Monday, 18 September 2017

Bold European Asian Fusion Menu at Antoinette Penhas Singapore

Antoinette-Penhas-Singapore

Chef Pang of Antoinette French Restaurant in Singapore is renown for his exquisite French pastries and savoury dishes.

But, he has another side.

I am friends with Chef Pang on Facebook and have been following his fascinating food explorations off work. So, I knew Chef Pang have been experimenting with European Asian fusion dishes in his private time. I am delighted that he boldly introduced his European Asian fusion creations in his quintessentially French, Antoinette restaurant.

Antoinette-Penhas-Singapore

I was thrilled when Chef Pang invited me to taste his French Asian creations and I enjoyed his innovative dishes. A Hakka boy at heart, you will find the influence of Chef Pang's Hakka heritage in most of his European Asian fusion menu.

A tasting of Chef Pang's European Asian fusion menu is a walk with him through his personal journey through time and space - from his Hakka roots as a child in Singapore, through his immersion in Europe and now full circle back to Asia and Singapore.

Antoinette-Penhas-Singapore

We started with a bouquet of five house baked breads - satay bacon epi, levain (sourdough), baguette, 5-spice escargot and croissant.

The breads are eaten with smooth butter infused with Asian flavours - fermented bean curd, caramelised shallot, rempah, and preserved turnip (chai poh). The butter is shaped like Lego bricks inspired by Chef's Pang's son's toys 😄 This reflects Chef Pang's boyish charm which we already saw in his signature impish smile 😁 

Antoinette-Penhas-Singapore

We started with a Kale Caesar salad (price S$22). 

The crunchy leafy greens are dressed with salted fish, fried garlic bits, garlic croutons and framed by a bold flamboyant flaming butternut squash swirl.

Antoinette-Penhas-Singapore

The roasted chicken leg roulade is marinated with Chinese five-spice powder and dressed with fried garlic bits. We bite through layers of quite robust savouriness before reaching the subtle sweetness in the tender chicken flesh.

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Chicken Rice (price S$26).

Not really.

Antoinette-Penhas-Singapore

The thick slab of sous vide white chicken breast meat was oh.. so tender and juicy. All the natural chicky sweetness was there in the juices.

Antoinette-Penhas-Singapore

The soft barley cooked in chicken stock and aromatics like pandan leaves was sweet with traces of chicken taste.

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The chicky and barley sweetness is balanced with savouriness from the crispy golden brown fried chicken skin. The skin's crispy crunch contrasted nicely with the soft chicken breast and barley.

Antoinette-Penhas-Singapore

Presenting the coriander and chili as gels actually intensifies their flavours making them better dips 😄 The chili gel in particular packs an impressive briefly lingering sting. The savoury dark soya sauce foam was a nice touch too.

I still prefer to call this chicken rice, than chicken barley 😄

Antoinette-Penhas-Singapore

Hakka Gnocchi (price S$24).

This dish is very close to Chef Pang's heart as "abacus seeds" 算盤子 are as iconic to Hakkas as chee cheong fun 豬腸粉 to Cantonese and Hainanese chicken rice 海南雞飯 to Hainanese.

In this dish, Chef Pang fuses the traditional Hakka "abacus seed" with Parisian gnocchi.

Antoinette-Penhas-Singapore

The first thing that came to my mind when this dish arrived at the table was "Wow, these are the prettiest abacus seeds that I have ever seen, by miles!"

Whereas plain Jane Parisian gnocchi are made with flour, eggs and cheese, Chef Pang's Hakka gnocchi are made with beetroot, sweet potato, purple sweet potato or yam mash in the "abacus seed" tradition. Hence, the attractive colours in the dish are all natural.

The soft spongy chewy abacus seeds' sweetness is balanced by a rich savoury dressing sauce of dried shrimp, foie gras, cured pork and morel mushrooms.

Antoinette-Penhas-Singapore

Of course, there must be chili crab and yes, this is chili crab.

Chili Crab Arancini to be exact (price S$16).



It's deep fried risotto balls crusted with crisp bread crumbs and filled with crustacean savoury sweetness from lobster bisque and crab meat. Served with a crown of crunchy sea asparagus topped with bright orange prawn roe. Eaten with homemade spicy chili sauce.

Antoinette-Penhas-Singapore

Spaghetti (price S$24).

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The fresh house made spaghetti is done al dente. The pasta is smothered with a robustly savoury stew of pork belly ragout with cuttlefish. A scattering of ebi sakura adds another savoury layer to the dish.

Chef Pang is marrying two old friends (Italian pasta, French/ Asian savoury stew) whom many assumed are destined to be the proverbial "just friends". Is it a harmonious marriage? You be the judge 😛 (A few friends swore it is a match made in heaven.)

Time for desserts 😄

There are three to choose from.

Antoinette-Penhas-Singapore

Good sunny morning - Sunny Side Up, Antoinette style. (Price S$10.)

The snowy egg white is sweet coconut Malibu foam, the bright sunny egg yolk is tangy mango coulis held together by vegetable gelatin. it is drizzled with sweet olive oil, sprinkled with cocoa bean powder and served with candied bacon and toasted brioche.

Antoinette-Penhas-Singapore

Simply Pandan. (Price S$14.)

I guess we can call this Chef Pang's ode to Pandan.

Antoinette-Penhas-Singapore

It's the familiar pandan kaya butter toast served with a beautifully plated dessert of pandan ice cream, coral sponge, pandan caviar, coconut crumble, lime foam and salted gula Melaka. The familiar aromatic green blades in forms not seen before and still taste great.

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Beautiful, mysterious Misty Forest. (Price S$18.)

I like this picture. Can you spot Queen Antoinette's head? 

Antoinette-Penhas-Singapore

The dish is like an Autumn walk in an European forest dressed in Fall fashion - stubborn shoots raising their bright green heads above the beautiful floor of 50 shades of yellow and brown. There's grand cru dark chocolate cremeux, yuzu curd, praline cream, cashew nut nougatine, chocolate crumble, chocolate coral sponge, matcha moss, etc. Sweet, sour and bitter like life. Mostly sweet really. Life is good. 

Life is like a box of chocolates - Forest Gump,

or is Life is like Misty Forest by Antoinette?

Antoinette-Penhas-Singapore

👉 Chef Pang has taken a bold new direction in his latest European Asian fusion menu. I take my hat off to that. It's hard to describe the creations as Chef Pang did not let boundaries, mind sets nor assumptions limit him. You will find French, Italian, Hakka, Hainanese, Peranakan etc elements in the dishes. Come to Antoinette for Chef Pang's new fusion menu. Don't analyse or think too much - just let your taste buds be the judge. That's the best way to enjoy food anyway.

Disclosure: Please note that this was an invited tasting.

Antoinette-Penhas-Singapore

Restaurant name: Antoinette French Restaurant  
Address:  30 Penhas Road, Singapore. 
Map: http://goo.gl/maps/KoWyL  
GPS: 1.309431,103.862712  
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   

Non Halal    

Date visited: 12 Aug 2014, 24 Jan 2015, 3 Feb 2016, 11 Sep 2017

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