Tuesday, 12 August 2014
Antoinette French Restaurant in Singapore
Few people know that I am a closet Francophile.
During my undergraduate days in Canada, a country conscious of it's French and Anglo roots, we all did a year of French language and history.
The story of the French Revolution and Marie Antoinette are deeply imprinted in the Canadian psyche.
So, when Bing invited me to Chef Pang's Antoinette French Restaurant at Penhas Street in Singapore, I was filled with excitement and a tinge of nostalgia.
French and Antoinette always resonate with me.
For French cuisine though, I only have lots of curiosity but no expertise.
Still, the invited lunch at Antoinette turned out to be an enjoyable day of fine dining and the rekindling my French connection.
The interior of Antoinette has a distinctive, tasteful yet understated French flavour. Thankfully, Antoinette restaurant doesn't have the gaudy opulence or pomposity of wannabe French places.
I felt very comfortable here, with light soothing French melodies in the background and the heavily padded gold gilded chairs to sit on :D
Chef Pang's French dishes and desserts complete and made the day for me.
After our scrumptious lunch, I lingered awhile at Antoinette and asked Chef Pang to share his thoughts behind his new menu.
To add to Marie Antoinette's famous last words "Let them eat cake", Chef Pang shared that he wants to give customers a more well rounded experience with his classic French savoury dishes and sweet desserts, in addition to his famous French pastries.
Let's take a look at some examples of these French classics at Antoinette.
Salade d'Été (Summer Salad).
Refreshing appetiser with a balance of nutty and sweet flavours with crunchy, crispy and squashy juicy textures. On the plate were quinoa grains, roquette (rocket leaves), compressed watermelon cubes, roasted butternut squash, pumpkin seeds, sour dough chips, and feta cheese served with extra virgin olive oil and sherry vinaigrette.
The kaleidoscope of colours, and mix of textures and flavours heightened all our senses to appreciate the dishes that follow.
French Toast with Ham and Cheese.
Swiss Gruyère cheese cream and Parisian ham between egg soaked Brioche bread doused with sweet maple syrup. Served with salad tossed in house dressing and a pretty dollop of rich Chantilly cream.
The pleasing combination of flavours makes a delightful, yet substantial brunch on lazy mornings.
L’oeufs en Meurette (Poached egg with Red Wine Sauce).
Slice of Levain toast topped with tender smoked belly pork in red wine sauce and perfectly poached egg. I like the layers of sweetness and savouriness with the subtle taste of red wine complemented by comforting egginess.
Le Grande Jardin d’Antoinette (The Grand Garden of Antoinette).
Forming a hedge around the seared duck breast and poached egg was a colourful mound of pickled pears, roasted asparagus, baby carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, cresses, fowers, mixed greens, sunfower seeds, button mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, lotus root chips, lavosh crackers and caramel orange dressing.
The golden stream flows like a secret silent waterfall in the Queen's grand garden where she finds peace from the raging Paris mob in the riot of colours.
Thick slices of seared roasted juicy French duck breast with a likable subtle gaminess and tender graininess.
Entrecôte Poêlée à la Bordelaise (Black Angus Ribeye Minute Steak with Shallot Red Wine Sauce).
Premium Black Angus Ribeye steak pan-fried and served with flavoursome shallot red wine sauce. Comes with sides of potato purée and fresh greens.
El dente Capellini pasta tossed in house made deeply savoury crustacean oil and served with thumb size sea shrimps and tiny Sakura ebi. Topped with stalks of fresh roquette (rocket leaves).
Le Vacherin de la Reine.
Perhaps, inspired by the Queen's oversize coiffure in vogue in Paris at the time, I didn't verify this with Chef Pang :P
The meringue which reminds me of ladies' corsets of the era, was filled with yuzu cream, vanilla ice cream, vanilla creme Chantilly, lychees, strawberries, and raspberries crowned with a wiry spun sugar hive.
Layers of sweetness like ladies' fashion of Marie Antoinette's ancien régime.
My photo isn't doing justice to Chef Pang's creation nor Marie Antoinette's crowning glory.
Baba aux Fraises (Strawberry Baba).
Spongy baked Baba dough set in a deep red pool of tangy citrus vanilla syrup laced with aged dark rum. Served with strawberries and a crown of vanilla creme Chantilly.
Dipping the spongy yeast dough in the syrup, I enjoyed the blend of sweet, tangy and butteriness from the syrup laden Baba dough.
The Grand Finale, Omelette Norvégienne (Baked Alaska).
After the fire and drama, the Baked Alaska bearing the scorch marks of the fiery baptism of brandy, stood more beautiful.
The Baked Alaska reminded me of Antoinette, the last Queen of France who till this day is synonymous with beauty and elegance long after she was consumed by the fury of the French Revolution.
France's last queen's legacy stood forever beautiful because underneath that elegant exterior, at it's heart, the Baked Alaska was irresistibly sweet and cool, like Marie Antoinette.
In between dishes, we had house blended Chinese tea to cleanse our palate and to punctuate our tête–à–tête.
Chef Pang had personally created several blends of Chinese teas. We had Oriental Beauty, a sencha flavoured brew with organic rose petals, calendula marigold flower and a hint of mint.
If you want to experience French classic pastries, savouries and desserts, and momentarily escape to a more beautiful time and place, come to Antoinette French Restaurant.
Thank you Chef Pang and Bing for the invite.
Restaurant name: Antoinette French Restaurant
Address: 30 Penhas Road, Singapore (branches at Mandarin Gallery and Palais Rennaisance.
Hours: Mon - Thu: 11:00 am - 10:00 pm | Fri: 11:00 am - 11:00 pm | Sat: 10:00 am - 11:00 pm | Sun: 10:00 am - 10:00 pm
Date visited: 8 Aug 2014
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