This Claudine restaurant review about our lunch at Dempsey Hill Singapore can be summed up in one line. Everything is good, except the menu prices. Our Claudine lunch reservation had to be made 2 months in advance but it seems that more slots are opening up these days.
Claudine Restaurant Dempsey Hill
Opened at Dempsey Hill at the end of 2021, Claudine is another restaurant by Chef Julien Royer. It has taken over the old chapel building along Harding Road which used to house the White Rabbit restaurant. It must be hard to be the younger sister of an over-achiever sibling, Odette, which attained the coveted Singapore Michelin Guide 3 star status five years after opening and was placed #2 in the 2021 Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Which explains the difficulty to secure a reservation at Claudine when we tried to make a booking in early 2022. Slots open two months in advance and were snapped up quickly. But recently we observed that it seems (relatively) easier to get a reservation. As with Odette, reservations have to be secured by credit card details. You can read about our Odette lunch here.
Restaurant Decor at Claudine
The restaurant space has been entirely renovated such that it is hardly recognisable as the former White Rabbit restaurant. Only the structure of the building with the tall dome windows and the stained glass window looks familiar. The tube light fixture hanging from the ceiling cannot be missed. It stretches from one end of the restaurant that houses the kitchen (picture above) to the other end where the bar is set up (picture below). I wonder what was the inspiration behind it – a snake or intestine? Whether you like it or not, we are glad to see the boldness of the design especially when set against the red ceiling which is quite striking.
The Claudine dress code is smart casual. The restaurant atmosphere is relaxed with neither tablecloths nor stuffy waiters.
Claudine Restaurant Menu Prices
Unlike many upmarket restaurants in Singapore these days which only offer a fixed course menu, Claudine has chosen the opposite direction – a la carte menu only. Here are pictures of the main sections of the Claudine restaurant menu. For starters we selected the herring and potato salad ($22) and the Hokkaido uni pasta ($58). For main course we had the signature dish – Claudine Bouillabaisse ($178). We ended the meal with a selection of three types of cheese ($38).
Claudine Restaurant Wine List and BYO
Here are two sample pages from the Claudine restaurant wine list – the page with wines served by glass and a page of white wines from the Loire Valley in France. They have wine corkage policy of 1-for-1 with a maximum of 2 bottles per table, which we find useful.
Our Wines for Lunch at Dempsey
We picked a bottle of 2019 Domaine Vincent Careme Vouvray Sec ($118). It was a light and refreshing wine that will please most people. You can read better descriptions of the wine here.
We made use of their 1-for-1 BYO policy to bring a bottle of 2006 Chateau Palmer from home. The deep flavours of this mature red Bordeaux from Margaux was a complete contrast to the youthfulness of the white wine, adding more fun to our lunch at Claudine.
Some bread was served at the start of the meal. The smell of the bread will make anyone feel hungry. We did not like the hard crust but the insides were wonderfully soft and chewy. Bacon flavoured butter made us eat more bread than we should as the empty basket was quickly replenished.
The Hokkaido uni pasta was a dish of cold pasta topped with a generous amount of sea urchin. We were not fond of the hard texture of the pasta. Fortunately the dish was saved by the fresh taste of the uni which would be reason enough to order this dish again. The herring salad was more straightforward – a pleasant, healthy looking starter to a meal with the pieces of herring providing a reminder of meals at Stockholm.
The Claudine ‘Boullabaisse’
The menu declared that : “Your Claudine experience is not complete without our plats à partager; designed generously for sharing around the table”. Obediently, we complied and ordered one. Another reason was that the main courses looked too predictable – fish, pork chop etc. There are four choices of plats à partager. From our internet research, it seemed that the Claudine ‘Boullabaisse’ is the hot favourite among diners even though it is the most expensive. What would have been our second choice is the most affordable one – chou farci ($98). It sounds quite interesting – baked cabbage with Gascon bacon, foie gras and prune – KIV for our next visit.
There are three parts to the Claudine ‘Boullabaisse’ : a dish of fish, prawns and clams, a plate of saffron rouille sauce and croûtons and a teapot of thick seafood soup which has the taste of very rich lobster bisque. The quality of the seafood and the soup was top notch. The croutons can be used to soak up any remaining soup. We can understand why it is so popular. But it is rather expensive for ordinary patrons without expense accounts ($178++ = $208). The dish is quite large, but best to be shared by two but not more as there will be a fight for the two prawns and two fish pieces.
A Cheesy End
We were expecting an extensive cheese selection at Claudine restaurant. But that was not the case. The cheese spread was quite limited. There was a choice of 3 or 6 types of cheese for $38/ $58 respectively. Given the limited choices we opted for the former.
What they lacked in variety, Claudine made up for it by the presentation. The dried fruits, grapes and crackers made our modest 3-cheese selection look quite impressive. Together with our remaining bread and wine, the cheese platter was perfect to wind down our lunch at Claudine Singapore, Dempsey Hill.
Lunch at Claudine Dempsey Verdict
Our lunch at Claudine restaurant was an enjoyable one. The place looks special enough even though the decor is casual. Service was attentive and helpful (in fact we found them more friendly than at Odette). Food was very good except for the hard pasta. There are lots of free parking spaces (unsheltered). But prices are quite steep for a smart casual restaurant. That might be mitigated if we try their less pricey items in the future. But if it is a special occasion (or if someone else is paying), we would still recommend the Claudine ‘Boullabaisse’ . It is a generous looking dish on the table (see picture below) that will impress any guest.
Overall Rating: 4 TOPs
39C Harding Road, Singapore 249541
Tuesday to Sunday
Lunch: 11.45am to 2pm (last seating)
Dinner: 6pm to 9.30pm (last seating)
Closed on Mondays
The Ordinary Patrons | Real Dining Experience of Ordinary People
an independent Singapore food blog