We like Saveur a lot. It's consistently good and easy on the wallet; a reliable go-to for French homecooking. Suffice it to say, we had somewhat high expectations of its luxed-up sister concept, Saveur Art.
Located at the 4th floor of ION Orchard, Saveur Art is notably more fancy. The restaurant would still be considered relatively casual, but stacked up against Saveur, Art's decked out with frills - a basic cheese cart, pretty chandeliers, and plush couches which lend to its lush appeal.
Correspondingly, the menu at Saveur Art is ritzier, where haute cuisine is served alongside traditionally peasant fare, with the use of premium ingredients. But that's where the Saveur group loses its edge. As a cheap and modest option catering to the mass market, their value-for-money-ness makes for a winning formula like no other. But as an affordable upstart in a landscape saturated with French fine-dining options, Saveur Art just can't compete. Prices may be cheaper than, say, at French heavyweights Gunther's or Les Amis, but the food pales in stark comparison. And, as a general policy, I'd rather pay more to eat better. Evidently, the crowds agree. I hardly ever see Saveur Art a full-house, whereas Saveur at Far East Plaza regularly packs in a maximum capacity daily.
There were just 2 standouts in our dinner at Saveur Art, 1 of which was the Egg Confit ($12), a dish unique to Saveur Art. Comprising a soft boiled egg draped on a truffled potato mousseline, this was dotted with macadamias and finished off with brown butter.
The Lobster Angel Hair Pasta ($15) was the deluxe version of the prawn pasta at Saveur. Topped with poached lobster, ikura, crispy shrimplets, and sprinkles of espelette pepper, this was decent but unmemorable.
The Grilled Foie Gras ($20) suffered from a lack of quality. I don't think it was the lack of skill; rather, it was that the piece of goose liver was less than melty. That was regrettable, as the honey lemongrass glaze and berry compote was quite the inspired twist. And that homemade brioche, wow, was it delicious.
The Snapper Grenobloise ($30), thick and meaty and studded with garlic croutons, was overwhelmed by the briny tang of the capered shallot mix. I like capers, but yikes, this was just too much of a good thing.
The other outstanding dish was the Crispy Duck Leg Confit ($20), a polished version of the one at Saveur, with roasted baby potatoes, lardons, horseradish cabbage, and a sumptuous jus. I say, forget about the Saveur Art line, and bring this over to the Saveur eateries.
The Chocolate & Pistachio ($14) was gorgeous like a painting. Crunchy Guanaja chocolate fondant balls were a lovely textural contrast to the fluffy tanariva mousse, while caramelised ivory, araguani chips, pistachio ice-cream completed the dessert confection. I particularly liked the pop rocks sprinkled all over, it was quite the delightful party in my mouth.
2 Orchard Turn
ION Orchard #04-11
Tel: 6634 1141
Open daily from 12noon to 9.30pm