Modern French brasserie Clos Pasoh combines fresh new takes on traditional French favourites with Asian flourishes and a stellar wine list.
For wine lovers, the name Clos Pasoh is a dead giveaway that it’s an establishment dedicated to wine. The word ‘clos’ is French for a walled vineyard, which one sees everywhere in French wine country especially in France’s iconic winemaking region of Bourgogne. There it lends itself to the names of many famous wines – Clos de Vougeot, Clos St Denis, and Clos de la Roche are just some of the more prestigious Burgundian appellations sporting the term.
Those wine enthusiasts won’t be wrong. Clos Pasoh is among the newest establishments to set up in the raucous F&B and nightlife district of Keong Saik and Bukit Pasoh, and the wine-focused modern French brasserie is set to offer one of the most comprehensive wine lists in that area.
How serious is Clos Pasoh about wine, you ask? Very much so. After all, one of the co-owners happens to run a wine company. Oenophiles will find here an extensive and pedigreed list of up to 1,500 labels with a focus on French wines, one that also explores interesting wines from other winemaking regions. Offerings include vintages from the likes of winemaking icons such as Domaine Armand Rousseau and Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, well, just because they can.
Even the M.Chapoutier de la Sizeranne 2001, a highly sought-after Hermitage, is available by the glass. And we weren’t too surprised to find a Coteaux Champenois in the Jerome Dehours Chardonnay Coteaux Champenois lurking among the entries, even though the still whites of Champagne are hard to find on Singapore wine lists. And if you prefer its far more well-known sparkling brethren, there’s 250-strong Champagne list showcasing bubblies from the most distinguished maisons (such as Billecart-Salmon, Gosset, and Henri Giraud) to that of independently-owned, grower Champagne variety (such as Vouette et Sorbée and the aforementioned Dehours). We’d love to visit their wine cellar once it’s fully stocked up.
But of course there are far more humble wines for a casual tête-à-tête with friends, too.
As for food, helming the Clos Pasoh kitchen is Chef Louis Pacquelin, previously of the now-defunct BBR by Alain Ducasse over at Raffles Hotel Singapore. It’s hard to properly describe the cuisine Pacquelin presents here, but we’ll try – we’d call it a curious affair of traditional French fare elevated with top-quality ingredients and the latest culinary techniques, but also brandished with an Asian flair.
His take of Cervelle de canut is as traditional as it gets, the Lyon specialty of a soft cheese dip served with bread that’s been grilled over charcoal. But then the Tête de veau – which normally comes as a stodgy dish of calf’s head rolled up like a sausage – instead appears as dainty little fried wontons. Here a spicy touch of fresh wasabi in the traditional ravigote sauce helps cut through the richness of the wontons’ minced jelly-like filling.
It gets more interesting. A hint of coconut in the bisque that’s the Bisque Coco-homard makes it a little unusual, and the hargow-like lobster dumplings – instead of simple lobster pieces – adds refinement and bite.
We had our eye on a number of mains – the duck à l’orange and onglet à l’échalote, for example – to see what twists Pacquelin would do to those, but the Pot-au-feu won out.
Pacquelin must have an affinity for Chinese dumplings, because one part of the pot-au-feu comes in that form. These are little packages containing foie gras, and they look everything like shui jing bao, or crystal dumplings. This was absolutely divine, in particular the flavourful beef consomme the dumplings sit in. In fact you’re also given an additional portion of consomme on the side (which bizarrely and dramatically comes in a contraption we’re sure is a coffee siphon pot machine). Drink it as is, or use it top up the broth for your dumplings.
But the main part of this sharing dish is a large pot of meat with a melange of vegetables, all beautifully braised together as with most traditional pot-au-feu. Except that the meat cuts used here – short rib, oyster blade, cheek – are top-grade, and come far more tender than usual.
If you have space for dessert, the Mousse au chocolat Guanaja, façon grand-mère is a must-order. The recipe comes from Pacquelin’s mom, and is a rich fluffy and chocolatey mess so lip-smackingly good you’d be happy to smear it all over yourself.
Clos Pasoh may sound like intimidatingly fine-dining, but it really isn’t. There’s a casual vibe in its tropical, French colonial space (think sassy 1950s Saigon French Indochina chic), with a beautiful outdoor balcony dining space overlooking Bukit Pasoh for that perfect romantic date. And its exceptional wine list and near irreverent approach to French fare makes it a must-visit for oenophiles and gourmands alike.
Address 48A Bukit Pasoh Rd, Level 2, Singapore 089859 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 4.30pm to 11pm on Tuesdays; 12pm to 11pm Wednesdays to Saturdays; closed on Sundays and Mondays