Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mondays in Provence at db Bistro Moderne

The French sure know how to make bread!
Ah, db Bistro Moderne, one of our favourite places to meet with friends (we often shorten the name to just "db Bistro" or just "db"). Food's good, place is cosy, and not crazily crowded all the same time. The place has just enough Parisian chic and cachet, but isn't pretentious, so one can dine in casual comfort. Plus the breads are always so good here.

If you feel you've exhausted the menu, you'll be glad to know there are seasonal menus now rotating according to region. They kicked off with Alsace, and now are bringing us a taste of Provence which is perfect for summer. Later on, Lyon should prove interesting, as that's where Daniel Boulud himself is from.

So what can we expect from the "Mondays in Provence" menu (S$68++)? It's a three-course meal, with various options.

Executive Sous Chef Nicholas Tang giving us detailed descriptions of the dishes
Executive Sous Chef Nicholas Tang presented the dishes and explained to us in detail what we were eating. Note that some of these are smaller portions for tasting purposes, and you will get 2-3 times bigger servings at the actual dinner.

Provencal canapes
We start off with Provencal canapes, all of which were quite delightful. From left to right:
- Caramelized onion and rosemary tart (caramelized onions with garlic, rosemary and sherry vinegar topped in a tart case)
- Eggplant and goats cheese crostini (eggplant caviar with chopped basil, topped with creamed goat’s cheese that has been seasoned with espelette and chives)
- Tart Provencal crostini (Tomato compote, basil pesto and smoked mozzarella)


Soupe Au Pistou
Warm your stomach first with Soupe Au Pistou, a medley of coco beans, yellow and green zucchini, carrots, cabbage, fine beans, red onions and potato in a vegetable broth, garnished with basil pesto and oil. This is the kind of soup you immediately feel like recreating at home. It is so light and yet comforting.

Petits Farcis Provencaux
Or pick the Petits Farcis Provencaux - grilled vegetables stuffed with minced lamb and beef and topped with crispy breadcrumbs.  You get baby zucchini, baby eggplant, and red onions. The purple artichoke they threw in as an extra for us to try.

Salade Nicoise
You could also have the Salad Nicoise, which is the most substantial of the three options. Generous chunks of tuna confit plus seared tuna tataki adorn this platter of fresh butter head lettuce, olives, capsicum, artichokes, quail egg and anchovy-tied olives. We loved the little "tom berries" or berry-sized tomatoes. Salad Nicoise is from Nice, and is originally without mayo. This one is tossed with a light, lemony dressing. Read how French purists have been up in arms over how liberties have been taken with this salad.


Seafood Bouillabaisse
Possibly my favourite dish of the night - the super umami Bouillabaisse! This was so intense it tasted like a seafood bisque. The fish broth is made with crushed fish, saffron, Pernod and fish stock. Topping this silky rich soup is fennel, tomato confit, potatoes, John Dory fish, red snapper, scallop and tiger prawn. Served with toasted baguette and a bowl of saffron rouille made with roasted capsicum, egg yolks, parsley, potato, garlic and olive oil.

Ratatouille de Legumes
Ratatouille de Legumes - if you are a vegetarian, you could opt for this. I love how the crispy polenta cubes look so tempting perched atop the eggplant, capsicum, zucchini, red onions that have been stewed with tomatoes and basil. A baked quail’s egg lies in here somewhere too.

Ravioli a la daube d’agneau - lamb ravioli
Red meat lovers will want to choose this as their second course - Ravioli a la daube d’agneau, or Braised Lamb Ravioli with Vegetable Tian and Rosemary Jus. The stuffing is lamb shoulder that has been braised in red wine and lamb stock - incredibly intense and savoury!


Apricot Clafoutis with almond tuille, honey marinated apricots, bourbon foam and almond ice cream
Apricot Clafoutis with almond tuille, honey marinated apricots, bourbon foam and almond ice cream. On the website, there is a different dessert listed, the Tarte Tropezienne - a brioche brimming with light custard, fresh strawberries and cream cheese ice cream.

Mousse Au Chocolat Au Lait
The menu does list as a second choice the Mousse Au Chocolat Au Lait - milk chocolate mousse atop chocolate hazelnut biscuit, topped with praline gelee, and praline glacage (glaze). Cutting through all this richness is the cherry gel and scoop of praline-lemon ice-cream.

Pair the Provencal dinner menu with some wines (extra S$32)
Pair the Provencal dinner menu with some wines (extra S$32) from Chateau d'Ollieres.

There's even an iPhone/iPod charging dock inside the private dining room!
There's even an iPhone/iPod charging dock inside the private dining room!

Madeleines from db Bistro Moderne - still the best ever!
But as always, the best part about db is the final nibble - those mini madeleines make even the fullest stomachs ask for more. You just can't stop at one.

Many thanks to the Marina Bay Sands and db Bistro Moderne team for this culinary taste-trip to Provence.

B1-48, Galleria Level
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
(Across from the Theater)
Tel: +65 6688-8525
Open daily
Monday - Friday: Noon to 5PM
Weekend Brunch
Saturday - Sunday: 11AM - 5PM
Sunday & Monday: 5:30pm to 10PM
Tuesday - Saturday: 5:30PM - 11PM

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