So France, so good
For a long time, I thought So France was just a well-stocked French grocery store. It took walking in deeper to discover the bistro that hides behind.
It takes willpower to ignore the many items on the shelves, but march on and you will be rewarded.
The dining area is a bright space, with an alfresco terrasse for those who prefer to be outside.
The menu consists of French bistro dishes, curated by consulting chef Frederic Coiffe, that would not be out of place at Montmartre.
Fans of duck will also be happy because there are many duck dishes to choose from. My pick is the excellent Confit de Canard, or duck confit ($32).
I don't usually like it because the duck is tough, but this version boasts tender, aromatic, tasty meat. It is served with subtly sweet Grenaille potatoes and is delightful to eat.
It is a great one-dish meal if you are in a hurry or in the mood for something good. But do make sure to try it at least once.
Also delicious was the Oeufs Meurette ($20), featuring poached eggs in a homemade red wine sauce, with lardons and pearl onions on sourdough bread.
The creaminess of the yolk with the fullness of the red wine makes this compelling.
However, the few starters we had were a mixed bag.
The one I liked most was the Salade Landaise ($24) with cured duck gizzards, foie gras, cured duck breast and greens.
I enjoyed the mix of textures and flavours, and the cured items were standouts.
The Scallops Carpaccio ($24) was refreshing and the Hokkaido scallops were very fresh, but the dish was not outstanding.
Also common was Salade Nicoise (from $18), which we have seen many versions of, with different price points.
Here, the pan-seared tuna sits on a bed of greens and anchovies, with a Balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing. It is very simple but effective.
And while, like the scallops, it may not be outstanding, it is a competent version that is ultimately satisfying.
Make sure you add mash potatoes ($8) to any of your orders because it is a bowl of luxury. The comforting buttery mash should be a meal in itself.
I consider the mash at the defunct Joel Robuchon Restaurant still unmatched, but the version here is nearly an equal.
So France is for those who are not bothered with the fussiness of formal French cuisine.
Its hearty, earthy menu reminds me of the restaurants I enjoy most when I am in Paris, places where I leave with my belly filled and most of my euros intact, where you get good eats without the attitude.
Duo Galleria #01-51/56, Tel: 6909-6449
Monday to Thursday 8am to 9pm, Friday 8am to 10pm, Saturday 9am to 9pm and Sunday 9am to 6pm