Le Petit Cancale is a quaint little restaurant located on Duxton hill that serves French-style seafood, but its ambience far outweighs its food.
“An ocean platter and grill restaurant” is how Le Petit Cancale’s website describes the tastefully decorated eatery. Done up in interior decoration that screams ‘French!’, Le Petit Cancale exudes an ambience very different from its noisier neighbours in the same row. Couples looking for a nice night out will appreciate Le Petit Cancale, though the tables seem to be set a little too close together for comfort.
Le Petit Cancale’s menu can be confusing at first glance. They have a happy hour section as well as an a la carte section, though these are not very well denoted. Fortunately the server we got was extremely helpful. The house specialty is seafood, naturally, so my party of two decided to go with a chilled seafood sharing platter to start. Though we didn’t try these, another specialty of Le Petit Cancale’s seems to be the oysters – they have a variety of oysters, including rarer types you don’t typically see in other restaurants. These rarer oysters can cost up to S$22 a piece! Apart from the seafood sharing platter we also ordered a main each, as well as a dessert to share.
The seafood platter was presented very well, with the ice-laden dish balanced atop a stand. Dipping sauces were served in the space left beneath the stand. However the dish’s presentation belied its taste. Though the seafood was fresh and tasty, four of the six dipping sauces were cream based, and went poorly with the fresh seafood. Only a vinegar and garlic sauce complemented the cold dish. Nonetheless, the freshness of the seafood made up for the lack of zing in the sauces. The tuna tartare was a huge disappointment, though. It was little more than a bowl of chopped raw tuna, with the only variation in taste being some chopped greens mixed in with it.
My main was nothing to shout about either. The grilled scallops in mushroom sauce were done well, but were small; the dish on a whole was lacking in substance, with no carb staples. The mushroom sauce was overpowering and ended up being too strong to eat with just the veggie bed.
Le Petit Cancale’s dessert saved the meal somewhat. My order of a caramel lava cake took its time in coming, but I could forgive it for being late, what with perfectly done caramel oozing out of the lava cake. It came accompanied with a scoop of light salted caramel ice cream. The lava cake itself tasted a little plasticky, but the caramel was good and rich, and went great with the ice cream.
At the end of the dinner, I felt a little snubbed that the restaurant’s service seemed to have ended the moment our dessert was served. Also, considering that Le Petit Cancale is a restaurant that seems to pride itself on service, I was disappointed that after-dinner tea or coffee was not served.
And so the verdict? Le Petit Cancale is a nice place to bring a date, but is definitely not somewhere you’d want to go for good eats. The dessert is yummy, but I’m sure you can get better – with better mains – elsewhere.
Le Petit Cancale
37 Duxton Hill