[SG] Saveur

Sunday, July 01, 2012

French cuisine for the masses, Saveur definitely lived up to its name. I was quite skeptical initially, thinking it's just another fad cafe without much focus on the food since french cuisine and masses were two that didn't seem to go along very well. Gosh, was I impressed after a visit to their Purvis Street branch!

A piece of advice, don't go on a super empty stomach unless you're going very early at about 5.30pm, before the place opens. We went at about 7ish and had to wait for about an hour still, and even at about 8plus, there was still quite a long queue outside!

Outside Saveur at about 8.15pm

A very cosy space inside, though a little cramped. Good for gatherings, though you must be prepared to lip-read a little as the background noise isn't too good for conversations. 

Great seat right beside the part-preparation space, where we get to see some chefs in action!

Finally getting our hands on the menu and here comes our indulgent meal! 

Crispy Pork Belly with Poached Egg and Diced Vegetables ($10.90) 

The first dish up, having very high expectations especially since we've queued for more than an hour. It didn't fail my expectations at all! The poached egg was very well done, with golden egg yolk running out after giving it a prick and it blended very well with the beans underneath. The beans tasted very familiar, like it's been soaked in braised meat stew. Coming to the highlight of the dish, gosh, the pork belly was indeed very well done! The skin was so heavenly, crispy in every single bite, and it was roasted to the perfect level where there wasn't a bitter aftertaste and the 'jelat' feeling after eating it. The meat was also very well-cooked, perhaps over slow fire, where the juices were locked in and it remained very tender. I must say, I was very impressed by this dish alone!   

Nom Factor: 8.5/10

Confit of Duck with Orange Segments and Saute Shitake ($8.90)

This is my favourite dish so far! A first taste of the mash just got me so addicted that I almost forgot about the duck! The mash was very finely blended, melting in your mouth almost immediately and it was very well mixed with a slight salted flavour that it was good on its own, without any gravy. The duck was impressively well done, crispy on the outside after being slightly pan-fried I suppose and the insides were extremely tender! Not a fan of duck meat usually, I was won over by how well this dish was done, with very juicy and tender meat that doesn't stick into the gaps of your teeth at all (unlike the way duck meat usually does). 

For the lazy eaters, don't worry, it's done so well that the meat is easily dislodged from the bones. Great news for mushroom lovers, don't underestimate the power of that small piece of Shitake. It's so fresh and well cooked that the flavour of every piece is locked in and bursts in your mouth! Overwhelming mushroom taste, I would say! Ohyes, don't forget about that piece of orange, it's really amazing. Eat it together with the duck and mash, it gives a refreshing burst of flavours and texture! A very good combination that I strongly recommend!

Nom Factor: 9.0/10 

Beef Bourguignon with Root Vegetables and Mixed Greens ($13.90)

I was rather disappointed with this actually. Perhaps it was after two very impressive dishes that I had very high expectations already. The beef was done well, very tender and well-marinated. However, I didn't exactly like the parts of the beef used for the dish. It felt like the lousier portions that were minced together but that's just my preference for the chunkier beef parts. Also, I'd expected at least a little taste of wine for the traditional Beef Burguignon but there were no traces of that at all. An okay dish if you don't expect much, though I felt that it paled in comparison with the two dishes served prior. 

Nom Factor: 7.0/10    

Potato Gratin that comes along with the Beef

Well, I'm a potato lover so this really sat well with me! Abit too salty initially but it gets you hooked. With well chosen potatoes used, it didn't have a tinge of the raw taste like some do even after cooking.. Thinly sliced and boiled to the right level, not too mushy nor too hard, it was greatly complemented by the thin crispy layer on top.

Nom Factor: 7.5/10

Angel Hair Pasta with Tiger Prawn and Lumpfish Caviar ($6.90)

The very first thing that came to our mind was, where's the tiger prawn? Expecting the ones at the top to be a prelude to what we were going to find hidden inside the pasta, it was a downer to find that well, that's really it. It wasn't nothing like tiger prawns, in fact it tasted very dull and dead, an indicator of the freshness. Some bits were slightly more succulent but still disappointing.

The Angel Hair Pasta reminded me the likes of vermicelli or 'mee sua' tossed in olive oil. Expecting it to be al dente, it was a little overcooked, losing out the springy taste of pasta. I'm not an expert on caviar, just thought that it complemented the taste of the dish rather well. The price is probably worthwhile giving it a shot but not exactly a recommended dish!

Nom Factor: 6.5/10 

Textures of Citrus ($6.90)

A rather simple plate of dessert, I absolutely loved the combination! Made of different citrus flavours - a berries jelly, lime crushed ice, grapefruit, some odd flavoured jam and crushed wafers. Combining all these together, it was a very refreshing burst of flavours after several strong flavoured dishes! Indeed, the different textures made it surprising with every mouthful and every flavour of citrus was very well complemented. After a few mouthfuls, we decided to mix everything on the elevated side of the plate into the main 'pothole', making it seem like 'yusheng'. A very interesting dish with great refreshing combination!   

Nom Factor: 8.5/10

Chocolate and Hazelnuts ($7.90)

Two awesome flavours together, how can I ever resist? A smooth paste of chocolate and hazelnut, it tasted somewhat like nutella but a less viscous version. Surprised with raspberries that were picked to add to the sweetness and a tinge of sour-ness, it was a great complemented with a different texture. Topped with coconut bits and nuts, it was a very interesting mix. Best of all, those are not chocolate wafers. A flake of very finely grinded crunchy bits (probably biscuits or digestives, it was too finely done that I couldn't really tell the ingredients used) coated with a layer of chocolate. Expecting it to break off into smaller parts like wafers, it melted in my hands almost immediately. A mouthful of everything was the absolute heavenly experience, with the plethora of textures and flavours bursting in your mouth. Take time to savour this dish, I was surprised by how it wasn't 'jelat' at all, like how I am usually sick of chocolate dishes. 

Nom Factor: 9.0/10 

The mixing bowl contained pistachio paste for its Pistachio Panna Cotta and the very friendly chef gave us a little just for sampling. 

I was rather impressed by how flavourful it was and usually the one avoiding pistachio, I actually wanted to try the dessert! Such is the benefit of sitting right next to the preparation area, you get to see real action going on and talk to them! It's a very homely feel and the chefs are just very keen to share about their work, so much that you can see their passion when they speak! I think that should be the soul of every food places, with chefs who believe in creating the total dining experience. 

Closed by the time we left, about 10pm or so, and it's still full house. The queues were still ongoing at about 9plus, that's how popular it is!

A place which I will definitely go back, to try the other dishes that I have yet to. Great food at affordable prices, I think it's worth a visit for sure! Best of all, I like how the place is continuously improving to suit its customers' taste buds. So if you've had a not-as-good tasting experience, perhaps pop by sometime later and give it another shot. 

Overall Nom Factor: 8.5/10
5 Purvis Street #01-04
Singapore 188584

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