Claudine Restaurant opened its doors at the end of 2021, and fans of Julien Royer (of 3-Michelin-starred Odette) would have rejoiced at the notion of more frequent visits to a more “casual” sister restaurant.
Yes, it is more casual, spotted a few men in dress shorts, but make no mistake, the prices aren’t “casual”. I’d say Claudine is an example of “casual fine dining”. You get top-notch ingredients, execution of the dishes, and service, but without all the trappings of a 3-Michelin-starred restaurant.
It is the same menu for lunch and dinner, it would be lovely if they could present a simplified prix fixe menu for lunch, something one could look forward to during a busy week.
Claudine has taken over the space formerly occupied by The White Rabbit. No matter which end in which you are seated, the view is good. There is a classic bar beneath a stained glass window at one, and an open kitchen at the other for all the action.
Fabulous French Classics at Claudine:
There are some fabulous French classics here that, despite the prevalence of French restaurants in Singapore, you can’t find all that easily.
Especially some of the dishes with a more rustic feel. Moreish sauces run the gamut here and you will feel the touch of a grand-mère in the French countryside, working her magic over a long, indulgent Sunday lunch.
While Claudine prides itself on the sharing concept, “your Claudine experience is not complete without our plat à partager” as quoted on the menu, we decided to leave that for the next time and went for a 3-course approach.
(In the end, we didn’t make it to dessert as we were simply too full from our appetizers and mains).
Some lovely warm sourdough with iberico-infused butter arrives to start us off.
I chose the Claudine Onion Soup ($22) with comté, cured ham and croutons. Simply brilliant. Broth was clear, the sweetness of the brown onions coming through, the comté adding that indulgence and the croutons so crisp.
Even though this is a very “rustic” dish, Claudine’s version is fine indeed. Unlike the unfortunate brown goop with too many strips of onion floating around that you may encounter elsewhere.
Husband chose the Charred Leeks ($18) which arrived looking uncharacteristically pretty. Swirls of leek sprinkled with croutons, tarragon, chervil, chives and cornichons. Amping up the acidity in a gribiche sauce made by emulsifying hard-boiled egg yolks and mustard.
Hubby commented that one person alone couldn’t finish this dish, because the acidic profile is really punchy. So a good sharing dish, with some of the sourdough to mop up the sauce.
For mains, selecting the Vol-Au-Vent ($58) was a definite must for us. We had never tried this dish before, despite our many trips all across France, so definitely wanted to find out what it was all about.
A perfect puff pastry shell toppling over with veal sweetbreads, morel, chicken cockscomb and pearl onions arrived. Lovely as it already was, the accompanying sauce was splendid! Luxurious, redolent and just perfect for coating each mouthful of the pastry.
I almost protested when the wait staff came to remove the dish: “But wait, there’s a smidgen of sauce left, let me mop it up with the sourdough,” I wanted to say. I didn’t though as my full tummy was already struggling to finish the other main.
The Whole Roasted Brittany Pigeon ($68), another dish I can’t easily find in French restaurants here, so naturally, that was our choice for a second main.
The pigeon was all lovely caramelised and cooked to a perfect doneness. Two plump breasts and two confit legs arrived. I read somewhere that many chefs may argue that confit is the best preparation method for the legs, I suppose similar theory with duck legs.
The pigeon’s meaty flavour might be a little strong for some, but combining it with the accompanying gnocchi, grilled maitake and grape gives the dish a well-balanced profile.
By the end of this, we were simply too full to even consider dessert. We couldn’t even finish the sourdough bread that was given to us at the start of the meal.
Well, that could be a good thing, because we can look forward to returning to Claudine and trying more dishes in the style of, what I would call, French Farmhouse Finesse!
39C Harding Road, Singapore 249541
Tue-Sat: 11.45am to 2pm
Sun Brunch: 11.30am to 6pm
Tue-Sun Dinner: 6pm to 9pm
Closed on Mondays