Le Bistrot du Sommelier is a French restaurant located at the end of a row of restored shophouses along Armenian Street. There are some notable establishments that live further up the street such as the Singapore Registry of Marriages, the Substation and the Peranakan Museum. There are many other museums nearby such as the National Museum and the National Gallery. Le Bistrot du Sommelier therefore provides a convenient location for a refreshment stop when one is taking a walk around this part of the historical and cultural district of Singapore. It also looks like a good venue for celebrations after getting hitched at the ROM!
The big advantage of being the shop at the end of the row means that there can be large windows at the side. Bistro du Sommelier therefore avoids the dark and narrow feeling that afflicts typical old shophouses. The restaurant on the ground floor has an interior that is bright and pleasant. There is a more informal space upstairs called the Rillette Bar which is more suitable if drinking is the main focus. Light foods such as charcuteries are served there. We have some pictures of the Rillette Bar at the end of this post.
The emphasis on the importance of wine to French dining is not only reflected in the restaurant’s name, but also in various aspects of the restaurant decor. The chandeliers are made of wine glasses. The wooden panels from wine crates get to live a second life as the back of benches and in the menus.
It therefore comes as no surprise that the wine list is more interesting than the food menu. The Bistrot du Sommelier people have thoughtfully classified their wines into three segments – “off the grid” (probably a more polite way to say affordable) lesser known wines, “cherished” wines that are more mainstream and “hedonist” which we think means very expensive wines. Here are some sample pages from the wine list. Prices for bottles start from around $70. There are some wines by the glass.
Le Bistrot du Sommelier Menus
Here are pictures of the food menu. There is a $35 lunch menu which is available everyday. The items look interesting but we decided to explore the ala carte items and decided on the escargots ($16), royale de foie gras ($19) and pan-seared onglet beef ($32). We had also tried a Corsica Pietra beer ($16), Cuvee des Conti ($18) and Abstemes ($18) from the wines by the glass list.
The beer was said to be made with chestnuts. Subsequent research revealed that some chestnut flour is used in the making of such beer. Which explains its slight nutty taste. A pleasant beer that goes well with the bread and butter while waiting for the food to arrive. The white wine was fresh and crisp – perfect for a 35 degree Singapore afternoon.
The big basket of bread was good eaten on its own and came in handy for mopping up the gravy from the escargot and the foie gras dishes.
Here are pictures of the Royale de foie gras. A thick soup with foie gras with two slices of smoked duck breast. It has a nice earthly foie gras flavour that was not over-powering. The heaviness of the dish was balanced by the fresh roll of zucchini and grapefruit served on the side.
The other appetiser was the baked escargots. Looking more like a small dish of lasagne, the snails had been de-shelled and baked in the thick and rich blend of tomato fondue and garlic butter. A very flavourful dish, best eaten with some of the crusty bread.
We always find starters to be more interesting than main courses which tend to be big pieces of meat or fish. This time we decided to share one main course – a relatively boring onglet steak. The steak was fine but we do not remember any specific characteristic of it except that the shallots enhanced the taste. What was memorable were the fries which were remarkably evenly cooked. Each of them had an identical light golden sheen. A strong Bordeaux might have been a good red wine to go with this steak but for a hot afternoon we opted for something less heavy from the “off the grid list”. The Abstemes 2011 made with gamay grapes lacked complexity but was light and fruity.
For dessert, the menu items started to look interesting again. We selected the profiteroles ($15) from the menu as we thought that these will be small buns and we won’t end the meal on a heavy note. Well, we were both right and wrong. We were right as the profiteroles were indeed rather modest-sized buns but they were used to sandwich two enormous balls of ice-cream. They were topped with a lot of chocolate sauce and sliced almonds. Very fattening but wonderful.
That is the end of our story about lunch at Le Bistrot du Sommelier. A relaxed French restaurant near the museums with an interesting food menu but even more exciting wine list.
As promised, we show you some pictures of the upstairs Rillette Bar. And to show our appreciation for your patience in reading this rather lengthy post, we also have some bonus pictures of some exhibits in the Singapore Peranakan Museum a few doors away from the restaurant.
Pictures from the Peranakan Museum
Overall Rating: 4 TOPs
Le Bistrot du Sommelier
53 Armenian St
Tel : +65 63331982
Le Bistrot Du Sommelier
Mon – Sat: 12 – 3pm (Lunch)
Mon – Sat: 6 – 11pm (Dinner)
Mon – Sat: 12pm to 12am