finding fellow salad eaters is a difficult task here in singapore, so it’s a great relieve to find people who wouldn’t stare at you if you order a salad as your main and instantly assume you are on some insane diet or some religious mumbo-jumbo. no, i actually find salads nice and a refreshing choice if prepared well. no kidding. =)
anyways, finally got down to going to antoinette @ mandarin gallery after many misguided aborted attempts during the weekends. this place is really getting alot of buzz and probably raking it rich, considering a third outlet is being set up near ann siang (the first being at penhas road). there’s something posh, french and atas about the place that i think is irresistible to most girls and the find also matches the ambience – the menu serves all-day french breakfasts with crepes, waffles, pain perdu (french toast) as well as other french classics ranging from salads to beef bourguinon. and then of course the highlights which are the desserts. the fact that i really liked my salad dish but was still salivating at the dishes being served at other tables is testament of how well the menu has been crafted to attract crowds. =)
i think what creates the ambience is mainly the dim lighting, the posh victorian style cushioned furniture, the beautifully monogrammed napkins and menus all contribute to creating this fantastical theme of being in Versailles and living the life of Marie Antoinette or her many courtiers. mind you, this is a very good singaporean interpretation of french olden luxury. whoever did the branding for this place really did their work. ok lah, let’s get to the food.
I got the salad lyonnaise, which had a garden greens, tomatoes, buttered croutons, pieces of bacon strips and topped with a runny egg. felt that the combination was really pretty good, with fresh ingredients which is essential for a good salad. this salad is like a semi-guilty salad — u avoid alot of carbs (just the croutons), you get some sinful food in the form of the bacon, but it is offset with the greens and a general sense of lightness. its a good salad, perhaps a tad expensive. ahh well, paying for ambience again -_- but to be honest, i haven’t found many places that really pay attention to their salad selections and put in efforts to create delicious, creative novel salads (i mean, besides like mesclun and salad shop but they are irritating located in the CBD area and closed on weekends. like hello? it’s not only bankers and stuff that eats grass you know!?)
the main highlight of course was tasting the desserts, since my friend and I were both very into desserts. we got the exotique and some meringue +creme + passionfruit compote confection (can’t remember the name) to share. the exotique was some mango layer topped onto a mousse and sponge cake with gula melaka fillings. the mango was somewhat slightly too tart initially, and it was only till u managed to get to the center to taste the gula melaka and balance out the tartness did the dessert kind of work. my friend commented that this dessert grew on her, lol.. guess that’s another way to interpret it. it’s interesting, but probably not good enough to warrant gushing over it or waiting for a second try.
again a really interesting dessert, not some traditional cakey stuff. this dessert essentially was two meringue bits that enclosed the vanilla creme chantilly and passionfruit compote (which was spread kinda unevenly). the meringue tasted pretty light, but not light enough as compared to french patisseries (lol) but combined well with the vanille creme chantilly. i particularly like the creme chantilly (but errm i guess its pretty easy to make) but found it difficult to taste or interpret the passionfruit compote within the dessert. another ok dessert.
overall? to be honest, this restaurant works because it fills a niche that surprisingly hasn’t been fully developed in singapore excepts perhaps by canele — the posh-feeling, french-inspired patisserie + mid-range restaurant that attracts girls like bees to honey. the cakes are interesting but not as fantastic as they are hyped to be (wished we could have tried the antoinette but it was sold out by then). the salads are nice, but well, its a little overpriced and i guess i can’t comment on the level of cooking because i didn’t get any complex dishes. nevertheless i want to come back and try them. it seems weird but i cant really think of another place that serves similar food, except perhaps hediard, but even then, hediard only mainly serves croque monsieurs.
another thing that is nice is that despite the seemingly posh environment, you still can order ice water/hot water for free, no one scoffs at you if u are just ordering desserts and service is generally acceptable. its not like those irritating places that charge u money for fricking water. -_- overall, expect to see more antoinettes and antoinette-copy cats around town soon. 7.5/10
antoinette | 333A Orchard Road, #02-33/34 Mandarin Gallery | desserts, french