September 12, 2015
Garçons @ Essen At The Pinnacle ~ Restaurant Quality Modern European Cuisine In A Foodcourt!
Within just over a year, Immanuel Tee established his eponymous stall Immanuel French Kitchen at Bukit Merah, went on to open By The Fire at East Coast Road, and has now partnered up with Enoch Teo to set up Garçons @ Essen At The Pinnacle. Whoa, this young chef-owner is really on fire!
(Read: Immanuel French Kitchen: Enjoy French Food In A Coffeeshop!)
All the three joints have an unifying factor: Restaurant quality fare at affordable prices in a coffeeshop-style setting.
Same same, but still different.
The biggest difference for yours truly is that... Garçons is situated in an air-conditioned hipster foodcourt (with Two Wings as neighbour stall), and easily walkable from the nearest Tanjong Pagar mrt station (EW15, exit A). Certainly an advantage when comparing the accessibility and comfort level.
But the main draw is of course, the food.
"Garçons" (meaning "boys" in French) is rather apt for the stall's name, as boyish-looking Immanuel and Enoch met while they were still boys working at Restaurant Andre back then. The use of the French word evinces much of the modern European cuisine they serve.
The collaboration of two talented chefs means a repertoire comprising of the "best-ofs" dishes from each individual pursuit (Enoch is also the founder of Enoch's European at East Coast Road).
We identified French offerings such as Duck Leg Confit ($16.90), Garlic-herb Butter Escargot ($12.90), Pan-fried Foie Gras ($16.50), as well as the classic fare of Bangers & Mash ($14.50), Braised Lamb Shank ($17.90) and Oxtail Stew ($18.90) on the menu.
While the tender duck leg confit yielded apart easily to the gentle prod of our forks, its meat came across as a tad too dry for our liking. Their signature Chicken Roti ($14.90) was comparatively succulent in texture, and pleased much when paired with bacon succotash, sautéed mushrooms & Chardonnay cream sauce.
Go go go for the 12-hour Belly of Pork ($16.90), which was our unanimous favorite that day! Its intertwining fatty and lean meat boasted of moist and delicate tenderness, and contrasted beautifully with the crispy layer of biscuity skin cracking. We were divided on the pairing with honey-balsamic reduction though. Nat (Rubbish Eat Rubbish Grow) felt that its sweetness makes the dish taste like Chinese char siew. I thought it cut through the slight greasiness effectively.
The Pork Ragout Baked Rice Gratin ($11.50) lacked the in-your-face tangy tomato robustness like how William (my other dining companion) prefer it to be, but for a hearty carbs option, this will satisfy.
Given the above-average quality of food at wallet-friendly prices, I can see myself returning for more of the boys, oops I mean, Garçons.
Address: Essen At The Pinnacle, 1 Cantonment Road, #01-01, Singapore 080001
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 11.30am-2.30pm & 5.30pm-10pm
Prices stated are nett (no service charge, no GST).