TLDR: Eating here for the sake of eating bougie and $12 burgers does Brasserie Astoria injustice.
Brasserie Astoria’s Victoria Theatre outlet is perhaps the most controversial restaurant in Singapore today. The reason? Its Golden Hour promotion, where you can eat $12 dishes at a bougie restaurant. For a fraction of what you normally pay for experiences crafted by 3 Michelin Star chef Bjorn Frantzen, you’d really jump the gun. But if dining at a bougie restaurant is all what you’re after, you’re making a huge mistake.
Because Brasserie Astoria in Stockholm, Sweden, is well reknowned for its dishes that you won’t find in the Golden Hour menu. If you do happen to have the budget and curiosity to try out Swedish cuisine and even Nordic cocktails, don’t limit yourself to just paying $12 and saying you’ve been there, done that.
If you’re curious what Brasserie Astoria Singapore serves during the Golden Hour promotion (3-5pm), here’s the menu:
Smashed burgers, margherita pizza and garlic bread at SGD 12? The garlic bread at regular hours also cost SGD 12. Why would you eat burgers at a Frantzen-owned restaurant?
Get the Toast Astoria (SGD 32) an elevated homage to the Toast Skagen, Sweden’s humble starter typically made with prawns atop buttered toast. You’d be surprised that the roots of Skagen originated decades after World War II. Swedish restaurateur Tore Wretman reinvents Swedish culinary traditions as homecooking takes a backseat post WWII. Smorrebrod is a close relative to the otherwise party-centric Skagen, when locals would prepare a meal out of rye bread scraps and topping it with the freshest ingredients — shrimps, crabs salad, roe. (If you want something cheaper, accessible, less fancy, there’s Smorrebrod at Overbrod cafe.)
Named after a fishing port on the northern tip of Denmark, the key to Toast Skagen is freshness. Brasserie Astoria delivers a somewhat fresh rendition (we all know how Singapore imports its ingredients and we’re so far away from the Nordics) with Norwegian king crab, trout roe and ikura with sprigs and pickled red onion atop buttered toast. I like the wasabi aioli kick best and the lime on the side isn’t necessary, except to eliminate the fishiness of the seafood.
If you’re a huge group, the Garlic Bread a la Astoria also works well as a Gourmandise without stretching your budget to far at SGD 12. The adventurous foodie in you might want to try out the Butter fried Raraka (SGD 36), which is the Swedish version of the Swiss rosti.
Brasserie Astoria is somewhat traditional, so you can order steaks flambeed tableside with whisky, albeit, far from your table but enough to witness the theatrics of fire. Angus costs SGD 72, Wagyu at SGD 110, so the experience doesn’t come cheap. So if the price is tres cher for you, the Iberico Pork (SGD 48) is a fantastic main to order that’ll give you a taste of the Swedish chef’s prowess.
I thought the vin jaune (yellow wine) sauce was a bit too much and made sour and saltier even further with capers. Bjorn Frantzen’s preference for the artichoke is punctuated in its artichoke puree on the side. The hazelnuts were a welcome crunch but placed on the Iberico Pork and it becomes all too much. The meat of course is fatty as ever, so to those who like a lean meat, this may not be for you.
For dessert you’ll find that 3 Michelin star Restaurant Zen permeates into Brasserie Astoria with its heart-shaped pistachio waffles with oolong ice cream (SGD 20). Waffles are not in the Sweden outpost, so for traditionalists like me, I would skip dessert. The public doesn’t see this as a standout dish either.
Brasserie Astoria merits a repeat from me, though the service isn’t Michelin star. I’m curious to try out the Artichoke à la barigoule (SGD 48) (which is the most popular dish in Stockholm), the Moules a la creme (SGD 42) and the Linguine a la Astoria (SGD 56) which comes with bafun uni and clams. But then, moving on, there’s a long laundry list of restaurants for me in Singapore.
Brasserie Astoria, Victoria Theatre, Singapore
Address: 11 Empress Pl, Singapore 179558
Opening Hours: Sunday – Thursday 12:00pm – 2:30pm, 6:00 – 10:00pm, Friday and Saturday Golden Hour 3:00pm – 5:00pm
Official Website: brasserieastoria.sg