Thursday, June 02, 2005

Review: Petit Village

Two years ago, the Les Amis group was dealt a rather considerable blow when its executive chef, Justin Quek, decided to leave for greener pastures. Personally I think Les Amis is the most ridiculously overpriced restaurant in Singapore, but this isn't about them.

This is about Justin Quek's parting gift to the Singapore dining scene, an innocuous little restaurant in Liang Court called Petit Village. Billing itself as a salon de thé as well as a restaurant, Petit Village is meant to ape a quaint little Parisian cafe, where you can go to enjoy little tidbits of cheese and wine in addition to a hearty meal as you watch the world go by.

Like a little Parisian cafe, it is exceedingly difficult to find. It's hidden in an obscure corner of Daimaru, past counters selling sizzling skewered dog meat and shelves of indecipherable Japanese products. Had we not stopped to ask for directions we may never have located it.

It appears Justin has, at least, trained his staff well, and while they were not quite Les Amis standard, they were at least helpful, polite and didn't slop wine all over you.

In its quest for realism, Petit Village is a little over-realistic in terms of floor space: there is a chronic lack of it. It's very claustrophobic, with some painted walls and random Gallic (and galling) decorations.

The food, unfortunately, did little to correct this impression. All plat du jour dishes had been exhausted by dinner, which either meant they were so popular or that the restaurant had so few customers they couldn't be bothered to plan for dinner. Looking at the number of people in the restaurant, the latter was probably more likely.

The remaining dishes were sorely lacking in imagination and variety, with only poultry and fish to choose from. I decided to start with escargots ($10), since they're a fairly rare sight in Singapore. These weren't too spectacular (3/5), though I cannot now remember exactly what I thought was missing.

Considering the lack of main courses, the duck confit ($28) was the obvious, and only, choice. While this was better than average (3.5/5), I felt it still did not approach the sublime quality of melting in your mouth, and for that price there wasn't enough of it.

I see that, unusually, I did not have dessert. This either means that by that time, we were eager to go, or that there were hardly any desserts worth eating, which I suppose amounts to the same thing.

Petit Village (French)
177 River Valley Road
Basement 1, Liang Court Shopping Centre
Tel: 6338 3812
Location: 2/5
Ambience: 2/5
Service: 4/5
Food: 3/5
Overall: Not worth the effort it takes to find the place

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