Sunday, January 29, 2012
Antoinette @ Mandarin Gallery, Singapore
Gong Xi Fa Cai everyone.
How has the Water Dragon been treating you so far?
I kinda feel like Stella who lost her groove as my zeal to blog is a little waning...but like all good people, I better get back in the saddle quickly or else, I reckon I will be fined again for blog abandonment issues.
I'm clearing the mountain of backlog...including posts I had from last year during a whirlwind trip to Singapore. Since half of the family is there, usually time is devoted to them but I do manage to sneak some time out to check out this place Antoinette.
The French may turn up their noses to this Laduree doppelganger-like cafe but it seems this place is so hot that you need to queue for at least 30 minutes or more to score a table here (they don't take reservations here unlike their other outlet). Designed like a French boudoir with a matte gold ceiling, chandeliers and black and white sketches, it makes a pleasant place to partake a cuppa provided you have ounces of patience for the long wait.
One thing you will notice is the clientele is predominantly female with a scattering of faithful boyfriends or hubbies in tow. And...maybe because I was there just before Xmas, they were all dressed to kill for tea for major camwhoring sessions. Singaporeans, please enlighten me..is that the norm and they follow Tokyo where the girls like to dress up for tea sessions?
Since the tummy was rather full from lunch, I settled for French Toast with salty caramel.
Made from rich buttery brioche, this came with a vanilla seed studded whipped cream. I rather enjoyed this - mopping the decadent caramel with just the right hint of saltiness with my fluffy butter laden bread.
All around me, most people were ordering the breakfast items - all day breakfast choices with eggs, 24 hour baguettes, blinis (not shaped like small ones it seems but pancake sized) and eggs including an Egg Florentine. Another popular choice seemed to be pasta with egg, club sandwiches. The Queen of France may turn in her grave though as there's burgers in the menu. Maybe she can be appeased with sweet and savoury crepes or better still...her favourite cake.
In front of the restaurant stands an enticing array of sweet treats - Religieuse of caramel with fleur de sel (Looking prim with her nun's wimpole), Saint Honore L'Amour topped with a red rose petal, mont blancs (chestnuts mountains), Le Royale with its dark chocolate cloak, and etc. There are also an array of jewel-like macarons. On the side table, are the meringues, kouglof, caneles and etc to tempt you. So much to choose from, I can image those who love sweets will go crazy here.
I settle for the namesake, Antoinette. It is essentially a milk chocolate mousse infused with Earl Grey tea with a chocolate sponge cake and a bit of crunch within. On its own, it can be rather rich but pop the berry on top and a dribble of raspberry sauce seems to balance out the decadent chocolate goodness with a hit of tanginess.
In addition, I did pack some macarons home that I almost forgot. The baby blue boxes even resemble Laduree with their gold twirls on the side...just that it is not in pastel green. In general, the macarons were generously filled with ganache but flavours were a little on the artificial side I felt. Moreover, if you spot the pictures, the shells seem to have a grainy texture.
To sum it up, I guess this is your next best thing without flying to gay Paree for the real thing. Service is efficient and brisk. This happens to be part of Pang Kok Keong's sweet empire. Formerly from Les Amis and the man behind the Canele, this Parisian themed patisserie joins his Pique Nique, a laid back diner.
Tel: 02- 6836 9527
(Non Halal. Open from 11am to 10pm daily. Only walk-ins so line up at the door for a table. Original outlet is at Penhas Road in Lavender. Also has places in Palais Rennaissance and Scarlette Hotel. For more pictures, see the Flickr set.)
*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here is entirely based on my personal tastebuds and may vary for others. This review is time sensitive; changes may occur to the place later on that can affect this opinion. The reviewer also declares that she has not received any monetary or non-monetary compensation from this place for writing the review.