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Jul 20, 2012 09:33 AM

Singapore - @MADE by Bruno Menard

I first tasted Bruno Menard's cooking during a cooking demonstration-cum-lunch event at the Raffles Culinary Academy back in Feb 2009, together with veteran Toronto Chowhound, Charles Yu, and fellow Singaporean CH, Fourseasons. Bruno Menard's L'Osier in Tokyo held Three-Michelin-stars then. His food was an interesting fusion of French techniques with Japanese ingredients.

Fast forward to July 2012 and, lo & behold, we see a heftier, older-looking Bruno Menard, who'd quit the Tokyo dining scene to open a smallish, very casual eatery in Singapore's Pacific Plaza 4 days ago.

The menu was simple, consisting of a small selection of salads, burgers, toastoos (little toasts made using buckwheat crepes) and French fries.

What we tried:
- Chilli crab toastoo - creamy dressed crab with a (very) faint "chilli crab" flavor;
- Toastoo of the Farmer, which had a melted Raclette, ham and caramelised onion filling. Tasty but not bowl-me-over good;
- A burger with bacon-pork-chorizo patty, Shibazuke pickles, yuzu kosho (柚子胡椒) mayonnaise, Japanese cabbage & shitake mushrooms. Very exotic mix of ingredients, although it was served a bit cold. The accompanying fries, topped with truffle oil, was nice though.

Maybe I'd expected more from Chef Bruno Menard, but I guess this new spot can only get better.

Address details
@MADE by Bruno Menard
9 Scotts Road
#01-04/05/06 Pacific Plaza
Singapore 228210
Tel: +65 6238 5549

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  1. "Toastoos"? From L'Osier to "Toastoos"?

    9 Replies
    1. re: Uncle Yabai

      Well, he did look rather burnt-out from the last time I saw him in Singapore a few years back, so maybe he just wanted a 180 degree turn in the kind of cooking he wants done.

      1. re: klyeoh

        The "fast food" type stuff he puts out does seem to be priced higher than what they would cost in ordinary places in the US! But I imagine he uses high quality and expensive ingredients. The meat patty does look a bit small to me, though...

        Yes, fancy burgers like Boulud's burger at US$32 currently ( look in the lunch menu) cost more - and is only a shade above what seems to be charged for it (SGD$38) at his db Bistro at Marina Bay Sands in S'pore ( lunch menu). Interesting.

        1. re: klyeoh

          Perhaps that's his logic, but I find it career-limiting to go from being the chef at one of the world's finest restaurants to running a burger stand. L'Osier didn't close from the lack of customers or approval, but because Shisheido, the owner of the restaurant and the building, had to knock down the building to bring it up to earthquake code.

          1. re: Uncle Yabai

            I'm perplexed at Menard's decision, too. During an interview in Singapore, he did mention that his original intenton was to return to France after his 14-year stint in Japan. But appears that he had a change of heart and decided to try out Singapore, albeit with a drastically down-sized set-up. The seating's partially al fresco, whilst indoor seats included tables near the mall escalators.

            1. re: klyeoh

              Money, money, money. That's what it's all about. What better way to make a quick buck than stick your name to a casual joint in a country where labour costs are so low and people are still bedazzled by the magic of a big name?

              1. re: Julian Teoh

                my guess is that the bistro is his way of testing the market here? hmmm.

                in any case, i don't think many people here in singapore have heard of menard (or even l'osier, for that matter).

                1. re: akated

                  Actually, Menard has visited Singapore for cooking promotions on quite a few occasions over the last decade, including doing stints for the World Gourmet Summit in 2010, 2011 and 2012. And of course, you can count on the local birdcage-liners to slavishly cover the visits of a three-star chef (and they did!).

                  But like I said earlier, easily-impressed moneyed crowd, low business and personal tax rates, low costs of labour, what is there not to like?

                  1. re: Julian Teoh

                    Labor cost is not that low, and certainly many factors to dislike, top of the list would be the rental, logistic cost and shortage of labor...

                    1. re: FourSeasons

                      I think the Singapore F&B scene managed to alleviate much of the labour shortage problem by bringing in Filipinos. Nowadays, the restaurants in Singapore felt exactly like the ones in Dubai, which also have entire Filipino service crew.

                      I just took a peek at @Made out of curiousity yesterday - do they have 2 or 3 middle-aged French guys serving as well as the younger Filipino staff?

      2. Burgers? Not my cup of tea.