Bjorn Frantzén’s Brasserie Astoria gives a concert hall (and us diners) purpose

By Hannah Choo 11 January, 2024
Björn Frantzén

Set in beautiful Victoria Concert Hall, the 100-seat Brasserie Astoria drips with relaxed elegance and serves a twist of classic brasserie fare

Editor’s note: For more Date Night stories, click here.

The Victoria Concert Hall is a special place that deserves more than just a hit and run—the performances there are usually great, but until recent times, what reason was there to hang about? Sure, there was the Sinfonia Ristorante, but fine dining isn’t exactly what the average concert-goer looks for.

Since Brasserie Astoria opened, the concert hall has had a lot more purpose. Open every day with extended hours on Fridays and Saturdays, tourists and locals alike are welcome without the need to play dress-up. It is the brainchild of Bjorn Frantzén, the pro footballer-turned-star chef behind Zén on Bukit Pasoh, and it is now one of the undisputed gems of the Singapore dining scene.

What’s it like at Brasserie Astoria?

Similar to the Stockholm flagship, the former Astoria Cinema that’s now bustling with glamour and opulence of yesteryear, Singapore’s Brasserie Astoria is here to bring back the spirit of grand dining halls. Think flambé trolleys, tableside service and modern brasserie fare. Set in beautiful Victoria Concert Hall, a national treasure that first opened in 1954, the 100-seat restaurant drips with relaxed elegance, a concept that Frantzén has always identified with. You’re welcome to dine here in flip flops, a tee and shorts, nothing less. Frantzén draws the line at Speedos.

Brasserie Astoria also has a bar and lounge for 22 people, and a private room for 10.

What should we order?

You will be in the good hands of head chef Emil Cecil Ess. The guy, previously the chef de partie at Restaurant Zén, executes classic brasserie fare well, with more hits than misses landing at your table. The menu is the right combination of familiar and experimental, boasting elegant and delicious ingredients, and it is extensive, too, so bring enforcements and attack away. Begin your meal with the Snails à la Provençale, Oyster au Naturelle, Garlic Bread (seriously) and Toast Astoria, a Swedish shrimp toast pimped up with king crab and wasabi aioli. Proceed with the Truffle Pizza, Wild Turbot, Steak Frites and Caesar Salad, freshly prepared tableside with all the fixings.

The Steak Tartare and Whiskey Flambéed Beef, as enticing on the menu as they are prepared tableside, are best left for another day. If you do order them, know that they may fail you, which in that case, some Banana Crème Brûlée, Waffle Ice Cream and Nordic-inspired cocktails will lift you up.

What else should we know?

Brunch on a weekend is always a good idea, but pop by between 12pm and 2.30pm on a weekday and you’ll be rewarded with a special plat du jour experience. The menu changes by the week and for S$75, you may enjoy a starter, main and dessert; S$65 if you do not have a sweet tooth. This week, dishes featured include Carbonara, Pan-Seared Salmon and Stracciatella.

A final word to the wise: If you have the luxury of time before dinner or a show, take advantage of Astoria’s Golden Hour on Fridays and Saturdays from 3pm to 6pm. Select signature cocktails and snacks will go for S$12 each, and that includes Smashed Burgers, if you choose to sit at the bar.

Brasserie Astoria
11 Empress Place,
Singapore 179558
Tel: +65 9619 1567