We had originally decided to try Bather's, but unfortunately I had not anticipated that the restuarant would be closed for lunch on Saturdays.
Eventually we decided to have lunch at Choupinette, a little place along Bukit Timah road, just down from The Cellar Door, which sells nominally French food and breads.
The place is tiny, probably accomodating 20 people or less. It was packed when we got there, but we managed to grab two seats by the window. Half of the tables were occupied by Francophones, so this is a good place to go to improve you French. Unfortunately, I couldn't really understand what the adults were saying. Even more unfortunately, I couldn't really understand what the kids were saying either.
May decided to get into the act by donning my shades. Very BCBG. Très French. The prices on the menu were surprisingly expensive, comparable to a place like Sebastien's. We decided to go for the set meal, since it seemed to make the most sense. Salad or Moussaka or Lasagne, Dessert and Drink for $20+.
The iced chocolate or mocha drinks here would cost you about $5 normally, and are truly dreadful. The iced chocolate hardly tasted of chocolate; instead it was bland and put me in mind of really diluted chocolate milk. As for the mocha, well, May didn't even finish hers.
We both had a lasagne ($16), which was passably decent. Very cheesy, though I couldn't recognise the cheese used. Soft and gooey, but not stretchy like mozzarella. Definitely not the best lasagne around.
I decided to have the chocolate mousse for dessert, which is a bit of a risk even at the best of times, since mousse contains uncooked eggs. The mousse I was given ($7) was actually quite large, and didn't look very promising. Sure enough, my spoon encountered resistance the moment I dipped it in; the mousse was much too dense. Valiantly, I tried a spoonful, and can safely say it was quite inedible. There was a rather unpleasant aftertaste to the chocolate, a soury bitterness that I did not feel came from the cocoa content.
The creme brulee ($6.50) was better, but as you can see, doesn't really inspire confidence. In fact, it looks very much like a burnt egg tart.
Choupinette also retails bread, but given the disappointing standard of their food, I wasn't particularly keen to try out their baked goods.
So now that we've established that the food was rather abysmal, what about ambience and service? Ambience was okay, laid-back and casual, if a bit chintzy from the gauzy blue curtains and shells. In true French fashion though, service was pretty awful. We stood around after enterring the place for some time before it dawned on someone that we might require a table. Subsequently, we were not attended to until one of our neighbouring diners ordered a coffee and rather pointedly suggested to the waitress that we might like to order. After our meal, I had to specifically request for our dessert despite having made eye contact with the waitress for about five seconds. To all waitstaff who may be reading this, if a customer stares at you right in the eyes, it's possible that he's absolutely enthralled by your beauty, but chances are you've forgotten something and he's getting impatient.
I can only imagine that French kids like eating here, because I can think of no other reason to come here.
Choupinette (French, casual)
607 Bukit Timah Road
Tel: 6466 0613
Overall: Évitez d'y aller. Avoid like the plague.