Radio DJ Darren Wee loves French and Japanese cuisine, so when he opens Babette, a casual, unpretentious dining joint, every dish has both French and Japanese elements. All sauces are made in-house, and ingredients are delivered freshly every 2-3 days. That’s sincerity for you.
For snacks as starters, I’d recommend the roasted avocado ($12), diced and tossed with aburi salmon and tomato; and bitter charred cauliflower ($8) drenched in creamy, tangy yuzu veloute, topped with ginger confit, giving some heat and complex flavors to the dish. But if you want bar snacks to go with drinks, fo’ sho’ go for the super addictive bacon tempura ($10), a crispy crust contrasting with soft, meaty bacon. Simple but effective. Cinemas should sell this, I can imagine eating this while watching movies.
Wash the snacks down with cocktails. The Lorens ($16) is whiskey with sour plum, very delicious, and Babette ($16), a refreshing, tangy but not sour mix of passionfruit, lemon, mint and gin. The cocktails were tasty, but a little thrifty on alcohol.
The mains consist mostly of donburi (meat over plain Japanese Niigata rice, instead of vinegary rice), using French cooking techniques (sous vide) with Japanese ingredients. Will’s favorite was steak and foie gras donburi ($28, above), bestseller of the restaurant. The grass-fed Australian sirloin steak was lovely: cooked medium-rare with the surface charred, and insides pink, tingling with pepper. But the foie gras had a smell that I couldn’t appreciate. My favorite was duck confit donburi ($28) drizzled with Babette’s special sauce, like an atas duck rice. The Babette chirashi donburi ($19, below), assorted diced raw seafood, was so-so.
On a low-carb diet? Want something lighter? Will loved the grilled octopus salad ($17, below). The sous vide Mediterranean octopus was braised in Japanese sauce, giving it a surprisingly tender bite. The sous vide confit salmon soba ($17) was tangy, and light. Do you know soba is high in proteins?
Matcha lava cake ($12), made a la minute, is a must order. My advice: Eat one on your own, don’t share! The green tea came on strongly, and it was perfect with vanilla ice cream with premium azuki red beans. A pity the oven has space only to churn out one at a time, so you may have to wait on a crowded night. But I guarantee it’s worth your patience.
Inexpensive comfort food with a Japanese and French twist in a comfortable setting–what’s there to hiam? When I got home, I quickly whatsapp-ed my foodie friends that we MUST come here for our next outing.
165 Tyrwhitt Road, #01-03 Parc Sovereign Hotel, Singapore 207569
T: 6341 7727
Rating: 3.350/5 stars
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.
ps: Thanks Jean and Darren for the invite.