La Petite Cuisine offers no-frills, affordable, classic French Cuisine.
La Petite Cuisine
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Catered mainly for those living in the neighbourhood, it is a nondescript restaurant situated in a seemingly-abandoned shopping centre. It has old posters plastered on their whitewashed walls and simple decorations around the shop. Patrons are usually upper-class men and women looking for a cup of afternoon delight. I was here en route to Botanic Gardens.
There were quite a variety of options in their menu and I was spoilt for choice. Since they specialised in duck, I took a leap of faith and ordered their day's special- Duck salad. Love how appetising the sauce is. It brought out the taste of the duck, which was soft and palatable, not chewy nor chunky. Surprisingly filling for a salad. It's a must-try!
Being a steak-lover, my partner ordered a Sirloin steak with gratin potato and salad ($16.5). Pretty affordable for a steak. The steak was done just right and the sauce was tantalising.
The best part? No GST & service charge for the restaurant! You order and pay at the counter and wait for food to be served.
I was looking for dinner, when I was near Serene centre. I didn’t want to end up at Macdonalds, and I spotted this dining place at the corner in the dim interior of the building—La Petite Cuisine.
The price is quite reasonable, and the food takes a short time to come, say, about ten minutes. But that really depends on the number of people inside. I was there when it was half- filled with customers. La Petite Cuisine does not charge GST and service charge, which made me incredibly happy.
However, one bad point which kind of ruins the whole experience is the service there. Granted, there is no service charge, but there has to be some semblance of customer service there, right? The waitress was quite rude, in directing us to tables and taking our orders.
The interior of the place is not that nice either, and although it was indoors, there wasn’t much air- condition! It was rather hot and stuffy inside. All in all, I was glad when I finished my dinner and left the place.
This is apparently -the- Indie French place to visit, from all the "you've probably never heard of it" talk my friends tell me. Many Anglo Chinese students as well as affluent school kids in the area have visited La Petite Cuisine, sort of as a rite of passage for snotty brats.
With the new circle line, this place is actually pretty accessible now compared to 5 years ago. Drop off at Botanic Gardens and take a 5 minute walk to this hidden French gem. From the outside, you will see that La Petite Cuisine has pretty much zero ambience, comparable to having a meal at a coffee shop. Upon stepping in, you confirm your earlier observations. The kitchen is just a little shop space in Serene Centre, with some seats scattered around. If you like Al Fresco dining, also known colloquially as 'roasting alive under the sun', you can dine outside by the corridor. I opted to sit inside the building, where they placed a few striped dressed tables near the door walkway.
The menu is pretty simple- appetizers, mains, desserts and help yourself can-drinks. No more than 5 items in each category also. I'm a huge fan of foie gras and wanted to go for the pan fried foie gras with orange confit, but my date didn't like the taste of umami awesomeness. So I ordered snails instead: escargots on toasted croissant, while she ordered boring tomato soup (really, how vividly can a tomato soup be described). I have to say, the escargots were brilliantly done in this garlic, basil, creamy sauce clasped between a sweet, crispy croissant pastry. Why does everything sound perverse out of my mouth. With the mix of dry crispiness and wet thick heavy sauce, this was an amazing recreation from just having snails baked on a plate. Tomato soup was... okay.
For mains, sirloin steak, and duck confit with gratin. The sirloin steak came with so much salad on the side, I thought I heard the cow still grazing. Pretty lean cut of meat, with little fat, but cooked at medium rather than the medium rare we wanted. More to the dry side, but my date seemed to like it. Not sure if it's just a nostalgia thing because she's one of the princesses that used to come here after school, while I hung out at McDonald's.
The duck confit was superb though. One of the best I've had, better than Saveur. After you peel the crispy skin outside, you reach the tender flesh that has been marinated just well, not overly dry. The creamy potato gratin was also very good as a pairing to the crispiness. A must try here.
P.S although the French red wine is pretty cheap, I found sediments and a weird stale "opened-for-a-week" taste. Also, water is self-service and comes with 1 impatient waitress.