Antoinette at Penhas Road and Orchard Mandarin Gallery, has been known for its elegantly crafted pastries and Parisian bistro favourites.
However, we have started to see some local elements being incorporated from the last year or so, from salted egg yolk and chilli crab croissants to the more recent Ondeh Ondeh Castella Cake.
The latest “Cultural Heritage” menu sees it take a bolder step of including Singapore elements into restaurant food.
(Click PLAY for highlights of Antoinette’s new menu.)
The jovial and dare-to-try Chef Pang Kok Keong was particularly keen to put a new spin on his own Hakka culture, and also commented that this menu-launch during the National Day month of August was purely coincidental.
The meal felt very “mod-sin” to me – made more popular by Wild Rocket’s Willin Low and Labyrinth’s Han Li Guang, amongst others.
While Antoinette has been positioned as a patisserie-cafe, I thought some of the newly-introduced mains are of fine-dining quality.
Here are some of the highlights from Antoinette’s “Cultural Heritage” Menu:
Since Nasi Lemak Burger is in the rage now. Chef Pang whipped this up ($20) based on what he remembers having in his primary school canteen (any Rulang Primary alumni here?).
What you get is a ‘burger bun’ of Japanese rice cooked with fresh pandan juice, sandwiched with XXXL Chicken, homemade mackeral and prawn otah, luncheon meat, egg and special dried shrimp chilli which reminded me of my grandma’s hae bee hiam.
So far, many of the Nasi Lemak Burgers I had were missing out on the Otah Otah and kick-ass sambal, but I am so glad this version has both.
Plus the Otah Otah was home-made, and you could really taste the difference – that it was not as starchy as the ordinary ones.
Bread & Butter ($5) which features satay bacon epi, levain, baguette, five-spice escargot, croissant, paired with butters that looked like lego bricks. The butters were actually flavored with preserved bean curd, caramelized shallot, rempah and preserved turnips. I want more of those butter! (too bad they don’t sell them separately.)
Chilli Crab Arancini ($16 for 3 pieces) – homemade chilli sauce filled in a risotto ball cooked with lobster bisque and crab meat.
Chicken Rice ($26) with chicken breast prepared sous-vide style, “rice” replaced by barley grains cooked with chicken stock.
Hakka Gnocchi ($24) – though I would rather just retain the name of “Suan Pan Zi”? The ‘abacus seeds’ are made comprising of different flavours – beetroot, sweet potato, purple sweet potato and yam.
Kale Caesar ($22) served with a roasted five-spice chicken roulade.
Spaghetti ($24) with cuttlefish pork belly ragout and ebi sakura.
Pandan ($14) is a plated dessert of Pandan ice cream, coral sponge, coconut crumble, lime foam and salted gula Melaka.
Sunny Side Up ($10) looks like a breakfast plate, but almost all the component are desserty-sweet, other than the candied bacon and toasted brioche.
Misty Forest ($18), which was presented in a bell-jar with smoke, contained grand cru dark chocolate cremeux, yuzu curd, praline cream, cashew nut nougatine, chocolate crumble, chocolate coral sponge, and moss made of matcha.
The stand-out dishes to me were the Hakka Gnocchi ($24.00) and Chicken Rice ($26). The Spaghetti ($24) was probably a safe appetising choice, though I also hoped the dish had a more characteristic name.
The former was a likeable update to the familiar “Suan Pan Zi”. The different colours represent the ingredients of beetroot, sweet potato, yam, purple sweet potato, each with its own character and subtle difference (oh, imagine the effort that went into making them). Cooked with dried shrimp, foie gras and cured pork, I also liked how it was “Asian” and presented in an elegant-European way.
The chicken from the Chicken Rice was succulent and tasty in its own right, barley well ‘soaked’ with flavours. However, as the chilli sauce and dark soya sauce acted more as aesthetical elements here, as circles on the plate, and I wished there was more.
For the desserts, I would order the “Pandan” ($14) again. It evolved a familiar feeling of bliss, like when you were having kaya toast or pandan bread for the first time.
The other two desserts – the Sunny Side Up ($10) and Mistry Forest ($18) were instagrammable and delectable too with smoke for the former, something playful for the latter. However, personal view – both seemed out of place with the “Cultural Heritage” theme.
If you need to get a NEW 2017 cake, the favourite would be the Orient, because flowy salted egg cremeux. And it reminded us of a mooncake. Have to try to believe it.
I hope that this menu does well enough, so that Chef can continue experimenting in this direction.
Who knows, after Antoinette, his next café could very well be named after one of our famous Singapore female historians.
30 Penhas Road Singapore 208188 (Lavender MRT)
Opening Hours: 11:00am – 10:00pm (Mon – Thurs), 11:00am – 11:00pm (Fri, Eve of PH), 10:00am – 11:00pm (Sat), 10:00am – 10:00pm (Sun)
333A Orchard Road #02-33/34 Mandarin Gallery Singapore 238897 (Somerset MRT)
Opening Hours: 11:00am – 11:00pm
* This entry is brought to you in partnership with Antoinette.