Tag Archives: Paris

Poulét

A French casual dining restaurant, Poulét’s been around for quite awhile, probably a year or so, and has several outlets across the island. Dishing up typically classical French dishes in a contemporary bistro, it really seems as if Poulét brought a little of Paris to Singapore. Yet despite my love for European and French food, I haven’t visited them till recently. After my long stay in France I wasn’t sure Poulét would come close to anything I’ve had there.

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French Onion Soup (S$5.80++)

Lightly sweetened, this is one of the better French Onion soups I’ve had thus far. It’s definitely more savoury than sweet, though not savoury enough. The French Onion soups I tasted in France were all extremely savoury, with a rich beef stock and topping of melted gruyere. The Singaporean counterparts though seem to all be really really sweet. Poulét serves a decent soup; but nothing more.

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Sauté Wild Mushrooms (S$7.80++)

As usual the wonderfully oozy egg is the center of attention. Especially in this case where the liquid yolk is encased in such a solid and smooth white exterior. The shrooms themselves were simple and plain, nothing outstanding.

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Escargot de Bourgogne (S$8.00++)

Poulét’s escargot’s are slighlty different from the usual escargots, due to the addition of tomato puree. Salty parmesan, fragrant garlic and herbs, rounded off with slightly tart tomato puree – a wonderful composition of flavours. Just a little more seasoning and c’est bien. It’s not the best I’ve had, but it comes close.

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Half Poulét Roti(S$15.80++)

“Poulét” meaning chicken, it isn’t surprising for roasted chicken to be crux of their menu; or one of their better dishes. Tender and succulent, the chicken is roasted to perfection, with the skin being slightly sweet. The Chardonnay sauce is a surprisingly delicious addition, balancing out the drier chicken bits. I don’t usually like cream sauce, but I thought this is pretty yummy. My only request would be to have more spinach.

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Oxtail de Bourguignon (S$15.80++)

The server described this to be one of their bestsellers. Sadly it was an utter disappointment. While they nailed the tenderness of the meat, the sauce was executed horribly. It was bland, diluted, and lacked the richness that defines a bourguignon. Besides the tender meat the entire dish fell flat.

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Banana Bread Pudding (S$6.80++)

We originally ordered the Panna Cotta, just to find out it’s no longer on their menu. But wait, they serve Creme Brulee which is also not on the menu. Hmm I don’t really understand how that works. Anyhow we ended up with this Banana Bread Pudding which wasn’t all too bad. The bread pudding itself was a tad too custardy. The ice cream was not too impressive either. However the banana addition was surprisingly pleasant. The banana bits weren’t overwhelming, and was just enough to add a tinge of ‘banana’.

I’m still not convinced that Singapore can make wonderfully delicious, affordable tasting French food comparable to any roadside bistro in France. Still Poulét, with its hits and misses, does have its fair share of nice dishes. For affordable escargots and roasted chicken, I’d definitely return to Poulét.

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Laurent Duchêne

Croissants = French. French = Croissants.

They seem synonymous, no?

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If not for their various desserts and breads, Laurent Duchêne demands a visit by virtue of winning the title of the best croissant in Paris in 2011 and 2012.

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I visited the outlet at Rue Wurtz, and my single and largest complaint is that they do not have a sit-in option. So friends and I had to look for nearby cafes, and grab a cuppa there in order to use their tables.

My sole purpose of visiting them was to try these famed croissants of theirs; but of course when ever do I stop at one? With the array of sweets and vennoisseries on display resistence is futile.

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10 minutes of hopping about on each foot and nail-biting, we decided on a few vennoisseries and pastries to share amongst the 3 of us.

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Croissant (€1.05)

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Lightly browned, the beautifully caramelized glaze was such a teaser. It tore easily with a slightly audible crackle, revealing a pale yellow, airy and absolutely fluffy interior. Buttery yet not greasy; soft yet crisp; fluffy yet substantial; I understand why this was voted best twice. Can’t say I’m the expert but LD’s croissant is really the best I’ve ever tasted.

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Kouign Amann (€2.20)

Think of it as a cross between a croissant and a butter cake. Essentially bread dough and puff pastry rolled with butter and sugar, Kouign Amann is a unique gâteau that promises perfectly caramelised exteriors for a maximum dose of caramel. With Tiong Bahru Bakery’s as my only other basis of comparison, I’m definitely not one to judge this pastry. I can say though that it is without doubt addictive and packed full with yumminess. One thing: the pastry dough was a little soggy and hard to bite through.

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Paris-Brest (€4.00)

Good choux pastry, decadent praline creme patisserie and a generous sprinkle of crushed almonds make this a very pleasing pastry. The very first Paris-Brest I had in France and I must say it lived up to expectations.

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Millefeuille (€3.20)

Perhaps our visit to Jacques Genin was too early, cause every millefeuille we had after paled in comparison. LD’s wasn’t too bad. The puff pastry was decent, crisp enough. The creme patisserie however was a let down. I would call it whipped cream instead. It didn’t help that it had alcohol in it, which was not stated previously.

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Financier (€2.80)

This was surprisingly good. It was moist and had a nutty fragrance from the browned butter, without being overly sweet.

It’s hard to judge with the limited items we’ve tried. One thing for certain, is that LD makes hands down wonderfully delicious croissants. And for that, just for that, I’ll definitely return.

2 Rue Wurtz
75013 Paris
Tél/Fax : 33 (0) 1 45 65 00 77
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 0700-2000

238 Rue de la Convention
75015 Paris
Tél: 33 (0) 1 45 33 85 09
Hours: Wednesday-Sunday mornings, 0700-2000

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Gerard Mulot

I’ve read a lot about Gerard Mulot since my first visit to Paris 4 years back, and was really disappointed when I missed it then. Famous for their chocolates and patisseries, I first learnt of GM when reading a book on Paris patissieres (that I have 5 of those huge-ass books says much about my obsession with Paris). I swear those pages of their wonderful entremets and chocolates were screaming “EAT ME”. So while revising my itinerary for France 2013, I was determined to pop by at least once. Or twice. Thrice maybe?

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I visited the outlet situated along the quiet borders of the 13th and the 14th – a very strategic location imho. mere 10 minutes walk away from the exit of Les Catacombes de Paris, it’s the perfect place for a sweet bite after the solemn morbidity of the tourist site.

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What about these patisseries that really gets me off, is the huge variety of saliva-inducing sweets they boast and the utter impossibility of tasting every single one of them. The damn dichotomy! Yes I am fat but I’m not that fat. With our limited tummy space we settled on having what we thought would be the least filling of the lot – the macarons.

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Box of 9 macarons (€16). Flavours from top to bottom: Nougat, Passion/basilic, Feuille de menthe, Caramel au beurre salé, Pistache, Vanille, Noix de coco, Chocolat, Mangue Yuzu

With the nicely formed feet and a smooth waxy exterior, GM’s macarons passed the look-test. Does it taste as good was the nagging question. Biting into it, the crispy exterior gave way to a chewy almond shell and a smooth, creamy ganache/buttercream. Absolutely wonderful. Technical skills aside, GM nailed the flavours. My favourites were Passion/basilic, Caramel au beurre salé, Noix de coco, Mangue Yuzu. Classical flavours they perfected; but by nailing these new inventive flavours GM has definitely brought the bar up for macarons.

Yes I’m still bitter that I didn’t get to try GM’s other famous sweets, but I guess their unexpectedly delish macarons were worth it. Forget Pierre Hermé and Ladurée. GM’s not one you’d want to miss out on.

93, rue de la Glacière
75013 Paris
Tél : 01 45 81 39 09
Fax : 01 53 80 40 07
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 1000-1930

76, rue de Seine
75006 Paris
Tél : 01 43 26 85 77
Fax : 01 40 46 99 34
Hours: Monday-Sunday, 0645-2000
Closed on Wednesdays

6, rue du Pas de la Mule
75003 Paris
Tél : 01 42 78 52 17
Fax : 01 42 72 60 34
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 0800-2000

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Jacques Genin

Just a mere 15 minutes walk from Musee Carnavalet at Le Marais, Jacques Genin was the first sweets stop I scheduled into our itinerary. Having read so much about its amazing Pate de Fruits, chocolates and Paris Brest, I was dying to try them for myself. Maybe it’s just me, or maybe it’s because Le Marais seems to be such a gothic district, I was expecting a small wood-furnished boulanger patisserie. Jacques Genin is anything but that. Huge glass windows reaching to the ceilings, bright orange lights and neatly arranged displays, it’s chic interior was extremely attractive.

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Food displays (left to right, clockwise): chocolates, packets of chocolate treats, caramels, pates du fruits.

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Pates de fruits

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Spiral stairs to the kitchen.

We came in a big group of 7, but the staff was very nice in preparing a table sufficient for us. It was really pleasant to find that he could speak fluent English! I know we’re in France and should learn to speak French, but…really it gets annoying when you’re trying to order food with that language barrier.

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After a 10 minutes wait or so, we were shown to our table where we were immediately served glasses of water. Thereafter the staff informed us about the pastries of the day, in which the Paris Brest was not included. So I asked about it, and I was told that since about a year ago they’ve stopped making regular pastries. They still have a few basics like eclairs featured on the menu, but the rest of the pastries change on a daily basis.

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Complementary chocolates

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Degustation aux caramels

This degustation featured a selection of 6 of their signature caramels. I can’t name the various caramels cause they weren’t written down, and in the mess of eating the various sweets I didn’t pay that much attention to these. What I can tell you though is that they are superb. That says a lot, coming from someone who doesn’t like caramels. Smooth, velvety and rich without being cloyingly sweet, these caramels are perfect. Perhaps what was lacking was the obvious difference between the 6 caramels. If I couldn’t tell the flavours of the caramels, I guess it isn’t that obvious or well done. Kudos for mastering a beautiful caramel though.

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Hot Chocolate

This isn’t your Starbucks diluted sugar-spammed hot chocolate. Parisian hot chocolate is much more different. Thick, decadent, and extremely rich, the hot chocolate tastes more like a melted block of chocolate than a drink. As delicious as it is, it becomes hard to swallow after about half a cup. It is very nice though, and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who visits Jacques Genin, except it might be wiser to share it with a few friends.

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Praline Millefeuille

Having eaten millefeuilles at almost every bakery I pass in France, I would say that this is by far the best millefeuille that I’ve had besides Laduree’s I tried a few years back. The puff pastry is extremely delicate, with a perfectly caramelised outer layer, yet sturdy enough to hold the smooth praline creme patissiere. The best part of eating a millefeuille is cutting into it for the first time, hearing the crackle of the puff pastry, then putting a spoonful of that mess into your mouth. Il est parfait. JG’s millefeuille stands out because of its puff pastry, in particular how it remains crisp even in your mouth. I felt that the praline creme patissiere could be more pronounced though. It tasted like a slightly nuttier chocolate instead of having that very distinct praline flavour.

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Eclair Chocolat

They definitely have the best chocolate eclair I’ve tried thus far too. Perfect choux pastry, with a crisp surface and a fluffy interior; filled with amazingly smooth dark chocolate creme patisserie. Absolutely heavenly.

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Tarte au Citron est Basilic

I loved how the basil was subtle yet definitely discernible here. It kept the tart from getting boring after a few bites. In addition the lemon curd was just the right amount of sour. Eaten with the lightly sweeted shortcrust base, this tart was a breath of fresh air to all the chocolatey sweetness. A must-try to balance out all that sugar.

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On hindsight, it probably wasn’t such a good idea to put this first in my to-eats list. Cause everything pales in comparison now. If you happen to be in Paris, be sure to pay Jacques Genin a visit. Trust me: you won’t regret it.

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War of the Falafels: L’As du Fallafel V.S. Chez H’anna

Researching on the must-eats in Paris led me to these 2 rival falafel restaurants in the district of Le Marais: L’As du Fallafel and Chez H’anna. For one, they apparently make extremely delicious falafels. More importantly they’re filling and easy on the pocket. At an affordable €5 , these falafel wraps make a delicious street food.

Imagine my excitement when I found out that our apartment is situated right in the middle of that very district! I made it a must to have lunch there on our very first day.

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L’As du Fallafel

David Lebovitz called it a favourite quick-bite on the streets of Paris; and rightly so if the queue is any indication of its popularity. En route we saw many students munching on their falafel wraps, and that hiked up our anticipation for this amazing falafel.

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Basic falafel wrap (€4 for takeaway). Left is the non-spicy one, where the right has a dash of piquante sauce.

Using that fork provided, dig into warm pita bread stuffed with marinated crunchy cabbage, silky grilled aubergines, cold sesame hummus, and that burning crisp-fried balls of chick-pea falafels. I love that wonderful contrast between the cold vegetables and hummus, against the falafels. Together with the spicy piquante sauce, it was absolutely heavenly. I had no trouble demolishing one on my own!

I was happily gobbling up my lovely falafel wrap, when I made a turn along the street and found Chez H’anna. Now know that no matter how I might look like one, I am certainly not some glutton with a bottomless tummy. I was pretty filled by then, but I simply couldn’t bear the thought of giving it a miss. You mean I’ll have to walk across these streets again just to get back here to try out Chez H’anna? Uh-uh, ne pas possible. My itinerary is way too packed to make a revisit possible. That I am lazy is not a contributing factor to my final decision

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Chez H’anna

Rated half a star lower than L’As du Fallafel on Trip Advisor, Chez H’anna has been receiving mixed reviews. Time Out called it a favourite spot frequented by locals. So I wondered if the former was merely some teenage-hangout-touristy place, while the latter is the real treasure?

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Vegetarian falafel a.k.a. basic falafel wrap (€5.50 for takeaway)

The sauces here distinguished it from L’As du Fallafel because it was tastier. The piquante sauce was honestly spicy and gave the wrap a wonderful kick. It was a tad too salty though. Chez H’anna’s hummus was more fragrant and memorable, as compared to the former. Yet they have a really hard pita pocket that ruined the whole dish. I ended up literally eating the fillings on their own, then throwing the wrap away.

The verdict? None really. Both are good in different ways.

Maybe it’s time for them to collaborate instead of being rivals.

Chez H’anna
54 Rue des Rosiers
75004 Paris, France
Opened from 1100-0000, closed on Mondays

L’As du Fallafel
34 Rue des Rosiers
75004 Paris, France
Opens from 1200-0000, closed on Sundays

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