Say Central Mall and 99% of you will probably think of the shopping centre at Clarke Quay. No no. I say Central Mall, not The Central. Before The French Kitchen, I belong to that 99% too. Now, I’m in that 1% =) Just google Central Mall and you will probably be amazed such a mall exists in Singapore.
The exterior of The French Kitchen looks so simple that we nearly missed it. It’s very small, a little old, and definitely time for a new set of cutlery! I had mine changed twice cuz it’s almost psychologically impossible for me to eat with spoons that’s permanently stained with God-knows-what.
We had the 3 course set lunch ($36++), just in case you are wondering.
I was delighted by the salmon rilettes, a most delicious salmon spread that I happily ate on its own. Bread (served cold, tsk tsk) is totally secondary here.
Complimentary amuse bouche from the chef: cod croquette with a shooter of artichoke soup (akin to mushroom soup) and homemade brioche (I’ve had better ones before). Love the small fried ball! No potato in sight, just pure cod filling.
My lobster bisque was power-packed with flavour from the get-go. Smooth, not too creamy or thick, and so highly seasoned that it did get too salty after awhile. Rivals the one I tried at Private Affairs and I still can’t decide which one I like more. Tiger prawn beignet was fresh with just a thin coating of batter; texture of leek custard was a cross between a mousse and jelly.
One big fat juicy gratinated scallop with spinach and béchamel sauce on a half shell. This was very… cheesy.
Besides the pan seared cod, there’s bouchot mussel, potato, artichoke puree, braised cabbage, jus emulsion and a most perplexing pork belly all on one plate. Definitely too many things going on at the same time.
And what’s with the pork belly (not on the menu description)? Almost as if it’s a case of “hey, I have some extra pork belly lying around so why don’t I throw some in as well?” Didn’t. Work. Sometimes, less is more.
The classic duck leg confit has won many fans over to TFK so I guess it must be pretty good. Truffled mash potatoes and marinated cherries on the side.
The sabayon with pear marmalade is interesting cuz it’s my very first French sabayon. It’s custard-like and I simply think of it as a whipped mixture of egg yolks, sugar and wine. In this case, TFK uses a generous amount of champagne which creates a distinct aftertaste so thumbs up for that. Plus, the forest berry ice cream is my kind of ice cream! Very light and smooth with no sugar overkill.
I like the milk chocolate tart just slightly less than the sabayon, the latter winning by a mere inch cuz of the novelty factor. But hey, it’s chocolate so what’s not to like? A crumbly base of buttery sable breton with good quality chocolate filling that’s rich and ganache-like, topped with caramel ice cream. I could feel the release of endorphins in my system, nice.
It’s interesting that service was so extreme. One waiter was extremely attentive and professional, always with a smile on his face, while another was so snotty that I was afraid that he would bump into our table accidentally, what with his nose lifted so high up in the air.
I won’t say I love The French Kitchen (I don’t) like I did Otto but lunch was still pleasant enough to make me a semi-fan. I think.