Balzac Brasserie: A Casual French Affair
This French restaurant, opened in 2012 at the Rendezvous Gallery, has recently moved to the Fort Canning Art Centre. Sharing the same name as the famous French novelist and playwright, Balzac, this restaurant serves traditional classic French cuisine.
But, finding the restaurant at its new location is a challenge. I could not find a lot at the public car park and ended up parking at the Hotel Fort Canning. Along the way, I had to ask people for directions and finally found the restaurant, which is located at the basement of the Singapore Pinacotheque De Paris.
The ambience is cosy, yet casual with dark brown wooden tables. For those who like a glass of wine to go with their meals, this restaurant has a well-curated wine list.
I was pleasantly surprised that a basket of warm bread with butter was served, and the amuse bouche arrived just after. The amuse bouche was a simple piece of toast with braised shredded cabbage and bacon toppings – accompanied by a small cup of hot cauliflower veloute which was creamy and made a good impression as a starter.
St. Jacques was an interesting appetiser that came with thin slices of raw, wild caught Hokkaido scallop with home-made Tarama and capers. The toasted artisanal summer truffle brioche can be eaten separately or dipped with gravy. A small bowl of salad can be eaten on its own or mixed with the scallops.
Joue De Boeuf or braised wagyu beef cheek a La Cuillere with truffled mashed potatoes was the restaurant’s signature dish. The beef cheeks were braised to a level of supreme tenderness, and the meat just crumbled when we tried to fork it. It didn’t come as much of a surprise as the meat had been braised for 48 hours. The beef cheeks were served with bordelaise sauce which was rich and accentuated the texture and flavour of this delightful dish.
Another signature item was the Canard or crispy duck leg confit served with rattes potatoes and orange duck jus. Although the skin was crispy on the outside, the meat was a tad too dry. However, the orange sauce did lend a tangy touch to the meat.
It was interesting to note that a French restaurant serves pasta – and they make good Agnolotti with spinach, vieux comte, and mixed herbs. The cream sauce held the dish together, and each bite was absolutely delicious.
Brioche Perdu as a dessert is pan fried brioche with poached pear, light mascarpone, red fruit coulis and honey mango sorbet. The dish tasted like French toast eaten with the poached pears, and conceptually, it did not quite gel. The second dessert, Moelleux, which is Balzac’s chocolate fondant gateau, came with Tahitian vanilla ice cream. Served warm, the chocolate sauce oozed out from the gateau once you break it apart. It was decadent, without being too overpoweringly sweet.
Prices at this new outlet have gone up, but the wait staff are friendly and efficient which is a rarity with such a lean outfit. All in all, it’s still makes a great casual French affair.
5 Cox Terrace
#B1-08, Fort Canning Arts Centre
Opening Hours (Tuesday to Sunday, Closed on Mondays): Lunch – 12.00 pm till 2.30 pm, Dinner – 6.00 pm till 10.00 pm