Sunday, September 23, 2012
Le Jardin D'Antoinette at Palais Renaissance
Antoinette's fourth branch is in a most fitting location - Palais Renaissance. The pâtisserie and salon de thé is named after France's last queen Marie-Antoinette who is known for her extravagance, and you'll see some over-the-top display of luxury reflected here too.
Le Jardin D'Antoinette takes place in a garden-like setting at the bright sunlit basement, complete with open roof gazebo. Flowers, greenery, vintage furniture and romantic fixtures create the perfect idyllic setting for afternoon tea, an escape from hectic city life, right on Orchard Road itself.
But if you prefer some privacy, you can retreat into the boudoir-like Le Salon d'Antoinette, an enclosed dining area.
For small group meetings of eight to 10, you could book the opulent Le Salon l'Elysee. Special dining packages come with the room.
Chef Pang Kok Keong personally takes care of many of the design aspects, right down to the fabrics and fixtures used in the outlet. It's amazing how he manages to meticulously curate every single detail despite what must be an enormously busy schedule.
Even the baby chairs are specially custom made or sourced - don't they look almost fit for royalty?
There are new additions to the menu too. We shared our dishes below, so what you see is not the full portion.
Classic French Onion Soup (S$16.50)
Oh the sharp aroma of baked cheese that greeted us when this was brought to our table! It was the golden crust made of Parmesan and Gruyere. While the veal and chicken broth was richly flavoured with caramelised onions and a slice of cheese baguette (from their 24-hour baguette), it was the crust that really stole my heart.
Tartine de Nicoise (S$26, actual portion 3 times larger)
Butter lettuce, French bean, tomatoes, olives, 3-minute egg, anchovy, and seared tuna served on levain
Essentially a Nicoise salad atop homemade pain au levain (the sourdough is cultured for 16 days in the main kitchen). Healthy sandwich lunch, anyone?
Confit de Poitrine de Porc (S$36)
Traditional French style pork belly confit served with garlic mash, seasonal vegetables and mustard sauce
Pork belly is love! And it's a clever move to confit this using duck fat instead of lard - so the pork gets an added taste dimension. Love the flavours, even if this was not quite melt-in-the-mouth tender and the crackling skin is not as brittle as the Chinese style. The full portion is about three to four slices - how awesome that must be!
Bouchées aux fruits de mer (S$30)
Seafood in puff pastry case
This might seem ordinary to some, but it was sheer comfort food for me. Fresh seafood sharing their umami beauty with a creamy base. Quarter portion shown here.
Prawn Crumble (S$26)
Spaghettini aglio olio style with fresh prawns, anchovy crumble and parsley pesto
The crumble has black olives and anchovies tapenade - double umami punch. Note that this is a very dry pasta, and some folks may not be used to it.
Yuzu cremeux, white chocolate vanilla mousse, light sponge cake, almond sable
A very pretty dessert with a pretty name. It's one of the lighter creations, and the subtle fragrance of yuzu ties it all together.
Green tea mascarpone mousse, chestnut cremeux, almond crumble green tea finger sponge
This dessert is not entirely new, but it's my favourite of the lot. Chef Pang has combined the popular elements of green tea with chestnut instead of adzuki beans, and it works very well.
Tarte Exotique (S$8.50)
Almond tart, gula Melaka cremeux, finger sponge with gula Melaka, coconut mousse, exotique coulis
For me, the gula Melaka element makes this less than exotic, and perhaps it was also the tang of mango (from the sphere) that didn't quite go with the palm sugar. But others may like it - the almond crust is lovely.
Forbidden Fruit (S$9)
Green apple mousse, maple cremeux, vanilla caramel apple, green apple jelly, financier cake
This is Chef Pang's personal favourite among the new desserts. It is a complex cake indeed with contrasting layers and fragrances of apple, vanilla and maple. But I'm not a fan of green apple or sourish desserts, so it was the Kyoto that was love at first bite for me.
There are plenty more cakes and pastries to choose from, as you can see from the gorgeous display case.
I'm sure you spot some of your regular favourites. You can also see more cakes in my first Antoinette review here.
Antoinette now also has lovely gift box tins with the signature silhouette.
Chef Pang certainly gets an "A" for his tremendous effort in bringing together this whole outfit and overseeing so many details. His hard work has given us another place to relax, perhaps revel in flights of fancy and enjoy the sweet fruits of life.
ANTOINETTE AT PALAIS RENAISSANCE
390 Orchard Road,
B1-08/09/10C Palais Renaissance
Tel: +65 6735-6392
Open daily: 11am - 10pm
Many thanks to Sixth Sense for hosting and Chef Pang for his kind hospitality.
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