Saveur Restaurant, Purvis Street, Singapore

Formerly housed in a small coffee shop in Joo Chiat, Saveur made the move to its new premises in Purvis street just near Bugis earlier this year and has been attracting rave reviews (and drawing large queues) ever since. I arrived shortly after 1pm to see about 15 people clustered outside the small shopfront (opposite Gunthers, another restaurant I am long overdue in visiting) Singaporeans, much like the British seem inordinately fond of queuing, especially were food is involved and this is usually the sign a good meal is to follow. I was fortunate in that as I was on my own, I only waited around 5 minutes after registering before being led to the back of the long, narrow restaurant to a small table that seemed designed solely to hold one diner which gave me a great vantage point of the restaurant and meant I could indulge in one of my favourite hobbies of people watching as I dined. The restaurant was packed, even on a Monday lunch, its whitewashed walls sparsely decorated with small clusters of artwork and stripped back exposed brickwork. Waiters clad in white weaved seamlessly through the close-packed tables, delivering a procession of dishes to the mixed group of diners, from families to business men, friends and groups of students sat close to me who seemed to order everything from the menu to share amongst themselves. The menu is fairly short, composed of a soup, a “snack” dish, a pasta and 3 appetisers as well as 6 main courses with a couple of side orders and 3 desserts. As I had walked from Farrer Park in the midday heat, I wasnt really in the mood for a main course, however the Barramundi with Crab Potatoes and French Beans at $13.90 and the Crispy Pork Belly, Poached Egg and Diced Vegetables at $10.90 left me sorely tempted and determined to return for dinner in the not too distant future. I opted for the Duck Rillettes – the “snack” on todays menu which came presented in a small kilner jar with toast croutes, leaves of lettuce and small slices of cornichons. The Rillettes were the perfect, creamy consistency and at $7.90 represented great value. Next up I had the Mesclun Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette and Crispy Duck which was a nice selection of mixed leaves, Mandarin orange segments and what looked like pieces of fried confit duck leg. The dressing was perfectly balanced, not to sweet and sharp enough to cut through the slight oiliness of the duck and again at just $3.90 a real steal. The Angel Hair Pasta with Sherry Minced Pork and Sakura Ebi was the last of my savoury dishes. The Pork was almost a paste, spread over the top of the pasta, binding the dish together and the crunch of the small dried shrimp proved a great contrast, I could have done with a bit more of the pork and the sherry kick was missing but still this was a tasty enough dish, if not as successful as  my previous two choices. At $3.90 again this was astonishing value and as one of the signature menu items, it seemed to be on every table. In addition to the appetisers I tried, they have 2 different types of pan seared foie gras which also seemed to be flying pout of the kitchen and with both priced t under $10 it was not hard to see why. Whilst the dishes I sampled weren’t exactly heavy, it hadn’t been my intention to indulge in a  dessert, however seeing the “Chocolate and Hazelnut” passing through to another table I knew I had to try it. The chocolate mousse was sprinkled with dried fruit, crispy rice puffs and hazelnuts which played delightfully on the tongue as you ate the rich chocolate mousse and again was a real highlight of the meal. Amazingly all this came to under $30 inclusive of service and GST, soft drinks were available at $2, wine at $9 and San Pelligrino at $3 so you could easily add in a couple of drinks and still get out for under $40 or even BYO wine at $15 a bottle. Saveur is a true find, a real little gem of a restaurant whilst it’s not “gourmet”  they are cooking the sort of unpretentious food I love to eat and I will definitely be back.

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