Burgundy has long been one of France’s most prominent winemaking regions, though, in the past few years, its popularity has skyrocketed in tandem with the prices of its vintages. This surge has made Burgundy synonymous with unapproachable luxury, seemingly alienating the bulk of wine drinkers. Gaston, a Burgundy-focused wine bar and bistro along Keong Saik wants to eliminate that stereotype by making the region accessible to the average consumer.
To do so, general manager and Burgundian Geoffrey Daurelle has imported the spirit of his native countryside into Gaston by grounding the concept in family recipes and wines both known and obscure from the nuanced region.
The name “Gaston” is not a Beauty and the Beast reference, but the embodiment of an amiable French grandfather who makes you feel right at home. To channel that personality into space, Gaston has opted for a palette of raw and dark wood furnishings with touches of navy, as well as exposed brick walls — a homely combination that hits the sweet spot between rustic and refined.
Naturally, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir form a significant part of the 350 labels sold at Gaston, of which 15 are available by the glass. This doesn’t spell uniformity in offerings, as Burgundy alone has 1,463 different microclimates that result in drastically varied wine profiles. Instead, Gaston offers wine amateurs and enthusiasts a place to explore how wine can transform based on where the grapes are grown by comparing the same varietal from different vineyards.
Daurelle is more than willing to recommend wines to pair with the food you order, so do seek his expertise when you’re there.
French cocktails like kir and kir royale, along with Normandian cider are also on the menu should you need a break from wine.
The kitchen is run by Chef Julius Soo Thoo, an alumnus of Iggy’s and L’Atlelier de Joël Roubouchon. His familiarity with French cuisine and culinary techniques is the perfect fit for adapting Daurelle’s family and childhood recipes into the soulful plates on Gaston’s menu.
The most well-known dish from Burgundy is boeuf bourguignon, and Daurelle has translated his mother’s recipe for Singaporean diners. Rich red wine sauce imbued with earthy mushrooms and salty thick cuts of French bacon nestle tender cubes of beef chuck, all served on a bed of sinful mashed potatoes done Joël Roubouchon style, where potatoes are creamed with an equal amount of French butter.
Another renowned French staple, escargot, gets made in an authentically Burgundian fashion. Snails are de-shelled and housed in flaky pastry curls that add texture to the meat generously slathered with herbed butter. Fans of escargot will appreciate the convenience of Gaston’s version, which makes the garlicky mouthful even more moreish.
Those unaware of the diverse landscape of French food wouldn’t expect pasta to be a standout in a French bistro, which make the ravioles de royans la cancoillotte a serious surprise. The vegetarian plate houses miniaturised ravioli, a Royans staple, filled with milky cancoillotte cheese and herbs. The tangy crème fraîche sauce and slivers of zucchini alleviate the dish from being too rich as they accentuate the layered saltiness each bite of pasta offers, so you can polish a plate off on your own, easy.
There are more French restaurants and wine bars in Singapore than one can count, but Gaston expertly distinguishes itself by grounding its menu and wine list in approachable fares that still gives diners an opportunity to discover something new.
Tuesday to Saturday
12pm – 12am
5pm – 12am
Chanson Bourgogne Chardonnay 2016, Chablis Vieilles Vignes 2017, Pays d’Herault Le Loup dans la Bergerie 2017
S$50++ per pax with drinks