It’s safe to say there’s a bit of animosity in Texas towards the French. I have no idea why or how it started, but some folks, particularly Texas males, find the whole concept of France… too French. Thankfully I’ve left home and experienced the wonderful culinary traditions of France and no longer share in my hometown scorn. As a kid growing up, you hear about the snails, the exploded duck liver, the rich sauces. For some reason the simplest of French cuisine never found it’s way to our ears. If there’s one concept though that could unite these two varied peoples…. it’s Steak Frites. There’s nothing more Texan than a steakhouse, and add all you can eat fries to the mix and you have a winning combo in my book.
In Singapore we have Les Bouchons. And it’s lovely in it’s simplicity. Could easy make a francophile of the staunchest red-blooded hillbilly
Les Bouchons has two locations around Singapore. One on Ann Siang Hill and one near the Quay. I personally prefer the one in Ann Siang Hill… because it’s really close and because I kind of think steak frites places should be intimate and small. You do need to book ahead though at Ann Siang, sometimes a couple days in advance, as there are only 6 or so tables inside and a couple out front near the entrance.
The first time we visited we had actually made reservations at the other location, but decided not to travel down to the Quay in rush hour and tried our luck at the Club Street area location. They were full. But amazingly the hostess checked her seating and asked us if we were ready to immediately order. One of the bookings was coming in 45 minutes and we could squeeze in if we didn’t mind not lounging around. Perfect. A nice touch of personal service not commonly found around Singapore.
Took our seats and sized up the menu. Simple, no-frills menu. There’s a ribeye, a fish, a couple other things…. that’s it. There’s also a chef’s special Cote De Boeuf for two that sounded appealing but I like my steaks bloody and Joanna prefers more well done so we went our separate ways. I was hoping for some of the side items from their sister restaurant L’Angelous… sadly the creamed spinach and potatoes gratin have stayed a few doors down
We started with the snails. Gotta have them. Rich, buttery, with a heaping amount of herbs. Never a good dish for you, but these little univalves are always so pleasing.
I ordered the ribeye. Cooked perfectly mid-rare with a heaping dollop of flavored butter on top. The steak was seasoned right and not dry, so the butter wasn’t necessary… but it did push the whole thing to another level. Definitely worth eating.
Joanna got the salmon, which on paper sounded perfect. It came out a little less done than she’d like, but that’s to be expected. Most restaurants serve salmon a bit on the rarer side. Sadly the fish had a bit of too-fishy taste which cut down on her enjoyment.
The fries and house pour wine were also a bit average. I was ready to chow down on frites and knock back a few glasses of bold red, but thankfully for my ever growing gut I was tempted to take more than the first serving of each. They frites aren’t bad, they’re just not a destination menu item (which I kind of feel they should be at a steak frites place).
Come for the name sake and skip the rest. It’s a steak and fries place, not a fancy fish dish place (you want that head a few doors down). I think the true enjoyment of the place comes though in a larger group. A few people, a couple decent bottles of wine and steaks. A simple concept, but one that could bring the world together (except maybe India).
Oh and like L’Angelous and my personal favorite watering hole Bario Chino, the Veuve Clicquot is very reasonable by the bottle… perfect when celebrating with a group.
7 Ann Siang Road S (Club Street area)
Tel: 6423 0737
Les Bouchons Rive Gauche
41 Robertson Quay
#01-01 Singapore Tyler Print Institute