A sub-district of Singapore’s Chinatown, Bukit Pasoh is known for being home to solid restaurants and vibrant cocktail bars – as well as fitness studios to work it all off. Joining this excellent bunch is a new kid on the block this month: Clos Pasoh, a contemporary French restaurant that’s got the goods with an extensive wine selection (up to 1,500 labels!) and a refined menu of brasserie classics.
Named for the clos (walled vineyard in French) and the pasoh (a nod to the location and the Malay named for earthen pots), Clos Pasoh is the brainchild of entrepreneur Jean-Christophe Cadoret – who also owns Gaston on Keong Saik – and Chef Louis Pacquelin, a protégé of celebrity chef Alain Ducasse. A veritable oasis with lush greenery encircling the main dining hall that seats 50, the restaurant also boasts an outdoor terrace that boasts a charming view of the neighbourhood and an eight-seater Chef’s Table.
Our evening commenced with an elegant, sparkling Eric Bordelet Poiré “Granit” Cider from the Loire Valley, made with fruit from 300-year old trees. Its delicate yet complex flavours make it an intriguing substitute of champagne, but more importantly, whetted our appetite for the Cervelle de canut (S$12). A traditional herb-flecked fresh cheese from Lyon – Chef Pacquelin’s culinary training ground – it’s drizzled with vinegar for acidity and walnut oil for a touch of earthiness.
Imagine our astonishment at the next starter, for the Tête de veau (S$12) arrived looking like the deep fried wantons we know and love. Instead, these crispy bite-sized morsels contain a soft, gelatinous calf’s head filling that take between four to seven hours to make. Don’t miss the accompanying “wasagote” sauce, where fresh wasabi’s heady punch cuts through the richness of the filling nicely. Our wine of choice of maximum enjoyment? The full-bodied, high acidity 2014 Riesling Grand Cru Albert Boxler that perfumes your palate with white fruit, citrus, and floral notes.
Another plate of dumplings follow – the Bisque Coco-homard (S$29). The flavours of the steamed lobster ravioli and Maine lobster medallions stand out as the usual cream in bisque has been swopped out for coconut milk here. Thai basil and kaffir lime are also added, further enhancing the lightness of the flavourful soup. The pairing wine, Jerome Dehours Chardonnay Coteaux Champenois, is a still white from Champagne, one varietal that you’ll be hard-pressed to find on the wine lists of Singapore.
For our main, Clos Pasoh served its pièce de résistance, the traditional French beef stew Pot-eu-feu (S$128). The broth is cooked thrice, then infused for one minute with dehydrated kitchen vegetable trimmings and fresh herbs in a syphon at the table. Poured over tender cuts of Angus beef short rib, oyster blade and cheek, this wholesome dish is best shared between two to four. The best part? It comes with a small dish of poached foie gras to be enjoyed while waiting for the consommé to infuse.
Maximise your enjoyment with a glass of 2001 M.Chapoutier Sizeranne Syrah Hermitage from the northern Rhône valley. Rounded and well-balanced with gentle tannins, notes of red fruit and pepper pair well with the vibrant broth and fattier beef cuts.
Before our stomachs could protest, desserts arrive, and oh, how glorious is Chef Pacquelin’s Mousse au chocolat Guanaja, façon grand-mère (S$13). Borrowing his mother’s recipe, the Valrhona Guanaja dark chocolate mousse is perfectly bittersweet and served with a side of biscotti, a throwback to how he used to enjoy the dessert as a little boy living in Italy.
Instead of petit fours, we get Rhum Baba, definitely a great way to ‘cheat’ after 10.30pm. Served complimentary after every meal, the small yeast cake saturated in a syrup made with rum might just be the thing that’ll prompt you to make your next reservation at Clos Pasoh.
Clos Pasoh is located at 48A Bukit Pasoh Road, Level 2, Singapore 089859, p. +65 6980 0672. Open Tue 4.30pm-11pm, Wed-Sat 12pm-11pm. Closed Sun & Mon.
Emily heads the editorial team on City Nomads by being a stickler for details, a grammar Nazi, and a really picky eater. Born and bred in Singapore, she loves cats, the written word, and exploring new places. Can be bribed with quality booze across the board.