O’Batignolles @ Gemmil Lane (Singapore)

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Setting
O’Batignolles at the junction of Club Street and Gemmil Lane

A bevy of bars à vins has appeared across our city state and holding court at the junction of Gemmil Lane and Club Street  is O’Batignolles by young Parisian owners, Antoine Rouland and Marie-Charlotte Ley. Named for Batignolles village in Paris’ 17th arrondisement where the couple lived for 6 years, O’Batignolles dishes out down-to-earth Gallic charm to a predominantly drink-and-snack clientele via 2 units of plainly dressed shop houses. There is no zinc-topped bar counter to speak of, no antiques nor Drucker wicker chairs; just a smallish bar counter with a clutter of tables that pack in 35 indoors plus a smattering of high tables dotting the five foot way that cater to the drink-and-smoke crowd. Given the open setting, expect puffs of second-hand smoke to drift indoors – take it or leave it, it’s part of the Parisian wine bar experience.

What to expect?

Wines at O’Batignolles – Photo courtesy of O’Batignolles

The spotlight at O’Batignolles is the 80-label French wine list dominated by small independent wine makers; of these 75% are exclusive to Singapore and about 25% are biodynamic and natural wines. Those who rather not commit to a bottle may defer to one of 15 types of wines available by the glass.

Food, on the other hand, takes on secondary importance. A gimmick-free menu offers comfort snacks comprising “platters”, “salads”, “small plates” and “big plates” at moderate prices.

Mixed platter of cold cuts and French cheeses at O’Batignolles

While many at O’Batignolles stick to wines paired with a platter – we suggest the mixed platter for the array of cold cuts and French cheeses served with a breadbasket (S$26) – there are plenty of choices for those who intend to make a meal out of their visit here.

La Salade d’Anne at O’Batignolles

Quiche laraine at O’Batignolles

La Salade d’Anne (S$15), named for Rouland’s vegetarian sister, is a hearty toss of couscous soaked-in savoury ratatouille – eggplant, zucchini and capsicum – with feta cheese and a drizzle of reduced balsamic vinegar dressing. This generous bowl of lettuce-free salad could well be a meal in itself but you wouldn’t want to miss the warm Quiche Lorraine (S$13), a well-seasoned bacon and cheese tart that stands out from the crowd with a light texture and rich taste that doesn’t cloy. 

French burger with potato gratin at O’Batignolles

 
For the carnivores, there’s also the French Burger (S$22), an ensemble of beef patty in white wine sauce layered with melted Comte cheese and not-too-soft buns – a rendition that we enjoy far more to the over-the-top American variety.

Rouland and Ley seem to have hit the jackpot with O’Batignolles – simple food and affordable wines served in a non-threatening setting. Of course, the right location doesn’t hurt.

We can’t wait to see what’s up the couples’ sleeves next. Till then, the rumour mill has it that O’Batignolles is tweaking the weekend brunch menu  – that demands a return visit soon.

O’Batignolles | 2 Gemmil Lane | Tel: 65-6438 3913

For picture story, visit www.facebook.com/bibikgourmand

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© Evelyn Chen 2013

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