March 27, 2014

La Cantine ~ Hearty French Cuisine By 3-Michelin Star Chef Bruno Ménard

Having tried only the special limited edition Nespresso Crealto-Infused Caramel Sundae by top Chef Bruno Ménard previously, it was only a matter of time before I return to La Cantine for a more complete taste of his modern interpretations on French classics.

La Cantine at Asia Square is a collaboration between Chef Bruno (formerly from 3-Michelin star French restaurant, L'Osier in Tokyo) and Deliciae Hospitality Management (which also owns eight other restaurants including L’Entrecôte and Forlino), making him the first 3-Michelin star chef to be based permanently in Singapore since 2012.

Alas it's gonna end too soon, as it was announced not long after my visit that Chef Bruno and the food & beverage group will be parting ways next month.

I hope the delectable dishes which I've enjoyed during my visit will continue to stay on the menu though. Flammenkuche ($18), a thin-crust French savory pizza with bacon, onions, fresh cream and cheese was enjoyable as a light Apero bar bite and appetizing start to dinner.

We all love the "Momotaro" Tomato Salad ($16) with richly smooth fresh goat cheese, and donning of mixed herbs and zesty flavors. The use of award-winning juicy Japanese Momotaro tomato made this appetizer deliciously memorable, a wondrous combination of exceptionally sweetness with just the right amount of acid.

Among the other starters which we've tried, Escargots ($22 - garlic, parsley & Bellota jamon butter), "Nice" Salad ($22 - tuna, tomato, potato, bell peppers, egg, anchovies, green bean, tonnato sauce and roasted garlic oil), Scottish Atlantic Salmon Filet Tartare ($18) and Cevennes Onion Soup On A "Foie Gras Royale" Truffles scented Chantilly ($28), the soup left the deepest impression.

It was totally unlike the gratinéed, melted gruyère topped onion soup which you typically find in a French brasserie. Chef's Bruno's rendition is a much playful twist on the classic, boasting of luscious velvety froth crowned with a dollop of truffles-scented Chantilly cream. The bed of foie gras laid within was a luxurious indulgence, giving a melt-in-mouth richness copulating in perfect bliss with the delicate sweetness of premium Cevennes onion and tiny bites of crisp crouton. This signature onion soup had one of my dining companions gushing about it expressively in seemingly orgasmic high. Not kidding.

We moved on to the mains with some aquatic friends, Pan Roasted Pacific Cod Fish ($32 - "Ratte" mash potato, brown butter, almonds & capers) and Roasted Spottail Bass ($34 - provencal tomato sauce, vanilla oil & green asparagus), but it was the Roasted Spanish Suckling Pig ($152 for two pax, served with garlic jus, mashed potatoes and salad) which got us into food-porning excitement.

Chef Bruno personally did the carving for us. First sous-vide then roasted, the suckling pig was all of primal satisfaction, especially its crackling skin! Browned to a beautiful crisp, its crunchiness echoed melodiously with each gratifying chew. Just give me the skin and I'd be a happy PinkyPiggu lol. The meat is of course not to be neglected too, and the accompanying intensely sweet caramelized onion gravy which provided overall moisture to the dish is a worthy mention.

Portion is hearty and great for sharing, but if you need more dishes on the side, Mashed Potato with Garlic Oil ($6) and "Royan" Cheese Ravioli" ($10) would make pleasing choices.

Dessert selection is not on the extensive side, but a few items stood out. The Warm Chocolate Macaron ($12) with vanilla sorbet came highly recommended. Totally unlike any airy meringue cookie, the macaron at La Cantine is a soft warm dessert with an oozing chocolatey centre. The Caramel Hot Lava Cake ($15) is another sweet offering with flowing caramel delight.

I wasn't quite prepared for the Traditional "Baba au Rhum" ($14), with the strength from the shot of dark rum hitting my senses with a bang, jolting me up from the lethargicness of a food coma. Haha, it saw me carefully ensuring to get enough vanilla whipped cream to go with the rum-soaked cake for each subsequent mouthful, the initial discomfort was soon toned down and progressed into an unexplainable addictiveness. For a light refreshing palate cleanser, Fresh Strawberry Tartare ($14) with yoghurt sorbet would be most ideal.

Though Chef Bruno's name will soon no longer front La Cantine anymore, the restaurant will still be worth a visit if food standards can be maintained. Its contemporary yet cozy interior with the most unusual inverted Parisian cityscape of hand-carved wooden chandeliers makes a perfect setting for business lunches, relaxing after-work drinks or casual dinner date.

Thanks to Deliciae Hospitality Management for the invitation, and all the best to Chef Bruno Ménard!

La Cantine by Bruno Ménard
Address: 8 Marina View, Asia Square Tower 1, #01-01, Singapore 018960
Contact: +65 66907567

Opening Hours
Mon-Fri: Lunch 12pm-2.30pm / Apéro from 5pm / Dinner 6pm-9.30pm
Sat: For private bookings only
Sun: Closed

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