Fabian Forni from Alliance Française de Singapore on the best French restaurants and pastries in Singapore
Three city personalities open their little black books to Crystal Lee, highlighting their favorite places to eat, drink and play in Singapore and beyond. First, we have Fabian Forni, executive director of the Alliance Française of Singapore.
The general manager of the Alliance Française of Singapore is a man of style and taste. Always dapper in the sharpest suits and brogues, Forni strives to share the best of France through a dynamic program of exhibitions, workshops, conferences and screenings organized in the main French educational and cultural institution in non-profit. He tells us about his bakery in Singapore for French pastries, where in town for the best cheese and a beloved restaurant in his hometown.
Suits and shoes: I particularly like French ready-to-wear brands like Maison Kitsuné and The Kooples. I also have bespoke suits from Narin in Bangkok. He is a wonderful designer who was formally trained at the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture in Paris. For dress shoes, I’ve been loyal to French shoemaker JM Weston for 30 years – but I prefer trainers or slippers on weekends!
Best French pastries in Singapore: I’m lucky to have a Maison Kayser pastry near me, and I must admit that I can’t resist their Paris-Brest. I was also planning to try Patisserie Clé launched by two local pastry chefs trained at the internationally renowned Ferrandi Culinary Institute in Paris. I’ve heard a lot about it, so it’s on my list for my next baking craving!
Favorite French restaurants in town: It’s hard to pick just one as there are so many French restaurants serving delicious food in Singapore. If I had to choose three, it would be the famous Les Amis, three Michelin stars, where the haute cuisine of chef Sébastien Lepinoy magnifies all special occasions; the Parisian bistro Les Bouchons to enjoy an exquisite steak and fries, as well as their new pétanque court; and So France for lunch and also the delicatessens of my country.
The best cheese in Singapore: I’m a huge fan of the Cheese Club for its incredible selection of cheeses from all over France imported directly from the producers. At the Alliance Française, the tasting workshops that we organize with their cheese expert are very popular.
Unmissable shopping spot: Department stores are my favorite because they have a wide range of products, just like malls in Singapore. When I lived in Paris, I liked to spend time at Le Bon Marché to discover new designers, have a coffee or shop at La Grande Épicerie. I can’t wait to visit the recently reopened La Samaritaine, a beautiful Art Nouveau building bought by LVMH, located in Paris between rue de Rivoli and the Seine. We have been waiting for its reopening for many years.
A favorite in town: I grew up in Belfort, a medium-sized town in the east of France. When I visit my relatives, I have my routine at the Novo lounge bar located in the Hôtel de Ville theater, which is a very beautiful cultural space renovated by the great architect Jean Nouvel.
A guilty pleasure: No hesitation, drink a vodka-martini with olives at the Atlas Bar for its unique atmosphere and its Art Deco architecture.
French wine regions: Burgundy and its marvelous vineyards are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. I also highly recommend the city of Dijon in the Burgundy region for its historical monuments, the wealth of collections from all periods of the Dijon Museum of Fine Arts which was renovated last year, and its International City of Gastronomy and Wine that just opened in May.
Favorite neighborhood in Paris: The Jardin du Palais Royal is a perfect place to walk with my dog, contemplate the neoclassical architecture and the contemporary work of Daniel Buren, have lunch and then go shopping under the beautiful arcades. Located in the first arrondissement, it is close to the Louvre Museum and historic Paris, including the Ile de la Cité with Notre-Dame Cathedral or the Marais and its many mansions.
The most underrated destination in France: The whole countryside is worth the detour as there are beautiful things to discover in all regions of France. This is why the President of the Alliance Française of Singapore, Andrew Lau, is a real fan of my country and had the idea of designing each classroom of the institution according to a region to allow our students to discover the richness of the whole territory.
PHOTOGRAPHY: ALICIA NEO
ARTISTIC DIRECTION: AUDREY CHAN
HAIR AND MAKEUP: Benoit Choo
This story first appeared in the July 2022 issue of Prestige Singapore.