I'm always on the lookout for places to eat when you're on a budget. I know this is a rather pointless exercise, considering the plenitude of hawker centres and food courts dotting this island.
Still, there are occasions where you don't feel like jostling with a sea of other diners and queuing for seats and food.
So while reading I-S magazine the other day, I was intrigued to find a review of La Petite Cuisine, a little French bistro set up in Serene Centre, serving food on the cheap.
It occupies the spot Island Creamery used to operate out of, before they expanded and took up a few more shop spaces. La Petite Cuisine really is petite, able to accomodate at most ten people. To leave you no doubt that it is a French establishment, the lady at the counter cheerfully calls out "Bonjour!" to you as you walk past.
There is no menu, merely a chalkboard listing the offerings for the day. Most are within the range of $8 - $12, and range from cassoulet to steak. An additional $1.50 ensures that you get to choose dessert and coffee.
As this is such a small setup, La Petite Cuisine only accepts cash, a fact I was not aware of, resulting in a ten minute walk to the nearest ATM at Coronation Plaza. Also, they have a very inefficient method of taking orders, as you place each order at the counter (meaning you have to queue for your food, something I'd been hoping to avoid). You even pour your own water.
One of the cardinal rules of eating out is always order the type of food the restaurant was opened to serve. That means not ordering the foie gras at an Italian restaurant, and staying away from tiramisu at a French place.
I forgot this and went for the spaghetti ($8), which was a bit mushy from being overcooked, with only a small helping of bolognaise sauce, in keeping with the general small portions served. I suppose that's how they keep costs down.
At about 3pm, the chef himself had lunch at the restaurant, a rumbling Frenchman who inquired if there were any problems, whereupon, being told there were none, informed us he would have ignored them anyway. French humour.
La Petite Cuisine
#01-05 Serene Centre
10 Jalan Serene
Tel: 6314 3173
Service: 2/5 (there is none, really)
Overall: You'd do better with the French food, but good place for a quick cheap lunch to catch up with newspapers.