Friday, December 20, 2013

Singapore Food Blog - Poulét @ Raffles City Shopping Centre

Location: City Hall, Central Business District (CBD), Singapore

Note: This piece was written base on the dining experience in Raffles City Shopping Centre's outlet. Experience may differ from those in another branch.

Getting affordable French cuisine in Singapore could be a challenge sometimes, with most of the high end fine dining claiming the honors to host such fine cuisine. The opening of Poulét by the same group operating Thai Express allowed middle income diners like me to try something French without the need to fork out a stack of greens or a significant deduction from your credit account.

Poulét is French for chicken, and as if to further emphasize this, their signature dish is one Poulét Roti, a dish offering you a choice of half or whole chicken. Of course, the queue in front of the restaurant during dining hours lend some testament to their reputation, so off we went for some French food.

If you can't relate the word Poulet with France, surely the half-chopped Eiffel Tower will remind you of the nation...

The layout of the restaurant was rather peculiar. Poulét's front area sharing a border with its neighbor had nothing out of the ordinary apart from some metal grilled fences acting as grim partitions. In order to make the most out of their floor plan, where an open kitchen occupied a significant space, seats ran along a narrow aisle beside the kitchen, an aisle which lead into another space behind the kitchen where more seats were available. With the kitchen in the middle of the floor, the seating space available in Poulét looked smaller than it really was. The general seating was reasonably spaced out enough to accommodate easy walking, except for those lined along the aforementioned aisle.

I found the overall decoration and atmosphere to be quite attractive as much as it was perplexing in some areas. Passersby would be looking at diners seated at the aisle with open windows as if the diners were seated on a kerbside restaurant. It led to a romantic scene by looking from the outside, but not so much for those diners who had their dish being spied by everyone. Soft ambient light coupled with harsher spotlighting reminded me of dining under the streetlight, an element which lend a romantic sense to couples. Definitely a place for lovers to share a table at.

An open kitchen occupied the center area of Poulet, virtually separating the restaurant into two seating areas with a narrow aisle connecting both, lending a sense of less seating capacity than it really was, so do not be discouraged if you saw the front area fully seated. There just may still be space at the back.

Poulét's menu was one of scarce choice, which depending on your preference, could be a good news or a bad one. A stylish cover greeted us, arousing appetite and heightening expectations. Flipping through the nearly minimalist menu did not avail us of much choices, but it did help make up our minds easier. Poulét only had a handful of main dishes available, mostly poultry related to reflect its namesake, while a scattering of side dishes, salads and sandwiches filled the rest of the pages. 

While Poulét Roti dominated as the restaurant's signature dish, and right fully so, the other French food which one should try, which we didn't dare to, was Escargot de Bourgogne, the famous Parisian dish with snails. And without a plethora of choices in French overwhelming our mind, we easily picked its aforementioned signature as well as another dish of poultry origins, one Braise de Canard, with an added French Onion Soup for starters to complement a totally French meal in Singapore.

And with all thumbs up in the air while scooping continuously into our mouths, we agreed that this was definitely a great place to dine in. An unbelievably tender duck thigh coupled with cranberry lend an irresistibly appetizing taste to Braise de Canard, while creamy sauce soaked into the signature dish's chicken thigh made every bite a heavenly sensation.

Iced Orangina (SGD4.80) - Poulet did not offer any unique drinks, so a chilling glass of orange-flavored beverage would have to do against a hot day.

French Onion Soup (SGD5.80) - we loved the Cheese Croutons, but indifferent towards the soup. Each crunch of crouton that soaked up the flavor of the soup was really heavenly.

If you are not sure of what to get for your lunch/dinner, just place your faith in their signature dish, Poulét Roti (half chicken) (SGD15.80). A slow roast after being brined in their own recipe and then served in a creamy Mushroom Chardonnay Sauce afforded a succulent drumstick that is delightfully sweet. Dip each slice off the thigh and savor the taste as every chew becomes a sensation to be cherished.

Less juicy that the signature dish, Braise de Canard (SGD15.80) is still a force to be reckoned with. Each strand of flesh parts easily from the bone after being braised to a tender finish, and the slightly sourly taste in the Sweet Wine Sauce would help your appetite throughout the meal. Crush the cranberries in your palate and feel the acidic taste and its sweet aftertaste.

Poulét no longer often enjoy the long queue visiting its restaurant in Raffles City, but it is far from empty as well. With affordable French cuisine in the menu, it would still see returning customers despite the relatively low number of choices there. And where else could you get affordable escargot in Singapore? Not many I would surmise...

Suitable for:             best for lunch or dinner, for couples, friends or a small family
Cost:                             not too wallet thinning for an occasional visit

Website:                    Official homepage
Contact:                     +65 - 6636 3119 (phone - Raffles City outlet)
Address:                     252 North Bridge Road #B1-65/66 Singapore 179103.

Operating hours:   Mon - Sun (11.30 a.m. - 10.00p.m.)
Directions:                Disembark at City Hall MRT and head towards the basement level of Raffles City Shopping Centre. Look for the directory to find the restaurant's location in the level.

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