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Eating out @ Au Petit Salut

Let's turn back time to Chinese New Year Eve (8th Feb), when both J and I had half the day off in view of the traditional Chinese reunion dinner that most Chinese families partake later that night. J and I took advantage of the opportunity to meet for lunch and decided on Au Petit Salut, where I had a business luncheon once a few months back and was raving about it because I thought the restaurant offered unpretentious French food at a value for money if you went with their lunch special menu. Really, a 3-course meal + choice of coffee or tea, will set one back for less than $26. Besides, the service was attentive and food was served within a decent time. I also like the option of dining al fresco, on the quaint porch with the many rows of bungalow houses adorning as backdrop.

So off we went to the quaint stretch of eateries at Holland Village, where Au Petit Salut is located. After our orders were placed, the bread basket was served. Nothing extraordinary, typical French white baguette slices, lightly toasted. I thought the butter could have been a bit more room-temperature as I watched J struggle to cut off a piece, and after much diffculty, managed to spread it rather unevenly onto his bread.

Now, moving onto the appetizers, there was a vast selection of 6 choices. After much pondering, I decided to go with the soup of day, which was the Prawn Consomm'e and J, Half Dozen Baked Burgundy Snails with Tomato & Garlic Butter.

The soup was rich in prawn flavour and there were a few bits of chopped-up prawns at the bottom of the bowl. In my opinion, no soup is soup when they are less than hot (aka lukewarm) so lucky for the restaurant, the consomm'e passed the "soup" definition, a good temperature just right below tongue-burning hot. But this dish resembled our Singaporean Hokkien Prawn Noodle Soup too closely, so much so I cannot associate it with French cuisin so I would not really care to order this in future again.

I did not try the snails but as the platter was placed on the table, there was no escaping the strong whiff of aromatic garlic butter. Peering into J's food, I noticed right at the bottom of each snail holder was a too-generous dose of tomato puree, to which each snail sat and then smothered with garlic butter and baked til bubbly (as you strain to see from the enlarged picture) and J happily soaked up the sauce with bread.

For the main course, I went with the Baked Cod Package, with Roasted Bell Peppers and Julienne of Zucchini. The cod was baked for only 4 minutes, according to the server, and resulting texture was a tender and succulent fillet of cod. The top of the parchment paper package was cut opened only when the dish was in front of me, so that was a novelty. Not easily seen from the picture, the roasted bell peppers served as the bed for the fillet and the julienned zucchini and a slice of roasted tomato sat atop. The zucchini was probably sauteed lightly with butter and olive oil and lightly seasoned with salt. As such, the fish absorbed the flavour of the zucchini quite a fair bit and did not require additional seasoning. My only complain would be that I got to experience the chef's generosity in salting the roasted bell peppers and tomato.

I had a chance to try J's main course (sorry for the bad picture), which was the catch of the day, Japanese Yellowtail, with Fennel and Orange Creme Sauce. Unfortunately, this dish was the let-down of the entire meal. The yellowtail is a firm white-fleshed fish, and it was lightly pan-fried in this dish, such that it remained moist. Alas, sans the freshness of each of the ingredients, combination of all failed to blend together. The sauce was rather sweet and failed to compliment the fennel or the fish. As a result, the overall taste was slightly off-putting. J and I decided that e that lunch specials are usually a time for the chef to test new creations and we concurred that this dish was an experiment gone wrong. While we were disappointed, we also hope it does make it to the permanent menu.

Oh well, after that disappointing main course, we looked forward to dessert! During my last visit, I had a wonderful strawberry shortcake, which was light and refreshing. But I had also spied on a neighbour's order of souffle, which looked amazingly good, high and mighty, and had been thinking of it ever since. So when J and I agreed on Au Petit Salut for lunch that day, I mentally made a note to order the souffle this time. But one just can't have cake and eat it too, for the souffle of the day was coconut! Do I care for coconut? NO! :(

Finally, I chose to go with Choux Buns filled with Vanilla Ice Cream in Warm Chocolate Sauce, as I did not wish to be disappointed again because I figured it would be rather difficult to mess up good ice cream, chocolate sauce and choux pastry. I was right :). The dessert came out looking good. Each bun was a good portion and remained slightly crispy. It went well with the rich and smooth vanilla ice cream and the addition of sliced toasted almonds and chocolate sauce only added on to the decadent feeling when combined together with a bit of pastry and ice cream. Despite looking rich, the dessert was surprisingly light and wonderful!

J decided to go with the Apricot and Chocolate Mousse on a Chocolate Cake Base, with Rich Chocolate Ice Cream, which looked just ordinary on the platter. I thought the separation of the 3 parts, ice cream, mousse cake and blueberries, would be better off being physically closer. Maybe it is because the mousse was not as cold as I would have preferred. To have to scoop up first the blueberries, then a bit of the cake and a bit of chocolate ice cream, seemed rather troublesome and not the best idea when the ice cream was already starting to melt fast and furious. Personally, I also did not like the combination of chocolate ice cream with the blueberries. But J thought it was all right.

Overall, Au Petit Salut still offers a good ambience, good service and a good lunch special. Would I pay dinner prices? Probably not anytime soon. I seriously hope the chef would read this: make use of your staff as taste-testers first, before offering your new creations on the menu.

But I love Holland Village so I'll be around..



ulterior here... i see we're in the "same family" and have similar sensibilities of the palate. glad to have found your delicious site. love the pictures and thoughts.

i'm new to the blogging world, so thanks for the inspiration. you seem to know a lot about chinese cuisine - or lately chinese new year has inspired you. either way, it's great.

come visit my humble start-up if/when you get a chance.

best regards.
LiquidShaDow said…
I was there last Wednesday night while waiting for my dinner companions for Original Sin. T

The waitress was eager to strike conversation which led to her quoting the ingredients off the steak tartare off her head. Me and my companion managed to speak to the chef and it seems that there were some agreeable opinions regarding the availability of Rose in Singapore. Well, the place looks nice and I thought it might be somewhere where I can get real french food. After reading your blog, I'm not sure I'm still so willing to part with dinner prices.

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