Singapore’s affordable French restaurant for the masses, Saveur, had been a hit with ordinary patrons searching for no-frills French cuisine. In a move which may indicate that they are seeking to move into a new market segment, Saveur recently opened a more upmarket outlet, named Saveur Art, at Ion Orchard, the posh shopping mall at the junction of Orchard Road and Paterson Road. Is Saveur able to move up the value chain without losing their raison d’être?
Hitherto, Saveur had distinguished itself from the tough competition in the f & b industry here in Singapore by offering mainly two things – decent French food and affordable prices. Of course these two components are not mutually exclusive. One’s perception of what is good may often be influenced by how much cash we are required to pay for it. In our previous visit to a regular Saveur restaurant at Far East Plaza, we were impressed by the decent French meal one can get at the cost of less than $20 per person.
Here at the Saveur Art outlet, you are of course quite aware that the restaurant is housed in a nicer building. Upon entering the restaurant you notice immediately the efforts put in to make the place a more cushy place. However, upon closer examination, we noticed that the added cushiness can be enjoyed only by those lucky enough to be seated at the few tables near the entrance which have plush booth seating. The rest of us, especially if you are seated on the long row of small tables against the wall, are squeezed cheek by jowl with your fellow diners. In this inner part of the restaurant, you are not better off as compared with the regular Saveur outlets in terms of accommodation.
For lunch, there you have the option of a two or three course set lunch at $29 or $37 respectively. We decided on the two course and ordered the egg confit and truffles and the chestnut and toast for starters. Our main courses were the slow cooked cod and Asian spiced braised short ribs. Another difference between this and the other Saveur restaurant was the wider drinks selection. Wines by the glass are available with prices ranging from $10 to $17.
The starters were well received. Egg and truffle is such a complementary blend of flavours that you can’t really go wrong with the combination. In this case, it was further enhanced by the crunchiness of the macadamia nuts. The chestnut creamy soup had a smooth mellow taste. Very rich and delicious. The cod dish was also good. The natural taste of the fish was evident and the choice of fried baby squids and paprika foam to go with the fish was unusual but effective. The Asian spiced short ribs were however not as good. The meat was dry and we could not detect any taste of spice or ‘Asianess’ about the dish. It was more like a usual brown sauce dish. The chopped apple provided some relief from the heaviness of the dish.
We thought that the food at Saveur Art was not bad. The chef should be complemented for his creativity in putting together different ingredients to perk up the taste of standard dishes. The food here is obviously a notch up from the usual Saveur fare. But we were not sure that in terms of value for money, this high-end Saveur was as appealing as the regular one as there are many lunch options in the area in the $30 to $40 range.
#04-11 Ion Orchard
Tel: +65 6634 1141
Nearby Stations: Orchard