For starters, we shared the escargots with herb garlic butter - the snails were succulent though not very out of the ordinary, though I did like dipping my bread into the garlicky sauce.
The foie gras (about $17) was well done - crispy on the outside, and the innards soft, oozy and oily. I liked how the diced apple and salad went with the foie gras but I think that this was divided into 3 portions - and 1/3rd was just not as satisfying.
Mains - my main was the cassoulet ($28) which had a duck leg, pork belly and pork sausage cooked in a ramekin with cannoli beans. Acc to wikipedia - a cassoulet is a rich slow cooked dish originating from France. The duck leg wasn't gamey or too oily, and it was tender and the meat fell off the bone (no need to dissect with fork + knife!). The pork belly was a bit too salty for my liking, and I didn't particularly like the sausage. The sauce was robust, meaty and went really well with the cannoli beans - it was just like eating a high level baked bean (but much nicer texture, and richer flavour).
The star dish of the day was the very impressive pork belly. Wrapped in crispy bacon, the pork belly was luxuriously soft, bursting with flavour and literally melt in the mouth. The sweet and vinegary tomato sauce that accompanied it was a refreshing change from the usual savory brown sauces.
Paired with a lightly dressed side salad and super smooth mashed potato (I'm sure there's loads of butter hidden in this) it was the favourite dish of the night.
The duck confit was not bad as far as duck confits go, but I'm not a great fan of duck confit now after watching how it's made on one of the food channels... I suppose that if you're curious to know, you can always go and search 'how to make duck confit' and find out how they get the skin so deliciously crispy! Perhaps you'll be like me and try to avoid it after.
We shared the lavander infused creme brulee which tasted great (I'm a fan of all these floral infused desserts) but the texture was more of a pudding rather than proper creme brulee texture - if they could get the texture right this would be perfect. I liked how they dressed up the dessert with some fresh grapes and berries on the side - rather than the plain old boring creme brulee presentation at most restaurants.
I think it's a great place to have a casual, laid back weekend dinner - the place is really small so make a booking. They have very few staff - so service was markedly slower once the place filled up. Though I must commend them on placing a jug of cold water at every table so you don't have to keep calling them to top up your water. Overall, I really liked the French Ladle and would be back - perhaps for the pork belly :)
The French Ladle
Pandan Valley Condominium
2 Pandan Valley #01-206 Clementi