Weets Eats: Savour fabulous French fare at FrapasBar
Although founding chefs Dylan Ong and Joshua Khoo have left the Saveur group of restaurants, it has continued with its French slant.
The current owner - entrepreneur Eric Chiam - and his new team, comprising chefs Tyler Lai and Allen Tan, have come up with a new concept that works in spite of its bordering-on-pretentious name.
The menu at FrapasBar is French food served tapas-style, and a well-stocked bar accompanies the food.
This was what made the original Saveur so popular.
It was an inexpensive, non-intimidating experience for those clueless about French food.
The concept has done well for the group. The Century Square branch - where I dined - opened last June, and by December, the group decided to rebrand its Handy Road outlet at The Cathay as a FrapasBar too.
Both outlets share the same menu, and going by the reaction to the Century Square outlet, both locations will be filled with young foodies on a budget.
I like a good deal too, so it was doubly exciting to like the Escargot on Bone Marrow ($20) as much as I did. Escargot and bone marrow would likely cost $20 each.
Those intimidated by snails should not worry, as the chimichurri should make it more palatable for you.
My favourite component was the bits of bone marrow mixed in with the chewy escargot, giving it variations in texture.
When the bits burst in your mouth between chews, it is a lovely sensation.
I did not think I would enjoy the Rillete Dumpling ($7) but the duck rillete was strong-flavoured.
More delicate taste buds may even say it is salty. I loved it the way it was though.
Treated just like deep fried wanton, it is wrapped inside a skin and fried - simple as that.
You can ditch the sides as they were not particularly memorable, but the actual parcels were delicious.
I also really enjoyed Sophia's Risotto ($24).
For some unfathomable reason, the public relations people for FrapasBar sold it as an otak-otak rice. It was something else altogether.
It has crabmeat, mackerel, chilli and coconut mixed into surprisingly al dente rice.
Nothing in it reminded me of otak-otak. But from the aroma to the texture to the taste, this dish did it for me.
I was not expecting much from the Seafood Bouillabaisse ($16) because a typical bouillabaisse costs at least three times more. My snobbery was proven wrong.
It has to be the fennel that gave it an elegant edge and tied the seafood together. The stock was robust and the seafood plentiful.
My disappointment came from the Salmon Tartare ($9), although my dining companion disagreed.
I was expecting a buttery denseness and a certain level of oiliness, but it came across flat and overly sweet.
Still, it shouldn't matter if there are bumps in the menu because for the price you pay, you are getting an excellent meal.