Monday, February 7, 2011

Singapore - Etoile French Japanese

The Siglap area is not known to be a high-end dining area.  It has been and still is a collection of decent mid-range eateries catering to the folks who live in the Upper East Coast area.  A village feel but a lot more laid back than Holland Village.  Perhaps the proximity to the beach in the East has something to do with the casual and relaxed feel of the area.  Certainly in the old days, many ventured East to the waters and the seafood restaurant row not far from here.  

Etoile is the newcomer to the area.  But it is different to anything we have in the area.  It's always a welcome change to introduce variety into the neighbourhood.  I can only hope that it does well enough to sustain its awkward position tucked away from the main road and right in the midst of what we've come to call Opera Estate, taking up an operatic address on Figaro Street.  (It's accessible through Jalan Tua Kong, and has taken over what used to be a coffee shop).

Bread Basket
The bread was decent but since I'm still in my sourdough phase, I wasn't wowed by it.  But those who like theirs soft, airy and fluffy would like this.  It was subtly oiled and herb-flavoured like a Focaccia would be.  I did prefer the Walnut version as the nuts were roasted and had a fragrant nutty flavour to it.

Scallop Carpaccio topped with Uni and Yuzu
The starter of Scallop Carpaccio was a very nice start to the meal.  Served chilled but not cold, it was sashimi fresh, sweet and crunchy.  The garnish of fresh sea urchin (Uni) and salmon roe (Ikura), then drizzled with Japanese Citron (Yuzu) essence on one side and sweet balsamic vinegar on the other was an explosion of many different tastes and textures, complementing rather than fighting for attention.

French Onion Soup
The soup was a slightly different take on the classic version, but enjoyable.  Rather than the consistency of broth, this was considerably thickened, resulting in a very robust, almost gravy-like beef and onion soup.  Personally, I prefer a consistency closer to broth, and a tad less salt.  Instead of topping it off with one whole slice of toast with Gruyere, the chef cleverly sized them down to croutons and melted the cheese over, so you can easily take a bit of everything with each spoonful.

Wagyu Beef with Pan fried Foie Gras
This course was my favourite of the evening for the simple reason that the beef was a truly exceptional piece of meat.  So well marbled that it was just short of melt-in-your-mouth, so that you can still taste the beef with a couple of nominal chews of the jaw.  Unfortunately, the piece of foie gras over the top was a tad overdone. However, it did go complement the beef texture wise, since you wouldn't want everything melting on the palate and leaving nothing to the imagination.  My only complaint with this dish was again the slightly heavy hand with the salt.

Apple Tart with Vanilla Ice Cream
For dessert, we had the apple tart.  Thankfully, it was very good since it took close to an hour to get to our table.  A well-cooked spiced apple seated atop a fluffy and buttery croissant-like pastry and served with Vanilla ice cream, then dusted with bits of crumble.  Nothing to fault, really.  

Food wise, there is little to fault at Etoile.  But there are many nits to work out eg. cover up wires from a bad interior decoration finish, don't advertise a discount if no one in the restaurant remembers until shown the message from Etoile's very own FaceBook page, don't make servers wear a grey polo shirt with the "Etoile" work scribbled on the back, and don't play Richard Clayderman.  It's just not that kind of place, at least the menu does not suggest so.  The other nit was training - the staff didn't know who the chef was when we asked.  And so he finally came back with "Joseph" and we went, "Joseph who?".  Took another journey to the kitchen for him to tell us he is "Joseph from Les Amis", to which we went, "really!?".  

But the biggest nit was still dessert.  How can a French Japanese place not serve dessert?  When we sat down to dinner, we were told that the oven had broken down and no desserts would be served, not even ice cream - go figure.  Then midway through our meal, our very nice server told us the oven was fixed and that we could order dessert.  We chose something else when we were told the tart would take an hour.  Then when our nice server came back to tell us that the chef was just pulling her leg and that it would take the usual time of 20 minutes, we changed our order to the tart.  Long and short, it did take a full hour and they should just be thankful the joke wasn't on us.  

Here's hoping the jokes stop here and that they manage to work things out.  I would go back just for the food. 

1 Figaro Street
Singapore 458322
T. 6445 5669


  1. Hmm what was the rough pricing like?
    looks like quite a nice place!

  2. Hi Paul
    with some alcohol, it worked out to about $70 per person. Give it a shot!

  3. Hi Edena. Thanks for your review, had dinner there and I agree that the food were good. we had the lamb rack ($42) and wagyu beef ($58), both succulent. However, for the price we paid, I had expected a bigger cut of the meat. Really disappointed in that area.

    Thank God for the generous serving of bread and our starter (french onion and clam chowder soups) that helped. The bottle of wine we had was reasonably priced though.

    We didn't stay to have the dessert as it was minimum $12 and we were afraid that it may not filled us up. In the end we went to the nearby Starbucks for coffee and cheesecakes :-)

    Doubt if we will go again considering it costs us $100 per person (no GST i noticed) and the service is nothing compared to fine dining (no mention of its service here as I give them some slack due to the new start-up)


  4. Hi LS

    thanks for visiting! Agree that Etoile is pricier than what we would normally expect in the Siglap area but the food is pretty darn good.

    That's why I would say that they need to work out their nits before they can sustain their position at this pricing with customers.

    Hopefully they do, since it will be a shame to not have a good alternative in the area.

    Hope to see you around the blog again soon!


  5. Hi Edena

    I don't mind paying the price if I can savour every bite. Problem with the small portion leaves me the feeling of tak shiok (not enough) as I wanted to eat more of the good food. Hopefully the owners read this.

    I've always enjoyed reading your blog, maybe it's because we have quite similar taste as I found that most of your recommendations (eg Gourmet Plus, Brunos, Waihiro) are always a hit with me too.

    Even the one at Hangzhou, the Dong Po Lou. I enjoyed it as well. Thanks so much, keep writing.

    One day when I go to Hongkong, I will try your recommendations. Hehe.


  6. Hi LS

    I understand what you mean. Hopefully the owners are savvy enough to surf for comments since I noticed they hadn't really marketed themselves very much. Etoile is not even listed on the main food search sites yet.

    Thanks so much for enjoying the blog. I appreciate your readership and comments! If you have places to recommend, do let me know too!


  7. Thanks for the review (found ur site googling the place) which I read before trying out Etoile. So with little expectations, I went. Unfortunately, even with the little expectations, the meal didn't impress. Like you, I reckon it's because of the initial teething problems and hope that it can only improve with time.

  8. @Joanne, it's disappointing to know they're still teething! It's been more than 90 days since they opened and one would think they have all that time to do fix-its. Such a shame. It's a pretty good menu and restaurant, if all is executed well.

  9. Had a terrific dinner at Etoile tonight. Great service, really good food: had the scallop and my companion had the unagi with fois gras for starters. For the mains, my Crispy Pork Belly was really tender.The crackling had the perfect amount of crispy saltiness. My companion had the boneless quail stuffed with camembert but I reckon mine was better. The miso souffle was interesting, but I'm not used to having a savoury dessert. In all, terrific neighborhood place.

  10. Geri,
    that's really great to hear. Your choices sounds really yummy. Sounds like they are working out their nits. Will definitely try it again one of these days I'm back in SIngapore. Thanks for visiting edeats!