Friday, August 15, 2014

Antoinette at Penhas Road (And Other Outlets) - A New Savory Menu

Antoinette at Penhas was the original flagship that kickstarted the Antoinette chain of patisseries that is the brainchild of Chef Pang Kok Keong.

He is perhaps our own Singaporean version of Adriano Zumbo and is famed for his pastry skills and desserts. Since the beginning, Antoinette has been dishing out savory items from its menu, but he has recently revamped his menu and I was there to sample some of his latest creations.

Antoinette is obviously named after the famous French Queen and stepping into the restaurant, you will feel transported to an earlier era of fine furnishings and elegance.

There is a sense of a classic time period when you are here, and the first thing that will greet you at the main entrance is the dazzling array of pastries and cakes that are both eye popping and tantalizing.

Classic Elegance

When Antoinette first began, their savory items were quite basic cafe fare. With the ever growing competition from the hipster cafe phenomenon that's going on right now in Singapore, Antoinette has some new dishes that will entice diners here to savor more than just the sweets that Chef Pang is known for.

Summer Salad

The new summer salad was my favorite savory dish here. Consisting of quinoa, compressed watermelons, sour dough crisps and sunflower seeds, it was a colorful plate filled with an array of refreshing flavors and textures. Looking pretty, it is a great way to start any meal.

Sakura Ebi Shrimp Capellini

The shrimp/sakura ebi pasta dish seems to be very trendy these days, but I liked the version here a lot. The crustacean oil that was used to toss the capellini in was very intense and flavorsome. The sakura ebi was very generous too.

The only thing that I felt was wrong was the plating used. I still think pasta should be served in a conventional round and cratered plate. Putting the pasta on an elongated, flat plate looked weird and a bit too much. But the portion was big enough to cater for two ladies, I reckon.

Poached Egg with Red Wine Braised Pork Belly

As a breakfast option, there is the poached egg with pork belly braised in red wine. Served with a single toast, it is a simple and hearty little dish that puts a little spin on the eggs. bacon and toast classic.

Grand Garden of Antoinette

This looked epic. On a plate with more than 20 components, the hero of the dish which was the duck breast was somewhat lost in the mix. Another poached egg rested on the summit of the duck and while it looked grand, I felt there was too much going on and too many flavors and textures to make out. Personally, I wished that the components could be scaled down to make a more focused dish.
French Toast with Ham and Cheese

Another welcomed breakfast classic is this clinically executed french toast with ham and cheese and served with a side of maple syrup. It was a comforting plate of food, and the mix of sweet and savory looks to be a hit with the younger ones.

Strawberry Baba

The strawberry baba is a classic French dessert and I loved the sponge and the citrus from the strawberry sauce. The plating was beautiful and the only issue I had was the hit of the raw rum which can be quite strong for some people.

Baked Alaska

The baked alaska was the dish of the day. And in a classic joint like this, there is a bit of theatre that goes along with the serving of this dish. Pouring Grand Marnier over it, the resulting neon blue flames that encased the dessert can only be appreciated in darker conditions.

It was a spectacular sight to behold and afterwards, the tasting proved undoubtedly why Chef Pang is still one of the finer pastry chefs in Singapore. It just tasted so immaculate. The richness of the ice cream center and the luxurious flavors from the beautifully torched meringue came together like an organic whole.

Chef Pang Kok Keong

The new savory items provide a new take on Antoinette's offerings. It gives diners a wider range of dining options and is a great way to build up to a climatic sweet finish. I do think that further tweaking is required if it wants to be up there with some of the best French dining places in Singapore, savory-wise.

For the sweets, it is already there.

Antoinette at Penhas
30 Penhas Road

The new savory and plated desserts menu is also available at the rest of the Antoinette outlets:

Antoinette at Palais Renaissance
390 Orchard Road

Antoinette at Mandarin Gallery
333A Orchard Road

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