Breaking bread at Claudine. Credit: Stefan Khoo

The pandemic has hit the F&B sector hard. Yet, in the past two years, Singapore has also seen the birth of some of our most spectacular restaurants that drive across the point that we aren’t just a global food city, but an excellent one.

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From eclectic bistros big on personality to a French fine-dining institution housed in a heritage church building, these joints are bold in both concept and taste, suffused with the warmth and thoughtfulness of a good friend no matter the setting. And, of course, their interiors are stunning, making them destinations to see and be seen at, and compel one to get all dressed up – even if it’s for a table of one.

Needless to say, Claudine is one of them – that is, if you can grab a spot. It’s been six months since it first swung open its double doors, and Julien Royer’s sophomore restaurant on Dempsey Hill – opened jointly with The Lo & Behold Group – remains one of the hardest tables to get.

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Its breathtaking interior – a sensitive, sophisticated restoration of what was originally a 1930s chapel – is the perfect complement to the food: light and modern updates of quintessential French classics. What really stands out, though, is the service team’s attention to detail.

Says general manager Glynn Tay: “We think of ourselves as creating experiences while going back to the basics of delivering the joys of home to our guests through great food, drinks, and a beautiful setting. Creating joy in the moment is central to an experience at Claudine. That is what hospitality truly means to us.”

Credit:Stefan Khoo

Cotton bolero jacket; acetate sunglasses; metal choker with resin and strass; metal necklace; and leather vanity case (on table), Chanel

ON THE EXPERIENCE CLAUDINE HOPES TO BRING TO GUESTS

“Now more than ever, guests are looking to return to simple joys and comforts, authenticity and human interaction around a dining table. Being a place our guests can return to on any occasion whether they wish to gather with friends and family or for an intimate date night, with lasting memories to cherish.

The intention with Claudine was to bridge a gap between the more classic casual French bistros and higher-end fine dining French restaurants here and the answer was a concept with the same focus, precision, sourcing and cooking you would expect from any fine-dining establishment but delivered in a way that was approachable and welcoming.

We first think about where we are and who we are welcoming to our restaurant — both in the kitchen and Front of House. People and community lie at the heart of Claudine and we devote the same attention to detail and care in our hospitality as we do our cuisine.”

ON THE CROWD FAVOURITES

“Our menu showcases an intimate side of French cuisine – a balance of quintessential French classics to personal recipes with a fondness for locality. We’ve taken a modern, lighter and more elevated approach to classic French cooking that resonates with our guests. Some of our most popular dishes include our Mozambique Langoustine. Crustacean dumplings are filled with a crustacean mousse and a kombu puree and the dish is paired with a seafood bisque and lightened with tarragon oil to finish.

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Guests love our Chou Farci, an adapted family recipe from Julien Royer’s mum made up of stuffed cabbage with pork, bacon, prunes for sweetness (Julien Royer’s mum’s addition) and Claudine’s addition of foie gras for a touch of luxury. Our Steak Tartare is also exceedingly popular and is one of the more interesting and interactive tableside performances. Guests can choose their preference for seasoning as our service team dresses beef tenderloin (blonde d’Aquitaine from Parisian butcher Alexandre Polmard) tableside with classic condiments. It’s a little bit of showmanship and theatre at the table that diners appreciate.

Celine by Hedi Slimane leather jacket, acetate sunglasses and Small Box Cuir Triomphe leather shoulder bag (on table), Celine

For dessert, you can’t go wrong with our Pariterole -the lovechild of two well-loved desserts, Paris-Brest and profiteroles.

In terms of drinks, our wine list encourages discovery and accommodates every style of wine lover whether you appreciate natural wines or wish to explore a lesser-known label, exclusive to Claudine. Our guests have access to a great selection of wines (by the glass, carafe and bottle) whether they are alone or dining in a group.”

ON WHAT’S NEW AND FRESH

“For now, the team is focused on our new Sunday brunch that we’ve just launched. Our favourite Brunch classics are peppered with a little elegance and sophistication. Guests can enjoy everything from a hot truffle-filled Sourdough & Saint Nectaire Crispy Sandwich to a majestic seafood tower to share; from an array of fresh seafood to the likes of a razor clam ceviche plated beautifully on a custom tower. Rounding the afternoon with desserts such as our souffle- like Crepe Sou-zette’, stuffed with organic orange cream and flambéed tableside.”

Photography Stefan Khoo, assisted by Alif Styling Damian Huang, assisted by Tatiyana Emylia Hair EC Tan/1tto+Lim Makeup Sarah Tan, assisted by Vanessa Drea Coordination Noelle Loh, assisted by Gordon Ng Model Wu Xiaodan/Mannequin

A version of this article first appeared in the May 2022 Taste Edition of FEMALE