How does a restaurant stand out from amongst the crowd? One way, as UNA at One Rochester has, is to open a European restaurant that serves up dishes from 3 cuisines – French, Italian or Spanish. Whether it’s confusion or a show of creativity, that’s ultimately for the diner to decide. My take? I’m always game for choice!
To put things short, UNA Tapas Bar is the reincarnation of the old One Rochester. What has changed is its dining concept (gone with the communal dining, in with the small plates). Many restaurants have indeed gone down this path and I wonder, is the concept of small plates a phase in the development of Singapore’s culinary experience or one that is here to stay perpetually.
Back on the French theme recently, one of the better mid-priced French meals that I’ve had recently was at Le Bistrot du Sommelier. Throw away the misconception that you have about French restaurants (which in no small part have come from the rise of fine dining restaurants in previous years) that French dining is all about multi-course meals, small portion sizes and ridiculous prices. Helmed by co-owner, Chef Patrick Heuberger, the restaurant serves up hearty, classic French dishes at affordable restaurant prices (and with portion sizes to boot).
Hot on the heels of my last review of another French restaurant (Le Saint Julien) in Singapore comes yet-another pictorial of one of my favourite restaurants, Saint Pierre. If you’ve missed out on my previous reviews, here are some of them – ONE, TWO, THREE and FOUR. A small disclaimer would be that the Saint Pierre has gone through a few chef changes over the years, and so has the menu (and prices).
If food is not the attraction, then the service is. I was here a few days after my birthday and upon being seated, the assistant manager came around to my table and wished me a happy birthday. It was a small, but really thoughtful gesture. The wonders of Facebook, I’d say.
It’s not running easy a food-and-beverage establishment anywhere, much less, in a scene with stiff competition; I read with much disappointment that Le Saint Julien will be serving her last diner come January 2013. (See ST article) Let’s face it, Singaporeans want a whiff of fresh air every now and then, especially when old is good. Add that to rising operating costs and difficulty in hiring, I wasn’t quite surprised when this was announced in the papers recently.
Le Saint Julien is somewhat of a stalwart in the French fine dining scene here in Singapore, being one of the few who started up way before big overseas names (a.k.a. celebrity chefs) established outposts here. Other home-grown names that fall within the same peer group include, Les Amis and Emmanuel Stroobant’s Saint Pierre. The restaurant’s own website lists, Raffles Grill, Harbour Grill and Les Amis as its competitors when Chef Julien Bompard left Raffles Hotel, where he was Deputy Executive Chef, first started Le Saint Julien in 2003.