salmon had been good and it was slightly moist. I found the edges of the salmon to be slightly drier and overcooked though, unfortunately.

At the same time the salmon meat was really tasty and not fishy at all. It had a very clean and pleasant salmon taste that salmon lovers would enjoy. It was one of the better salmons that I would say I have tasted. The courgettes and the lightly cooked, crunchy asparagus on the side, had also blended in quite well with the salmon, to create a combination of tastes in the mouth.

FRENCH BURGER ($26)

FRENCH BURGER.

This is not a typical French dish, but according to Nicolas, there is a French twist to it because of the French Morbier cheese that is melted on top of the burger patty.

The burger is served with truffle fries on the side. On biting into the burger patty, I thought the beef was firm and tasty and had a good bite to it. It also had a good beefy note that gourmet burger lovers would like. At the same time, the beef had a nice, burnt BBQ note to it, which helped to bring out the flavour of the meat even more.

Also, the Morbid cheese used, had helped to add moisture to the beef burger and matched up quite well with the meat. This type of cheese had been a good choice on the part of the restaurant.

The truffle fries were also good; I really enjoyed them. They were addictive and had a very distinctive truffle note to it that I liked. At the same time they were crunchy on the outside and hot and warm on the inside. However do not leave them for too long in the open though, as they tend to get soggy fairly quickly though.

Sweets

Ô BATIGNOLLES also has a dessert menu consisting of a combination of French and non-French style desserts for customers who want to end their meal with something sweet.

To end off the meal, on a sugary note, I tried two types of desserts, and these were as follows.

CRÈME BRÛLÉE ($9)

CRÈME BRÛLÉE.

This is a dessert consisting of a rich custard base and topped with a contrasting layer of hard caramel. As it is one of the French desserts on the menu, I knew that I had to taste it.

And the Ô BATIGNOLLES version of this classic dessert was quite good. It had a slight sweetness to it that was not overpowering and it was rather tasty at the same time. The custard base was rich and had a creamy, milky note to it. The caramel on top was deliciously crunchy and was a great contrast to the milky, smooth custard at the bottom. In fact it was one of the better versions of the crème brûlée desserts that I have probably had.

BROWNIE ($10)

BROWNIE.

Though chocolate brownies may not be a French item, I had to try this dessert simply because I love my chocolate.

And the Ô BATIGNOLLES chocolate brownie was dense and had a distinctive chocolate note to it. As I am a big fan of chocolate, this had agreed with me quite well. My dining companion had mentioned that it was slightly sweet but I did not think that the sweetness was overpowering, but then again, that’s probably because I have a rather sweet tooth.

Paired with vanilla ice cream, this is quite a classic combination. I thought that the ice cream had brought out the moisture in the brownie and they went quite well when eaten together, though the flavour of the vanilla beans in the ice cream itself was not really apparent.

Other Items

Apart from the items that we had tried, Ô BATIGNOLLES also has a small selection of classic salads on the everyday menu, that include the CÆSAR and the GOAT CHEESE salads. So for those who want a healthy meal or nutritious side dish, these items would suit them perfectly.

In addition, Ô BATIGNOLLES also has a Weekend Brunch that comes with a free flow of croissants. You also get your choice of eggs and fresh French bread. Champagne is chargeable at $60 per bottle during brunch.

Said Nicolas, “And our brunch is very laid back with people staying for two to three hours. We have people coming on on weekends, as well as during the nights, for street watching just like in Paris where people sit in terraces with a glass of wine and do people watching.”

He added, “We have different crowds coming in on weekdays and weekends. For example Wednesdays are Ladies Night so if you have a group of four ladies coming in between 7pm and 9pm you can get a burger for free on the house. Terms and conditions apply of course.”

Ô BATIGNOLLES appeals to the gourmand in all of us with a dining experience that invites us back time after time.

Appeals to everyone

Indeed, with their menu consisting of authentic French cuisines, and a quality selection of the finest French wines, gourmet cheeses and artisanal cold cuts, Ô BATIGNOLLES appeals to the gourmand in all of us with a dining experience that invites us back time after time.

Ô BATIGNOLLES is at:

Address: 72 Gemmill Lane, Singapore 069247

Tel: 6438 3913

Opening Hours:

Monday – Friday, 11am – 12am

Saturday, 10am – 12am

Sunday, 10am – 9pm

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