Sitting inconspicuously between the well-manicured Thai Embassy and frowzy Orchard Towers – which has, in recent times, lost some of its debauched allure – Palais Renaissance recalls languorous afternoons of preening and buffing.
The faded shopping centre/wellness destination features a clutch of aesthetic clinics and spas catering to the well-heeled and -bouffanted. And for those in the know, it’s a treasure trove with an intimate whiskey bar and Japanese yakiniku restaurant serving prime cuts of A5 Wagyu. Also home to PS.Cafe and Merci Marcel outlets, the mall has undergone a mini renaissance of sorts in the gourmet scene. Here’s what’s new.
Stepping into the tunnel-like interior of this gastro-bar clad wall-to-ceiling in curved timber panelling is akin to stepping into a hip speakeasy. The 45-seater is decked out with a copper archway framing tinted glass doors and brown leather banquette seats. And like most modern speakeasy-style bars, it comes paranthesised with a somewhat contrived concept – Binary’s references the cosmos.
But if you can look beyond that, their menu is nonetheless intriguing, with more than 60 wine labels, an exclusive beer from local brewery Rye & Pint, and signature cocktails including Chrysanthemum Tea – house-made chrysanthemum tincture, kaffir lime and lemongrass infusion, and Grand Marnier, topped up with tonic. Food here bears both Eastern and Western influences, so expect small plates such as octopus in pesto alla Genovese or “Lao Gan Ma” chilli crisp and tiger prawns offered as the Spanish classic tapas gambas al ajillo, or as prawn fritters with togarashi mayonnaise.
Siam Smith Noodle Bar
Brought to you by the same folk behind fuss-free dining chains such as ThaiExpress, Sanook Kitchen and Poulet, this new noodle bar draws inspiration from the street vendors of Southern Thailand. Specialities include the beef noodles in a full-bodied broth that’s been simmered for hours with a blend of spices and herbs, creamy Tom Yum noodles and Thai Hainanese chicken noodle soup – an interesting twist on a local favourite. You’ll also find the usual suspects, such as the holy basil minced chicken blanketing a bowl of rice and crispy prawn cake, alongside less predictable creations such as a Thai seafood pie served with fries.
Also set to open within Palais Renaissance is the Merci Marcel Group’s creperie, which – if the flagship French Fold at Telok Ayer is anything to go by – won’t be just a sweet afterthought. The ever-buzzing bistro in the CBD majors in dessert crepes and savoury galettes. They are made from wheat and buckwheat flour respectively, which according to the restaurant, is sourced from Brittany and whisked together with organic eggs.
We’re hoping to see an affordable wine list (it can be easy to go overboard with the fresh and floral Chateauneuf du Pape AOC 2018 – Chateau Mont Redon), their No.9 galette filled with Reblochon cheese, Bayonne ham, baby potatoes, pancetta, and white wine-pickled onions, and biophilic design sensibilities.