I was invited to experience La Résidence’s Ladies’ Night so I grabbed one of my dear friends and we headed over to Wafi.
This restaurant and lounge has an art deco, speakeasy feel that reminded me of New York’s new wave of cocktail bars. The interior is dark and atmospheric. The bar area has wood-panelled walls and maroon seating, while the dining room is dimly lit with chandeliers and candelabras. A selection of avant-garde art adorns the walls. A saxophonist and a guitarist perform live music putting a jazzy twist to old-time favourites.
We were the first to arrive so plonked ourselves at the bar. It was Ladies’ Night after all. I was planning on having a dry night but as soon as I saw the menu I changed my mind.
I have a soft spot for anything lemon meringue. And when I saw the bartender toast the meringue with a lighter, I knew I was going to fall in love with this drink.
Since we had 4 drinks vouchers each, we could just about sample everything on the abridged ladies’ night drinks menu. Below is the le mélange cocktail (vodka, merlot reduction, fig leaf and anise syrup, orange and piper) and the fruits et crème mocktail (vanilla yogurt, almond milk, caramel and cinnamon spice and pineapple foam). I didn’t even get a chance to have a look at the full drinks menu, but I will definitely be back to sample some of their other creations.
These drinks are stellar. The cocktail menu is inventive and each drink was prepared before our eyes with painstaking attention to detail. The bar is extensively stocked with many high-end spirits and ingredients created in house, such as the honeycomb-infused vodka. One of the master mixologists, in fact, is the former head bartender at Okku and was shortlisted as one of the top 5 bartenders in the region a few years back.
We were clearly in good company, and quite frankly, we were happy with our liquid dinner, but the hostess was eager to seat us at our table so on we proceeded to the dining room.
The consultant chef at La Résidence is Michelin-starred chef Frédéric Vardon. And as to be expected, the menu remains true to French tradition. On offer are classic French dishes like Niçoise salad, fois gras and duck à l’orange. The waitress explained that the dishes were meant for sharing, though some portion sizes were large, like the Niçoise salad, and some were quite small, like the Parisienne-style king crab.
The yellowtail tuna tartare was also quite large and arrived as a big mound. It was perfectly fine, but as someone who prefers bolder flavours and textures, it didn’t really do it for me. Had it been a smaller portion, I may have felt differently.
For mains, my friend ordered the scallops. I’d read a review from a fellow blogger who complained that the truffles were nowhere to be found. Clearly the kitchen took on board her feedback because they were very generous with the truffle shavings!
I can never resist duck à l’orange, and for me, this was one of the standout dishes. The platter arrived and it was massive (I guess they did say it was a whole duck). It was presented family-style and was definitely a sharing portion, but alas, my friend is pescatarian so I got to enjoy the whole thing on my own. The duck was a perfect medium rare, the orange sauce was subtle. I couldn’t finish all of it so we took some of it home and it was equally delicious the next day – eaten cold, cooked into an omelette, and tossed in a salad!
They say their signature dish is the macaroni and cheese with old vintage comté and truffle, so I ordered this as a side. But let’s just say I’d leave mac and cheese to the Americans.
While they claim the macaroni and cheese is one of their signature dishes, aside from the duck à l’orange, their real crowning glory is the French toast with salted caramel ice cream. This photo does not do this dessert justice. This French toast is made with a big fat piece of brioche made in house. Whatever you do, save space for this dessert!
The dinner was enjoyable, but where the explosion of flavours really takes place is at the cocktail bar – which makes it an even better choice for ladies’ night.
If you’re after a classy night out, this is definitely the place for you. Get ready to let out your inner Marlene Dietrich.
Verdict: If you love a good cocktail, this is the place to go. Great value on ladies’ night. Sit at the bar and make your way through the cocktail list.
Note to self: Leave the car at home!
Wafi Mall (at the entrance of Raffles Hotel)
Chow for now!