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December 15, 2021updated Dec 20, 2023

Osteria BBR: Alain Ducasse’s new incarnation at Raffles

Restaurant of the Week: The legendary chef transports the flavors of the Italian Riviera to Singapore.

By Emma Al-Mousawi

With a restaurant empire that has amassed 21 Michelin stars, Alain Ducasse requires very little in the way of introductions. The newest addition to the French-born chef’s repertoire is Osteria BBR at the storied Raffles Singapore. 

Though it opened in August 2021, Osteria BBR is actually more of a reincarnation of Ducasse’s previous Raffles eatery, the similarly named BBR by Alain Ducasse. Occupying the hotel’s legendary Bar and Billiards Room (known as the BBR), the relaxed restaurant opened in 2019 but closed its doors during the pandemic. It is now back in a new form with a fresh name, menu and a few interior tweaks. 

Previously plating up Mediterranean fare, Ducasse has taken the opportunity to narrow down the restaurant’s culinary influences to one particular stretch of the Med beloved by the chef: The Italian Riviera. At Osteria BBR, Ducasse has packaged up decades of culinary exploration and gourmet discoveries within the region and poured them into a menu of modern and energetic Italian dishes, executed with authentic flair. 

The Chef 

Chef-de-Cuisine-Francesco-Soletti-

Chef de cuisine Francesco Soletti / ©Raffles

Rising Ducasse protege Francesco Soletti was selected by the legendary chef to make his culinary vision a reality. The Italian chef de cuisine has spent over a decade in the kitchens of Michelin-starred restaurants, including at his mentor’s three Michelin-starred Le Louis XV – Alain Ducasse à l’Hôtel de Paris restaurant in Monaco. 

Similar to Ducasse, Soletti was born and raised on a farm and as a result, shares his ingrained love of fresh produce and quality ingredients. This dedication to only using the best is apparent in his cookery at Osteria BBR where the young chef sources local and regional produce and native Italian ingredients to create rich and warm Italian flavors. 

The Menu 

Osteria BBR Red Prawn Tartare

Mazara del Vallo red prawn tartare /Raffles

Elegant, yet more laid-back than the fine dining menus usually found at Ducasse’s Michelin star establishments, the food at Osteria BBR is inviting and easy to eat. Diners have the choice of produce-driven antipasti dishes, freshly-cooked pasta and risotto, seafood, grilled meats and wood-fired pizzas. 

[See also: The Most Anticipated Restaurant Openings of 2022]

Signature antipasti dishes on the a la carte menu include Mazara del Vallo red prawn tartare featuring buffalo mozzarella and caviar and Marinated sea bream fragranced with world-famous Amalfi lemons. If opting for pasta, try the Eliche di gragnano featuring swirls of fresh pasta entangled with juicy Maine lobster, citrus and roasted eggplant or the Tagliolini laced with highly-prized Alba white truffle. 

Rack of lamb with sauce

Rack of lamb / ©Raffles

From the wood-fire grill, Maine lobster makes another appearance alongside rack of lamb and grilled WX Wagyu Porterhouse Fiorentina-style. 

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In authentic Italian fashion, the menu at Osteria BBR also offers the option of Secondi Piatti, translating to ‘second dish’. These range the very light sea bass and clams in a gentle tomato broth to the hearty favorite of Veal Milanese-style. 

Eliche di Gragnano Pasta-

Eliche di gragnano pasta / ©Raffles

Round off the meal with a selection of classic Italian desserts such as tiramisu and Affogato.

For guests unsure what to select, the curated Menu Tentazioni, which showcases a handpicked medley of seven signature dishes, is the way to go. 

In keeping with the BBR’s tradition, the restaurant’s glamorous bar remains a lively hangout, serving Aperitivo in the form of Italian-infused cocktails and nibbles, as well as champagne and oysters, between 3pm and 8pm every day.

Interior

Interior of Osteria BBR

The large open kitchen is canopied by an impressive blue sculpture suggestive of a fish moving through the sea / ©Raffles

The interior remains predominantly unchanged from design studio Jouin Manku’s original award-winning 2019 design.

Sympathetic to the historic architecture of the Bar and Billiards Room, which first opened in 1896, the light and bright space is warmed by terracotta-hued booths and patterned tiles, surrounding a centerpiece open kitchen.

The outdoor terrace enveloped by tropical foliage is particularly atmospheric in the evening.

Terrace at Osteria BBR

The outdoor terrace / ©Raffles

Osteria BBR, Raffles Singapore, 1 Beach Road, Singapore 189673, osteriabbr.com.sg

[See also: Quique Dacosta on Why Culinary Traditions Matter]

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