[SG] Au Petit Salut | contemporary French cuisine at affordable prices

Monday, January 05, 2015

With both indoor and outdoor seating at its not-so-new current location at Harding Road (Dempsey area), Au Petit Salut remains the flagship restaurant of The Salut Group. Having undergone refurbishment couple of years back, Chef Paul Longworth infuses classic French culinary skills with a modern flair, presenting a contemporary cuisine for his guests.

Offering 3-course set lunches from S$38/++, we thought it would be a worthy place for the three authors behind make your calories count to take a retreat over the weekend to this quiet corner of the city! Let the eating begin!

Like most French and Italian restaurants, it is almost customary to serve the guests some warm rolls while they await the service of the first course unless we are talking about talking amuse bouche. The fresh and warm mini ciabatta was individually served to everyone at the dining table together with some rich butter that melted almost instantaneously upon spreading it across the warm rolls. While most might be accustomed to being served a basket of various rolls (at least for us), the service staff returns to check if we wanted another fresh roll before presenting the next course of the meal.

Starter | Salmon trout tartare, fresh orange segments and pink peppercorn

One of my favourite starters would always be a tartare of some sort and the salmon was too appealing to slip by. Elegantly presented, the captivating summer colours of the dish certainly lifted the mood (and appetite), shadowed by the gloomy weather outdoors. The fresh orange segments added a refreshing coat of acidity to dress the tartare, titillating our taste buds for the next course.


Starter | Homemade pork rillettes, herb jelly & toast


Falling under the same genre as pate, the shredded pork rillette was salted before being cooked slowly in fat to result in its tender form. The cooled and coagulated fat was harnessed for its flavours and infused by the herb jelly which added texture and hint of flavours to the cold dish. Served with warm slices of fresh toast, it would please the palate of most.


Starter | Baked Burgundy snails, tomato fondue and herb garlic butter

Distinguished by the aroma of the herb garlic butter, the succulent baked Burgundy snails (also known as escargots) made the dish an easy favourite. Depending on one's preference for starter, this dish certainly weighs on the savoury end.


Main | Braised beef cheek in red wine sauce (additional S$12/-)

Immersed in a brown sauce with red wine reduction, this Special of the Day (which was not available on the menu) had hits and misses to the dish. While the melt-in-your-mouth tender soft beef cheeks was something to desire for, the sauce lacked depth to harmonise the dish completely. In particular, the red wine sauce came across as rather lacklustre, failing to impart bolder influence of flavours.


Main | Oven baked Snapper with gratin of zucchini and Nicoise vinaigrette

A taste of the ocean is almost always a defining moment for haute cuisine and this was no exception. While potatoes make common companions to a fish dish, we thought it was ingenious of the chef to serve a gratin of zucchini to jazz up the dish. What let the dish down were two key elements, the slightly overcooked fish and the Nicoise vinaigrette which was excessively acidic to the point where we unanimously felt that it ruined the dish. The young aged vinegar caused an untowardly sharp bite that made me fetch for a glass of water to wash it down. While the cooking might have tarnished the quality Snapper used, the vinaigrette pairing upset the overall balance to the dish.


Main | 150 days grainfed Bavette, shallots and garlic confit, Pommes Mousseline

While bavette might seem a rather confusing term for some, it is actually the flank steak, a cut from the abdominal muscles of the cow. It is a common cut in Chinese cooking used for stir-fry due to its relatively long and flat cut. It was cooked perfectly to medium rare as requested and there was just the right amount of fat to make it a juicy bite.


Dessert | Homemade lemon tart with lychee sorbet

The lemon tart had a few good ticks on our check list of 'What makes a good lemon tart', starting from its firm and solid crust. While we would have preferred slightly more tang to the lemon curd, the balance in flavours was spot-on with sweetness from the lychee sorbet.


Dessert | 'Nougat Glace', a mixed berry compote and strawberry sorbet


Another hit on our demanding palate is this nougat dessert which promises a balance in flavours with the appropriate level of sweetness. Sitting atop some crumble, we enjoyed the variation in textures which made it calorie-worthy!


Dessert | 'Frozen Cappucino', coffee & vanilla ice cream, Illy espresso, roasted hazelnut & Chantilly

Being a coffee-lover, I thought Frozen Cappuccino would be an interesting dessert to pair with my Illy brew. Admittedly, I had something else in mind for a frozen coffee desert but it came across somewhat different. Largely resembling an icy cappuccino drink, the calorie-conscious me was overwhelmed by the amount of Chantilly cream in the serving. Overall, I thought it was quite pedestrian to say the least though the crunch from the roasted hazelnut compensated.

Inclusive in the set lunch was a choice of coffee or tea and served alongside the dessert, we thought it concluded our meal just right, albeit some hits and misses.


Mocktail | S$12/++ (ongoing promotion of one-for-one)


cy trying out the new Nikon D810! 


With a choice of indoor and outdoor seating, this private enclave also has its own compounds, making parking a breeze. Even if you are travelling there by public transport, the nearest bus-stop is no more than a five minutes walk away. With a cosy and sophisticated interior, it would make a perfect spot for romantic dates or even a reunion meal with your family. The only downside would be if the restaurant gets crowded, it could become quite noisy as the low ceiling and enclosed environment keep conversations reverberated.

P.S. Photos were taken with Nikon D810, with much thanks to Nikon Singapore! 

Overall verdict: 7.0/10

Au Petit Salut
40C Harding Road
Singapore 249548
Tel: (+65) 64751976

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