Review: BTM Mussels & Bar Brings a Taste of European Charm to Duxton

Review: BTM Mussels & Bar Brings a Taste of European Charm to Duxton

This laid-back spot in Duxton serves up summery vibes and some of the best mussels in town

This is BTM Mussels & Bar, where French bouchot mussels, their plump orange flesh peeping through cast iron pots, sit in heady sauces – all 250 of them. Escargot, redolent with aromas of butter, parsley, and garlic, laying atop Alsatian oven-baked flatbreads. And European drinking traditions –crisp whites, sangrias and invigorating fruit-infused beers – that will impress even the most seasoned imbibers frequenting Singapore’s perennial drinking hole of Duxton Hill at affordable price points.

Life is good.

Photo: Jessica Chan

Olivier Bendel, chef-restaurateur behind Déliciae Hospitality Management and, subsequently, L'Entrecôte and Sabio by the Sea, based his approach on his first job at a French moules-frites (mussels and fries) restaurant chain. It was during this 10-year-long stint that he innovated 250 mussel recipes, ranging from amped up classics to Asian fusions.

The menu rotates between seven flavours ($36/500g; $48/750g; $58/1Kg), with more popular options forming the mainstays. I say the Marinières belongs in that camp. As the sweet yet briny flesh absorbs the white white-lacked garlicky broth, they make for a glorious slurp. Looking for a more robust pot? Look forward to the Ardennaise teeming with mushrooms and fatty bacon. Pair this with the Lychee-infused Beer ($10 during Happy Hour; $12).

Just as sumptuous is the Thailandaises, served with herbs and spices ubiquitous in Thai cuisine, giving us a shallow pool of aromatic broth made for soaking your crisp golden frites in. The flavour is delicate at first, revealing its complex layers of sweet, sour and spice.

Tartes Flambées. Photo: Jessica Chan

For starters, consider the Tartes Flambées or, as they’d like to call it, the “elegant French alternative to pizza” and small plates. Well-executed croquettes in four delectable flavours grace the menu, with the Truffled Porcini Croquette and Jamon Croquettes being my favourites.

Waffle “BTM”. Photo: Jessica Chan

Mussels aside, the desserts alone warrant a return trip. While it doesn’t stray far from tradition, these over-indulgent treats are just what one needs while nursing its list of French wines. Grand Marnier et Oranges Confites Soufflé comes with generous shot of Grand Marnier, and the Waffle “BTM” rewards palates with the heavenly marriage of vanilla bean ice cream, hot chocolate sauce and Chantilly cream.

Olivier has taken a gamble, bringing yet another convivial drinking spot to the already crowded Duxton Hill area, but with a menu that strong and affordable I daresay he has hit the jackpot.

Related article: 10 Must Try Seafood Recipes

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