BBR by Alain Ducasse
Time Out says
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Alain Ducasse’s first casual Mediterranean concept in Southeast Asia
The doors of Raffles Hotel’s Bar & Billiards Room have welcomed quite a few notable guests over the years. Among the most memorable is a tiger that sought refuge after escaping from a nearby circus. And more than 100 years later, another newsworthy individual is at the restaurant's door: celebrated chef Alain Ducasse.
He is so important that the name of the 122-year-old restaurant is condensed into acronyms to make space for his. It’s undoubtedly a big name – one that’s responsible for 21 Michelin stars across the world, and one that’s fitting enough to take over the expansive 235-seater space. He brings with him a Mediterranean touch – the menu draws from Portugal, Spain, Italy, and France.
Between the spacious interior and tall white columns, getting the attention of the staff from your terrazzo table can be tricky. Thankfully the food doesn’t take long to travel from the open kitchen to us. Of the starters, we like the Bunuelos de Bacalao ($15), or salt cod fritters the most. Light, crispy batter gives way to a soft, creamy filling that comes studded with generous chunks of fish.
On the other hand, the signature Pulpo a la Gallega ($28) fails to excite with mushy octopus and no bite. Also, skip the Margherita pizza ($15). Despite its thin crust and vibrant basil flavour, you can get better (and cheaper) renditions elsewhere. Fill up on the complimentary olive bread instead.
Resist finishing all of it and save some for your mains. The Cataplana de Marisco ($60) is a robust shellfish stew with pieces of fish, mussels, clams and two large carabinero prawns imparting their sweetness and rich crustacean flavour to the soup. But the seafood, while fresh, is shrivelled and overcooked. We much prefer the chicken ($68). The whole bird is served two ways: first, roasted with a layer of marinade beneath the bird’s skin. Second, thin and crisped in a refreshing salad.
With great expectations comes great responsibility. BBR by Alain Ducasse glimmers with potential instead of dazzling from the get-go. The restaurant has some way to go before it lives up to Alain Ducasse’s esteemed reputation.
Time Out Singapore reviews anonymously and pays for all meals. Read our restaurant review policy here. What the stars mean:
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1 Beach Rd
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