5 by Sans Façon, Seletar Aerospace Park: “The Bouchot Mussels is the best dish of the afternoon.”

Having moved to Jalan Kayu a mere 1.5 months ago, my immediate reticence was its notoriety for being remote and so far removed from Central Singapore. See, my ex-hood is Bukit Timah and with a straight bus to Orchard Road that takes merely 40 minutes on a good day, you could sympathise with my grouse about the locale. That was until I discovered the oasis that is Seletar Aerospace Park and its numerous ‘hidden gems’ (as we Singaporeans love to call them), including newly-minted, 5 by Sans Façon.

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Some Singaporeans have made it almost a past time of theirs to seek out deliberately out-of-reach nooks, for, I’m sure, a multitude of reasons. Solitude, novelty, a change of scenery, or possibly, out of plain curiosity. This one’s quite a challenge to reach if you don’t own your own vehicle, so take note.

However, upon locating it, 5 by Sans Façon is housed in a rustic black-and-white building, outfitted with cement screed and large, long wooden beams looming above for a quintessential barnhouse outlook. The first thing me and my dining partner noticed was how large the tables are—we could sit across from each other, stretch our arms in front of us and barely have our hands meet. It’s not a crucial detail, but one that lends a sense of commodiousness to the dining space.

Labelling itself as a French-inspired bistro, the menu is lean but, with portions large enough for sharing, there are more than sufficient options to keep everyone satiated.

What I tried

5 By Sans Facon

In an attempt to overcome the afternoon’s heat, I suggested we start with Salad Burrata (S$19). I was met with quizzical looks from my dining partner who questioned my choice, especially since I detest raw tomatoes. My reasoning was, “I want to give it a try again. At the very most, I’ll just toss the tomatoes aside.”

I’m glad I gave this a chance; the pesto dressing masked most of the bitter acid that I associate tomatoes with, and I daresay, impressed my dear friend when I kept returning for more. The addition of watermelon cubes certainly helped as well—its slick sweetness equalising the burrata’s creaminess.

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In true French fashion, there’s also Bouchot Mussels (S$29), simmered in white wine cream sauce, and served with a side of fries, salad, and a slice of baguette. Arriving at the table in a hefty cast-iron pot, a single portion would suffice for three to four people.

While the mussels aren’t any larger than half your palm, its immense quantity more than makes up for it. The white wine cream sauce is addictive and silky—it’s hard to fault, especially since it is, admittedly, the best dish of the afternoon.

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For the journey that we embarked, we hadn’t felt like it was a trip worth the extra dollars. It’s always a painful thing to admit, especially when 5 by San Façon is barely two months old. Our slight appreciation resulted from the simple fact that we lived comfortably close by, so the late afternoon lull from a heavy meal could be soothed quickly with a quick trip home for a brief disco nap.

You could always opt for light bites, but who’s to refuse when the staff recommend the Calamarata (S$29)? It features a glistening piece of duck confit, along with asparagus, mushrooms, and shaved parmesan. For the uninitiated, duck confit is duck that has been cured with salt and then gently cooked in its own fat. It’s a safe assumption that this will prove to be a saltier welcome, unfortunately, this rendition was as if I’d swallowed seawater whole.

On the other hand, the calamarata pasta was vacant of seasoning—a stark contrast to the homely welcome I’d felt earlier. We were informed that it was cooked in duck fat, however, it must’ve gotten stage fright upon presentation. The pasta could use more love, that much my dining partner and I concurred.

Final thoughts

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Lunch was salvaged—just a little—with a hunky slice of decadent chocolate cake. Stuffing my cheeks with this was akin to a child enjoying dessert, but too much of a good thing can prove to be, you know, much. After a few forkfuls, we relented and packed the rest.

We were avoiding a conclusion that eschews this place because, in spite of its shortcomings, it holds valid redeeming qualities. Its location is unlike most cafes, the presence of French bistros in North-East Singapore is far and few, and they are (ultimately) one of many sprouting F&B establishments in the recent months.

Pre-COVID-19 makes for a tough industry when it comes to F&B, and now, in the thick of the pandemic, it’s even tougher. While it’s going to take 5 by San Façon time to win me over, the nature lover in me might be lured to return on an idle weekend. It is, after all, a ‘hidden gem’ that I can proudly claim to be part of my ‘hood now.

Expected Damage: S$30 – S$45 per pax

Price: $ $

Our Rating: 3 / 5

5 by Sans Façon

5 The Oval, The Oval @ Seletar Aerospace Park, Singapore 797863

Our Rating 3/5

5 by Sans Façon

5 The Oval, The Oval @ Seletar Aerospace Park, Singapore 797863

Telephone: +65 6974 7355
Operating Hours: 11.30am - 10.30pm (Mon to Fri), 8.30am - 10.30pm (Sat & Sun)
Telephone: +65 6974 7355

Operating Hours: 11.30am - 10.30pm (Mon to Fri), 8.30am - 10.30pm (Sat & Sun)
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