Monday, June 13, 2011

Saveur, East Coast Road

Edit : Saveur has moved to Purvis Street!

Nestled inside a small coffeeshop along East Coast Road (same side as Awfully Chocolate) - more famously known for tau kwa pau - is a new stall offering cheap French fare. Upon spotting this on HGW I knew we had to make the trip and take a chance with impossible parking to try this!

Parking's always a bia*ch at this area!

It's sort of tucked away towards the back next to a Filipino food stall. Was quite strange seating in a kopitiam, awaiting Duck Confit, Chicken Roulade and Angel Hair Pasta with glasses of iced liang teh, and noisy intersection traffic in the background.

We awaited alright. And waited. And then noticed a table of diners next to us who were also waiting (they shortly ordered har cheong kai and noodles from the Chinese stall, presumably to fend off protesting tummies). After about 20-30 minutes (I had somewhat reluctantly maintained that we should not taint our palettes with other miscellaneous nibbles!), we were told that our dishes were "coming now".

I was so hungry I was about to keel over - I gave in and decided to order some tau kwar pau first but was promptly told they were sold out - it was pushing 830pm and I was HUNGRY.

Let's just say it took another eternity 10 minutes before an apologetic lady brought our mains..

I had the duck confit ($8.90) - seriously, $9 for duck confit? Well time to dive in!

A semi-regular sized duck leg over a bed of extremely mushy mashed potatoes, citrus and some mushrooms. The mushrooms were alright, the mashed potatoes were ultra creamy which was good, and I detected a hint of sweet potato inside (?). Might be hallucinating from hunger but still ...

The duck itself was not too shabby. It is a smaller portion, but for the price I wasn't about to complain about portion size, but the meat wasn't tender enough IMO and the outside was a tad dry - which shouldn't be the case since duck confit is all about duck fat! I also felt that the duck hasn't been cured well / long enough, and so tasted a little closer to normal roast duck than duck confit.

Chicken Roulade ($8.90) was meant to have foie gras stuffing and crispy outer skin. Both, sadly, were unapparent in this dish. Granted, I should align my expectations to the price - but I was expecting a little bit more character out of this. How about a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper? Or a bit more colour?

What I did like though was the rice. It's just regular ole rice bathed in a kind of mushroom-creamy sauce, with just the tiniest hint of what I guess would be herbs. But it had more flavour and moisture than the chicken. Overall for me this was an 'okaaay' dish (said with a slight scrunching-up of the nose)

I felt the chicken roulade was exceedingly normal!

Now our starter arrived just right after our mains, but no complains here because this Angel Hair Pasta with Kombu ($3) was out of this world! In the best way possible I mean! Seriously this was good sh*t, and *almost* made all the waiting worth it. Such a pity though this bowl only contained like 4 forkfuls. Later when we chatted with the two chefs, we suggested making this a main course by itself - this pasta is that good!

Oh now this is some serious shit - this small pasta portion was heavenly. The thin angel hair pasta perfectly al dente, tossed in just enough (assumably) olive oil with konbu and dried shrimp. Fwa, so simple yet the flavours came out really really strong, the konbu wasn't as much the star as the dried shrimp was, giving it that extra chewy fragrance. If I'm paying $3 for this amount, I would pay $18 for 6 times this amount no doubt about it!!!

I guess the place does serve decent food, though it isn't much more a French restaurant than a restaurant that uses French recipes. The mains were nothing to write home about, the angel hair pasta was heavenlyyyy, but they need some serious work on their service. Granted they're very newly opened (one month), and the personal sincere apologies by the (very very young) chefs was a good gesture.

Still - basic service here - if food's gonna take 40 minutes to arrive, please let us know?!?! And if food's gonna take another 5 - 10 minutes to arrive, please don't say it's coming 'now'. Oh and one more thing, the foie gras ice cream wasn't on the menu yet, and yet was marketed as one of their specialties - disappointed!!!

HGW Link:
Rating (out of 4):


  1. Hey foodie blogger, happen to be looking for cheap french food, and happen stumble across your comments, for a foodie you should know quite about food, but from the photo you took, the duck meat doesn't look cured to me at all, i think that is either sous vide or braised:) just thought you should know:)

  2. yes i was recently enlightened to the difference between sous vide and cured, this was indeed sous vide style - thanks for the tip!


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