Known for its affordable French fare, with popular signatures like duck confit and sakura ebi pasta, Saveur is a name most of us are familiar with. Essentially, the local brand offers decent grub at affordable prices, and has done so unceasingly for the past couple years.
But sometimes, too much of the same thing, no matter how good it is, can result in diners jumping ship. So in an attempt to branch out a little, backed by a new team in the kitchen, Saveur launched its new concept, Frapasbar. Think French-style tapas in a casual setting paired with a selection of classic cocktails.
The restaurant recently opened at two locations, Century Square and The Cathay, but let’s focus on the more central one for the sake of accessibility. Revamping its already existing spot at the mall, the space isn’t that different from before, but the same can’t be said of the menu.
Sure, crowd favorites like the aforementioned two dishes still remain on the line-up, but the rest of the slots are taken up by small plates that, in typical Saveur style, don’t skimp on flavor or try to burn a hole in your pocket.
Come prepared to nibble on a bit of everything, because you’ll wanna sample a variety across the menu, starting with light bites such as melons and parma ($14), trio of scallops ($16), duck rillette dumplings ($7), and crabmeat croquette ($9).
Hearteningly, you’ll find most items stay below $10, with nothing venturing above $22, which is the price tag for a lip-smackingly luscious dish called Sophia’s Risotto. Created by one of the chef’s daughters, the recipe tastes like otah risotto, topped with generous hunks of crabmeat. It’s creamy, but not overly so, with a hint of a kick from the chilli – definitely not your usual pasta.
However, if you’re avoiding carbs, you’re in luck. Meats feature heavily on the menu, including a rich beef stew in red wine ($14), made velvety with Valrhona chocolate. And for a different take on schnitzel, try the pork cutlet rendition ($13), which comes coated in cereal for a crunchier bite. Otherwise, order the rosemary smoked chicken ($9) or steak with roasted potatoes ($18) for more protein.
On the seafood side, you can get squid stuffed with French onion rice ($18), garlic prawns ($12), salmon tartare ($9), and seafood bouillabaisse pasta ($16), while the more indulgent options include foie gras with apricot purée ($12) and escargot on bone marrow ($20).
Wash it all down with familiar cocktails like negronis, mojitos, margaritas, and martinis, all of which go for $9, because apparently happy hour never ends here. If you’ve got room for dessert, the lemon tart ($9) has a citrus zing that jolts you awake from your food coma, while the crème brulee ($8) is infused with a pleasant hint of Earl Grey.
Just like your usual Saveur experience, a meal here falls in line with what the brand is known for – homely French food that has all the trimmings of class but without the exorbitant price tag. With its mass appeal, it’s a solid spot for laid-back dates or group get-togethers.
Frapasbar by Saveur is at #01-11/12 The Cathay, 2 Handy Rd.
6735-1141. Sun-Thurs noon-1am, Fri-Sat noon-2am.
MRT: Dhoby Ghaut.
This article, Saveur’s new concept pairs French-style tapas with classic cocktails at its Cathay space, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. For more Coconuts stories, you can download our app, sign up for our newsletters, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.