Last Saturday, the wifey and I decided to check out Saveur at Purvis Street. This restaurant aims to provide affordable French food to the masses (i.e. me). It started off as a kopitiam stall in the same vein as Astons, but you can't tell by the number of people queuing to get in. We had to wait for 45mins and that's even after we arrived early around 6.00pm. And, no, they don't take reservations.
If you're looking for a taste of French cuisine at very down-to-earth prices, this is the place for you. Where can you find foie gras and confit de canard at about $10 each? Even after having tried numerous permutations of foie gras in my food adventures (think foie gras sorbet etc), the ones we had were good - certaintly value for money. On first look, the duck looked a tad dry but once you get into the meat of things (pun intended), you'll find the crispness of the skin fits in perfectly with the tender meat. And its not oily to boot. The wifey had short ribs which tasted more like beef cheeks and reminded us of the boeuf bourguignon in Paris.
Dessert was another surprise. Check out my "Cookies and Milk". Not very appetizing on first glance, but once you dig into it, the cookies and cream ice-cream, peanut butter and grounded peanuts make for a delectable combination. You even get a tingling sensation to your ears when the frothed milk "pops" at the back of your throat. You don't find pistachio panna cotta very often. And Saveur's version is excellent. Not too sweet, and yet able to taste the nuts.
In conclusion, if you're looking for no frills French cuisine, this is the place for you. Don't expect the full French dining experience though. Unlike the bistros and restaurants in Paris, there's no free flow bread, no "carafe d'eau" and no coffee (a staple in every French meal). The prices are "small", so are the portions, so be careful about ordering too much. After all, as Shakespeare put it, "surfeit of the sweetest things, the greatest loathing to the stomach brings"; add "pocket" to that.