Leaving Restaurant Absinthe, one of the best French restaurants in Singapore while he was there, Chef Francois Mermilliod joined Prive Group to start Bar A Thym, which is a play on the French word baratin, meaning “sweet talk”. (Thym of course refers to the herb thyme, but Bar A Thym is not a bar.)
That’s dill, not thyme!
Bar A Thym takes over the space of Wolf Restaurant (some of the decorations remain), which was also owned by Prive Group. The concept here is French omakase, leaving the selection to the Chef, and focuses on seasonal seafood. Lunch omakase starts from $60, dinner from $80. A 3-course lunch at $38. We were there for lunch.
In general, the food is delicious but overly salted. The tuna tartare (above), as starter, is too salty but when topped on the thin crispy tuile, is nicely balanced out by the carb. The warm smoked salmon salad (below) is better: the snow pea leaves give a crunch and a peppery, almost anise-like flavor as the sweetness of shallot confit equipoises the saltiness. I felt clean and refreshed eating it.
Both mains are excellent but the red drum fish (below) ends up being too salty from the salty-bitter olive tapenade. But, like the tuna tartare, the dish works well as a whole, not in parts, as the fregola, a small corn-sized pasta from semolina, padded the fish. More Italian than French.
The other main, wagyu beef cheek, a French classic, is Mermilliod’s specialty since his Absinthe days, and is perfect all ways: fork-tender–I didn’t even use a knife–flavorful, and not gamy.
French are known for their elegant and elaborated desserts, but Bar A Thym keeps it simple. The most popular dessert, vanilla religieuse, made from two choux, is pretty but plain tasting, compared to the more complex chocolate eclair. The eclair is both crunchy and soft, sweet, bitter, with a tinge of salt.
On the whole, Bar a Thym is a solid, sturdy, steady restaurant that toes the line. It is well-rounded in all areas: ambience (French pop songs); eclectic decor (different from the blah industrial chic); service (polite, knowledgable, friendly but not obsequious); and food (hearty and satisfying, although hardly surprising). We paid $90 for two.
Bar a Thym
18 Gemmill Lane, Singapore 069255
T: +65 6557 2224
M-F 12pm-3pm, M-Sat 6pm-10.30pm, closed Sun
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.