We indulge in contemporary gastronomy at OSTERIA BBR by Alain Ducasse at Raffles Singapore, the latest addition to the doyen chef’s galaxy of restaurants

The stunning open kitchen at OSTERIA BBR by Alain Ducasse


The Story
Inimitable French-born Monégasque chef Alain Ducasse needs no introduction. The first chef to have three restaurants awarded with three Michelin stars at the same time, his reputation precedes him. Both chef and creator, his restaurant empire spans numerous cuisines. In 2019, Ducasse opened his first restaurant in Singapore, BBR by Alain Ducasse at Raffles, a grill and sharing-plates concept specialising in Mediterranean classics. But the pandemic closed its doors for good.

This past August, Ducasse makes a much-anticipated comeback with the opening of OSTERIA BBR by Alain Ducasse. A dining outfit inspired by his travels along the Italian Riviera for over 25 years, guests can look forward to an authentic osteria experience in the heart of Singapore.

The Food & Drinks
Treated to an eight-course tasting menu, we sampled a curation of original creations, including two desserts. Starting with an off-menu marinated mackerel with red chicory (radicchio) and roasted zucchini, this one-bite hors d’oeuvre was deliciously savoury.

Marinated mackerel with red chicory and roasted zucchini

Next, a Mazara del Vallo red prawn tartare with creamy buffalo mozzarella, fine jelly and Kristal caviar. Each mouthful was infused with sumptuous brininess, and the dollop of caviar mixed with the seafood broth-jelly topped off the different textures beautifully.

Mazara del Vallo red prawn tartare with creamy buffalo mozzarella, fine jelly and Kristal caviar

The third course featured marinated sea bream and Amalfi lemon. Coming after the flavour-forward seafood openers, it seemed almost like a palate cleanser that was refreshingly light but a little too sour for my liking.

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Marinated sea bream and Amalfi lemon

Rounding off the antipasti presentation was a John Stone 28-day dry-aged beef carpaccio with pistachio cream, Italian buffalo ricotta and wild herbs. Guests can opt to add black truffle, which our versions had, and made the dish all the better for it. For those who don’t know, John Stone is an award-winning supplier of some of the finest dry-aged beef in the industry.

John Stone 28-day dry-aged beef carpaccio with pistachio cream, Italian buffalo ricotta and wild herbs

Moving on to the mains, we dug into a comforting number (and my favourite of the day) of Eliche di Gragnano pasta with Maine lobster, citrus and roasted eggplant. The spiral Gragnano is not a common choice amongst most local Italian menus, but a good one all the same for soaking up the sauce. This dish is quite filling so it’s quite ideal for sharing between two if you have other mains and dessert to go.

Eliche di Gragnano pasta with Maine lobster, citrus and roasted eggplant

The sixth course was the secondi in the form of ‘Crazy water’ seabass and clams in a light tomato broth. The origin of its name is unknown, but it may be because it’s cooked using seawater. The dish itself is not crazy at all—except for the crispy fish scales that would probably make people with trypophobia a tad uncomfortable—and was, in fact, simple and pure enough to really savour the meat and broth.

Crazy water’ seabass and clams in a light tomato broth

Lastly, it was time for dolci. First, homemade strawberry sorbet, followed by the signature baba with whipped cream and a dramatic pouring of limoncello. Whole cakes of it can be seen in a glass display on one side of the kitchen, making it a sight for sore eyes. To finally sink our teeth into the soft and sweet treat at the end of our feast was so satisfactory.

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Homemade strawberry sorbet and the signature baba with whipped cream and limoncello

Homemade strawberry sorbet and the signature baba with whipped cream and limoncello

It’s worth noting that the abovementioned dishes were selected from the a la carte menu, but there’s also a seven-course Menu Tentazioni (literal translation: temptation menu) with a wine pairing option.

The Hospitality
From the sommelier to the servers and general manager, every staff member dons classic white Adidas Stan Smith sneakers as part of their uniform, which I found unique. Service wise, the team is professional, detail-oriented and quick on their feet.

Location
BBR references the hotel’s historic Bar and Billiard Room, which was first established in 1896. Over the decades, the space has undergone many changes—even housing suites at one point in its storied past. As OSTERIA BBR by Alain Ducasse, the building enters a new chapter, while keeping its iconic floor tiles, massive windows and striking architecture.

The bar and lounge area

For Your Consideration
If you’re seeking comfort, homecooked-style Italian food, this is not the place for that. Here, the dishes are elevated through recipes which are more experimental and contemporary.

The Noteworthy
Guests can appreciate that the restaurant is suitable for all kinds of groups and occasions, from business lunches to family get-togethers and romantic dates. It’s also extremely spacious, comfortably furnished and welcoming. Even as a place to gather and have some cocktails and relaxed conversations, the lounge and bar areas are ideal spots.

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Chef de Cuisine Francesco Soletti

The open kitchen is one of the biggest you’ll ever come across and it’s a delight to be able to watch the chefs in action. Look out for Chef de Cuisine Francesco Soletti, who worked under the wings of Ducasse at the three Michelin-starred Le Louis XV-Alain Ducasse à l’Hôtel de Paris Restaurant. Soletti brings with him a decade of culinary experience, having worked all over the world at numerous Michelin-starred restaurants.

The Summary
Raffles Singapore hits it out of the park again with another exciting dining concept, no less from one of the world’s foremost chefs with a stunning 21 Michelin stars under his apron.

The Menu Tentazioni (S$108++ per guest) showcases a medley of seven signature creations. At lunch, guests may also opt for a 2- course (S$36++ per guest) or 3-course (S$42++ per guest) menu option.

Thursday to Monday: 12pm to 2.30pm for lunch and 6pm to 9.45pm for dinner. The bar is open from 12pm to 10pm (Happy Hour from 3pm to 8pm). Closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Open on public holidays.

Staff
Attentive and detail-oriented

Food & Drinks
Refreshing and innovative

The luxe factor is:

10 Location
8 Service
8 Dining
8.7
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