Stockholm’s Brasserie Astoria unveils a charming Singapore outpost in historic Victoria Concert Hall that harkens back to the golden age of theatre.
Brasserie Astoria, Victoria Concert Hall’s new gastronomic venue, is stunningly beautiful. What used to be Sinfonia Ristorante now houses the Singapore offshoot of the opulent Stockholm brasserie, a concept brought in by the Frantzén Group led by celebrated Swedish chef Björn Frantzén of three Michelin-starred Zén.
You’ll want to dress up when you visit. Because the place deserves it.
While the former Italian restaurant made simple use of the staid bones of the neoclassical colonial building, Brasserie Astoria Singapore instead glitzes and glams up its space like the original in Stockholm. Think a contemporary take on the Roaring Twenties. Amid the soaring Greco-Roman columns is an expansive dining room punctuated by booths with Nordic-inspired wooden panels, privacy curtains, gilded accents, and plush velvet seating. Cleverly arranged lighting fixtures cast soft warm glow, lighting up the space cosily enough despite the hall’s famously high ceilings.
The bar takes pride of place at Brasserie Astoria. And rightfully so.
You’d do well to order any of their signature cocktails. We absolutely adored their Nordic twists on the Martini like the Morgondagg or Frantzen Drajja (though we’d definitely advise against more than two if you intend to attend a concert later, punchy as they are). If you’re a cocktail hound like we are, you’ll want to sit at the bar and watch the talented bartenders as they go through their practised, orchestrated dance of putting together your choice of tipple.
For those who prefer wine, there’s a massive wine list to choose from.
As for the food, culinary virtuoso Frantzén wisely dials back on the flamboyant creativity normally found at Zén. Instead you’ll find many familiar European bistro classics, some of which have been given a modern remake.
Toast Astoria is a must-order. This eponymous signature is an elevated cover of the Swedish open-face smørrebrød sandwich, featuring prawns, Norwegian king crab, trout roe and ikura laced with a lovely wasabi aioli atop toast that’s been fried in butter. Similarly unabashedly Swedish is also Butter Fried Råraka. Similar to Swiss rösti, this thin and crisp pancake of shredded potato comes garnished with vendace roe and crème fraîche the way you’ll find them in Sweden.
And if you like your theatrics, there’s the Steak Tartare à la Parisienne, which you watch prepared table side like those you find at fancier Parisian bistros. Likewise the Whiskey Flambéed beef. You’ll want your phones at the ready to film as your server rolls up a cart next to your table and goes on to light up with a good lug of Buffalo Trace whiskey, your choice of Angus or wagyu cut in brilliant flaming crescendo. The whiskey-laced kampot pepper sauce, in particular, is deliciously unctuous.
As for dessert, The Waffle Ice Cream offers a fun and colourful way to end off your meal. This waffle sandwich with its oolong-infused vanilla ice cream – dripping with tangy raspberry sauce – clasped between pistachio-dusted waffles with a symphony of flavours that brings you back to the taste of your childhood.
Great food, excellent drinks, and an Old World charm. Brasserie Astoria deserves a standing ovation.
Brasserie Astoria Singapore
Address 11 Empress Place, Singapore 179558 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 11.45am to 2.30pm and 6pm to 12am Tuesdays to Sundays; closed on Mondays
Tel (65) 8819 3306