Keto dieters might disagree, but I love my carbs, so when I first had the Ravioles de Royan over at French-chic cafe Merci Marcel, of a dumpling pasta stuffed with rich Tête De Moine cheese, I was sold — consider me an avid fan and a devourer of ravioli, no sharing! French Fold, the Merci Marcel Group’s latest dining establishment, is a totally different concept though. Still as chic in a Telok Ayer shophouse setting, but with a keen focus on one particular type of food — the French galette.
Similar to a crêpe, the galette is a thinly folded pancake cooked on a wide round griddle, and holds savoury ingredients of typically eggs, ham, and cheese. French Fold also does theirs with exclusively imported buckwheat flour, using gluten-free recipes paired with quality ingredients from France, in both classic and new flavours that’ll keep you going back for more.
Step into the casual restaurant and you’ll be impressed by the earthy tones and lush greenery cleverly incorporated into contemporary design elements, including dark grey Italian terracotta tiles from Italy, or a natural skylight that softens the space.
What’s different here is all-day dining. While we might usually associate galettes with brunch food, they’re welcoming us from morning all the way to evening. Daytime coffee’s roasted with beans from Tiong Hoe Specialty Coffee, while there’s also a bar that serves alcoholic drinks, organic wines, and organic ciders to accompany your dinner.
I was there for dinner, and found myself spoilt for choice while staring at a menu of 11 galettes ($8 – $22), from No. 01 to No. 11, named somewhat efficiently like the characters from The Umbrella Academy. What I can tell you about the galette though is how unfussy it is. You just can’t go wrong with cheese, eggs, and hams, no matter the combination, though there are obviously enough subtle differences and innovative add-ons for variety.
My first choice was No. 04 ($17), which folds ham, a sunny side-up organic egg, sautéed mushrooms, and Comté cheese into the centre. Well-balanced and savoury, this was a delight on the tongue, especially when combined with the soft golden-brown buckwheat galette, just crispy enough on the edges. Though very thin, it still managed to hold the ingredients in place so you’ll be getting the most out of each bite. I also found the mushrooms a nice earthy touch to that classic savoury combination.
On the buckwheat galette itself, I did notice that there was a slightly earthy taste that lets the savoury ingredients shine; it wasn’t underwhelming at all, and I like that it wasn’t there to overpower too. French Fold’s galettes are done the traditional way, by spreading them on a wide bilig, with a wooden râteau, similar to those in French creperies, lending even more authenticity to the menu.
My second option was No. 09 ($19), of Reblochon cheese, organic Bayonne ham, baby potatoes, pancetta, and white wine pickled onions. The more complex galette was definitely heavier on the palate, but still as tasty. They do taste quite different though — the potatoes added a more creamy texture to the dish compared to the traditional options, while both the ham and pancetta delivered punchy flavour, one that’s balanced out with sweet onions. If you’re a light eater, you might want to share this with someone. If you ask me, I do prefer the “lighter” taste of No. 05, which I could keep going at, but this is a nice second option to have too.
For the sweets, I just had to start with the classic. French Fold’s crêpes ($7 – $11) are made with wheat flour, which better complements the sweet ingredients, and this simple brown sugar butter crêpe ($7) is served with butter from Maison Beillevaire, with options of classic butter, salted butter and lemon butter. Hoping for a citrus kick, I went with lemon butter.
Let’s just say, if you like roti prata with sugar, or your traditional kopitiam butter-and-sugar toast, you’ll fall for this, hard. The winning combination was just divine, as I enjoyably crunched into the brown sugar crystals, then sunk my teeth into the fluffy crêpe. The butter was light and fragrant, with just the faintest hint of citrus. I can see this being my go-to order every time.
A more ‘gram-worthy dish though would be the crêpe with poached pear, Valrhona 70% chocolate, and homemade whipped cream ($12). It was a put-together dessert, where the poached pear gave both a sweet and fresh edge to the combination of flour and rich chocolate. The crêpe itself was thinly sliced and chewy, and not overly sweet too.
For all the crêpes, you can choose to top them off with Birds of Paradise’s well-loved botanical gelatos, you know, if you ever needed to up the intensity. With both savoury galettes and sweet crêpes on the menu to satisfy this dessert lover, I’m crowning this my new hangout spot.
French Fold, 204 Telok Ayer Street.
Opening Hours: 8am – 10:30pm (Mon – Sun)
Banner and dining space images, credit: French Fold.