"Let them eat cake!" Did the last queen of France Marie-Antoinette really uttered that infamous quip? While it will always remain questionable, I know for sure that just cakes alone isn't enough for me. Happy that Sugar Daddy Pang Kok Keong not only has tantalizing treats to satisfy the sweet tooth, he also recently introduced an entirely new and complete menu of classic French savory dishes, available for our enjoyment at all his three Antoinette Restaurant at Penhas Road, Mandarin Gallery and Palais Renaissance! Savory or sweet, Antoinette has it all! Let us eat and eat and eat!
It was this reason that brought me to Antoinette's Penhas Road flagship store. No doubt named after Marie-Antoinette and inspired by the style and private ambience of her favorite hideaway chateau, the Petit Trianon in the gardens of Versailles, the restaurant is so gorgeously bedecked in pink and gold-trimmed finery, evocative of the extravagance charm of the 18th century aristocracy yet understated and steeped in French elegance. The stage is definitely set for a queenly dining experience!
Chef Pang may be known as the "Sugar Daddy" for his meticulously crafted pastries, his first culinary training was actually in the savory. How he works with savories is modeled on how he work with sweets, applying greater precision and consistency to French classics dishes that has stood the test of time.
"I'm not about being trendy or hipster,"explains Chef Pang. "It's about a level of comfort, a connection, a continuity, with the past.
One of the dishes which exemplifies timeless comfort is the Poached Egg with Red Wine Sauce ($17.50). A combination of perfectly poached egg, sautéed mushrooms and smoked pork belly braised in red wine sauce, it was a hearty indulgence in every mouthful, and the accompanying toasted Levain bread was screaming to be dipped into the bowl of comforting goodness.
French Toast with Ham and Cheese ($14) is another all-time favorite, with Swiss Gruyère cheese cream and Paris ham sandwiched by the lovely eggy fluffiness of Brioche bread. The velvety smooth Chantilly cream and drizzle of maple syrup made the interplay of savoriness and sweetness simply irresistible.
Besides these two of the many items from the All Day Breakfast selection, the brand new savory menu also boasts a mind-bobbling variety of French Thick Pancakes, Crepes, Sandwiches, Starters, Pastas and Main Courses, all reasonably priced between $12 to $36.
A good choice of starter was our Summer Salad ($16.50) of quinoa, rocket leaves, compressed watermelon, roasted butternut squash, pumpkin seeds, sour dough chips and feta cheese, which looked utterly enchanting in its array of colors and wearing such a refreshing dressing of sherry vinaigrette that even the carnivore in me couldn't deny its beauty and taste.
But still, the addition of meat: thickly-cut slices of roasted duck breast, is very much welcomed in The Grand Garden of Antoinette ($30). Topped with a poached egg whose yolk flowed like a gentle stream of sunshine onto the blossoming bed of pickled pears, roasted asparagus, baby carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, cresses, mixed greens, sunflower seeds, cherry tomatoes, button mushrooms, lotus root chips, lavosh crackers and edible flowers in caramel orange dressing, it was altogether delightful and can be quite a substantial meal in itself for dainty appetites.
The Black Angus Ribeye Minute Steak ($36) complemented with a lip-smacking shallot red wine sauce was enjoyable as well, even though my preference is to have its outer a little bit more on the char side.
For pasta, we love the Shrimp Capellini ($26)! Coated with crustacean oil that immediately arrested our senses with its wonderful intensity of flavor, each mouthful of pasta, fresh sea shrimps and crunchy Sakura ebi burst superbly of an experience most gratifying.
Besides the savories, a foursome of plated desserts are introduced to Antoinette's menu for the first time: Warm Chocolate Cake ($16), Baked Alaska ($25), The Queen's Vacherin ($25) and Strawberry Baba ($18). You definitely have to save some tummy space for these.
We were enthralled by the Baked Alaska ($25) which made the most theatrical entrance as Grand Marnier liquor is poured over, encasing the dessert in neon blue flames. The luscious vanilla ice cream with griotte cherries cooked in kirsch, orange confit and almond nougatine, enveloped in a torched blackcurrant meringue was not only fun to watch, it was even better to eat. A totally brilliant medley of textures!
Much like Marie-Antoinette's famed towering bouffant hairdo, The Queen's Vacherin ($25) is crowned with wires of gravity-defying spunned sugar! Quintessentially rose petal meringue filled with zesty yuzu cream, vanilla ice cream and Chantilly cream, with lychees and strawberries adding a fruity touch, the layers of sweetness came across as a tad saccharine for my aging palate. But IMHO, this is an elaborate masterpiece which undeniably scores full mark for aesthetics.
If you like a strong taste of alcohol, the classic French Strawberry Baba ($18) could be the ultimate dessert for you. Baked sponge cake is soaked in citrus vanilla syrup and perfumed with a generous dose of dark aged rum and served with kirsch macerated strawberries. I'm a teetotaler in most cases but couldn't resist trying a spoonful or two. My advice: The rum can be overwhelmingly heady so take the cake with caution, but thankfully, there is the sweetness of strawberry coulis and Chantilly cream to provide balance to the overall taste.
Our desserts were uniquely paired with sencha flavored Oriental Beauty ($10/pot) Chinese tea with organic rose petals, calendula marigold flower and a hint of mint, as well as the invigorating Iced Yuzu, Mango and Passion Fruit Green Tea ($12.50/pot), both of which had me adoring each sipping moment. "I feel that the clean, light profile of Chinese tea goes well with desserts, especially pastry," says Chef Pang, "while the iced teas are visually appealing and reminds me of a garden picnic!" PinkyPiggu totally concur! And Antoinette is where I'd be back to feast to my heart's desire again!
Address: 30 Penhas Road (off Lavender Street), Singapore 208188
Contact: +65 6293 3121
Opening Hours: Mon-Thu 11am-10pm / Fri & Eve of PH 11am-11pm / Sat 10am-11pm / Sun & PH 10am-10pm
Address: 333A Orchard Road, Mandarin Gallery, #02-33/34, Singapore 238897
Contact: +65 6836 9527
Opening Hours: Daily 11am to 10pm
Palais Renaissance (Closed)
Address: 390 Orchard Road, Palais Renaissance, B1-08/09/10C, Singapore 238871
Contact: +65 6735 6392
Opening Hours: Daily 11am to 10pm