Thursday, November 8, 2007

Interesting Shops in Tiong Bahru

The Straits Times - Urban Section
8 November 2007
Tan Hsueh Yun

MARCHE CACHE: Shirley Tang and Stephane Herve invite you to sample their wares, like the Emmanuelle Baillard juices and nectars and the clementines in vanilla syrup.

With so many gourmet shops popping up all over the island - selling meats, cheeses, vegetables, fruit and gourmet groceries - it is quite possible to do like chi-chi Europeans do and patronise only small shops.

The latest one to open has all the fixings for dinner and then some.

At three-week-old Le Bon Marche in Tiong Bahru, you can get some plump chicken, luscious San Marzano tomatoes on the vine, French cheeses, anchovies from Barcelona and premium smoked salmon - champagne-glazed no less - from French brand Labeyrie.

Soon, there will be Donegal oysters from Ireland.

The shop is run by Stephane Herve, 37, who was a chef at various restaurants and a food division manager at gourmet chain Culina.

He and his wife Shirley Tang, also 37, provide the kind of friendly, knowledgeable service lacking in Singapore.

Try some nectarine juice, they'll say. Want a taste of anchovies? How about some cheese?

Shopping here is such a pleasure, with new things to discover on every shelf.

I highly recommend the Emmanuelle Baillard juices and nectars.

Emmanuelle Baillard juices and nectars

For people who don't want to drink wine with dinner but want something more exciting than water, try the Chardonnay grape juice ($6.50 for a 250ml bottle).

It is pressed from the same type of grapes used to make the wine and the non-alcoholic juice has a light, floral scent that's quite irresistible.

The raspberry nectar ($6.90 for a 250ml bottle) has a deep berry flavour which makes it a great cocktail mixer.

I also like the clementines in vanilla syrup ($13.50 for a 150g jar).

Clementines in vanilla syrup

The slices of small mandarin oranges taste so tangy and fresh on buttered toast.

Or use them to top a lemon curd tartlet.

If you like gingerbread, pick up some Mulot & Petitjean gingerbread with apricot ($21 for a 200g box).

The little round cakes are lightly and aromatically spiced.

Bite through the thin shell of cake and the decadent apricot jam starts spilling out.

Tiong Bahru has always been a magnet because of its old-style architecture and the great food served in atmospheric coffee shops.

Herve says it was this charm that drew them to the neighbourhood. I'm hoping they stay a while.

Le Bon Marche, 78 Guan Chuan Street, 01-41, tel: 6226-3269. Opening hours: 10am to 7.30pm (Mondays to Saturdays), 11am to 5pm (Sundays). Closed on Wednesdays.

No comments: