A lady sat at the bar counter, savouring a steaming pot of mussels, with sips of white wine in between; and she was in a world of her own. Get up close and personal with your 'mussels' at BTM (‘Back to Mussels’) Mussels & Bar, nestled in the quaint neighbourhood of Duxton Hill. A moules-frites concept by chef and restaurateur Olivier Bendel, BTM is a cosy and intimate space that serves up well sought after seasonal mussels sourced from France and across Continental Europe, cooked with original recipes created by Olivier himself.
During his first decade in the food and beverages industry, Olivier developed more than 250 original mussels recipes, and it was also during this time that he worked with some of the best mussel producers in the region. Those relationships continue, and together with his knowledge and understanding of mussels, you can expect good quality seasonal harvest each time you visit BTM. Picking mussels at the peak of their season, currently, the kitchen uses live Bouchot Mussels that are air-flown from Parcs Saint-Kerber in Cancale, Brittany (Northwest of France) to Singapore twice a week. 7 original recipes made it to the menu, available in portions of 500gm ($36), 750gm ($48) and 1kg ($58), and each style is served with French fries.
Marinieres 4.2/5, Thailandaises 4.2/5, Au Roquefort 3.8/5
Each recipe uses white wine, and each whiff of that savoury, winey aroma effusing from the broth as I brought it close to my face, was divine. Among all the different recipes, the style of preparation that will make one down the entire pot of 500gm on his own, I reckon would be Marinieres, the classic French style of preparation consisting of white wine, butter, parsley and onion. The light and elegant broth, infused with the juice from the mussels, didn't take long to get under my skin. Second to that would be the Thailandaises, a Thai-inspired concoction that will leave your tongue tingling with a bit of excitement. For a really bold option, and perfect for sharing, do consider Au Roquefort. The bits of the ‘the King of Blue Cheese’ swimming in the broth provides an extra oomph to the flavour.
Ardennaise is a more neutral option, which is prepared with mushrooms, fresh cream, white wine, butter, parsley, onion and bacon. The bacon was supposed to lend a depth of smokiness to the broth, but it wasn't that pronounced as expected.
Au Curry 3.8/5
For the love of spice, go for Bouchot Mussels Au Curry. The red hue itself was appetising. Despite the addition of red curry and cream, the broth didn't lose its acidity. What the red curry provides is an added dimension to the aromatic white wine-based broth.
Le Croq-Truffle 4/5
Other than their signature moules-frites, the bar bites are worth coming back for. Offering bar bites from France and the Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg) region of Europe, one of the most highly raved about since its opening is the Le Croq-Truffle ($18), a luxurious version of the 'Croque Monsieur’. Fresh black truffle from France, Comté and Serrano Ham sandwiched in between heavily buttered toast, one piece of it is an indulgent, and 2 pieces of it is a sin!
Escargot Tartes Flambées 3.8/5
Perfect for sharing is the Tartes Flambées or Alsatian oven-baked flatbreads ($24 to $28), which come in a variety of interesting toppings. We had the Escargot Tartes Flambées ($26). The layer of caramelised onion slathered across the flatbreads, however, stole the limelight of the escargots. Richly browned, it was savoury-sweet, incredibly moreish, and mingled really well with the vibrant and garlicky Parsley Butter.
Truffled Porcini Croquette 4.2/5
The croquettes here are some of the better ones I have tried. Each one was perfectly crusted with a thin layer of coat. Between Jamon Croquettes ($12) and Truffled Porcini Croquette ($12), the latter won me over with its moist, cheesy, and relatively more gooey filling, coupled with an extra bite from the meaty mushrooms.
Jamon Croquettes 3.8/5, Bitterballen 3/5
If that is too much for you, Bitterballen ($8), Holland’s number one bite-sized snack, shares a similar crusty exterior with croquette but is less creamy as it is made simply with roux, beef and beef stock.
Waffle "BTM" 3/5
Desserts are available as well. Waffle "BTM" ($18) comprises a Belgian style waffle topped with vanilla ice cream and chantilly cream. It is decent, but the dessert menu promises a lot more exciting options than this. And since you are here at BTM, do explore more.
Summer Fruit-Infused Beers
BTM's beverage menu is also well-thought-out, offering wine, champagne and beer that Olivier deems best to pair with the mussels and sides. For a change, try its creations of Summer Fruit-Infused Beers - Passionfruit, Raspberry, Lychee and Pomelo Grapefruit (Happy Hour $10 / Regular $12).
Written and photography by Si An. A girl who is allured by travelling, loves the feel of freedom, smell of the rain and the aroma of fine coffee and food.
BTM Mussels & Bar
5 Duxton Hill
Tel: +65 66907562
Nearest MRT: Tanjong Pagar (EW Line)
Mon-Tue: 5pm - 11pm
Wed-Thu: 12pm - 11pm
Fri-Sat: 12pm - 12midnight
(Closed on Sun)
1) Alight at Tanjong Pagar MRT station. Take Exit A. Walk to Orchid Hotel. Walk to Tanjong Pagar Road, cross the road. Walk to Craig Road. Turn left onto Craig Road. Walk to Craig Place. Take the staircase inside the carpark at Craig Place to Duxton Hill. Walk to destination. Journey time about 10 minutes. [Map]