Singapore, September 2016 – For my birthday this year, I chose Restaurant ANDRE (Two Michelin star restaurant and #3 Asia’s Best 50 Restaurants), because of his innovative cuisine with impeccable presentation, not to mention excellent service and stylish ambience.
Although it was not my first time there, I felt equally excited and anxiously waited for the multiple course dinner to begin. There is no menu – everyone gets served the Octaphilosophy degustation.
Our degustation menu varied slightly from those of neighboring tables. We were impressed by Chef André’s ability to surprise us again – same theme but varying interpretation and execution.
Let’s take a look…Start with the Snacking…so many that I have trouble remembering where the actual degustation dinner began.
Wild Mushroom Tart
“Spring Tree” Cabbage-Curry / Swiss Chard / Potato Vinegar
Miso / Celeriac / Wild Flowers
Abalone / Liver / Crispy Kombu
Fish & Chips
Butternut / Salted Egg / Vanilla
Charcoal with Japanese Mayonnaise
Here comes the Dinner…
UNIQUE – Charred Corn / Bitter Almond / Horseradish
ARTISAN – Dry Aged Scallop / Enoki Floss / Tofu
SALT – Squid Pasta / Kelp Jus / Potato Mousse – Ironically, this dish has no salt in it.
SOUTH – Caviar Aubergine / Scallop Lasagne / Burnt Oyster – Another incredible dish was South, inspired by his years working in the South of France. The oyster was lightly pan-seared, and the scallop lasagna was unlike anything I have tasted.
PURE – Roasted Topinambouri / Aji And Mussel / Kale Puree
Home Made Truffle Spaghetti
MEMORY – Kaffir / Lime / Homard – the Memory (usually his foie gras mousse with brown truffles) was replaced with another Memory – Kaffir/Lime/Homard – a dish that reminds Chef André of his wife (of Thai descent). It was beautifully presented, lightly flavored and made with the finest lobster and root vegetables.
TERROIR – Forest Chips / Cacao Nips / Welsh Lamb – Chef André was chatting with us, when this unique dish arrived. While he served the dish, he explained about the cooking methods – it is lamb cooked inside forest chips and cacao nips at about 600 degrees (I think that was what he said). Whatever temperature it was, this Welsh lamb was perfectly cooked, pink and tender.
We previously had two versions of Welsh lamb at this restaurant, and each was prepared differently; yet every dish was tender, juicy and delicious.
For the sweet-tooth, Desserts…
“Green Tea Ceremony” – Green tea ice cream with green peas and Chizo leaves followed by a Sorbet with sliced grapes. It cleansed our palettes and was refreshing.
Red Grapes / White Peach / Bergamote – In December 2015, Mr. King and I had a similar menu, so there were some overlaps, dishes which we have tasted before. We were so overwhelmed and impressed during the first dinner, but it took the second dinner (this meal) to reveal some dishes that we may have overlooked. One of these was the dessert – Red Grapes / White Peach / Bergamote. Simply a perfect marriage of raspberry parfait, hand sliced grapes with white peach soup….the pink clay with embedded Sakura flowers plate on which this dessert is served – was handmade by Chef André.
D.Y.I. Cake – The star dessert came in the form of a DYI Cake – we were served flour, chocolate, butter, sugar cubes, eggs, small pitcher of milk. One of Chef André’s childhood favorites was raw cookie dough, and this was his way of incorporating his beloved foods into the menu. There was more than meets the eye! Another tromph-l’oeil! Eggs were in fact, custard. Flour was actually milk powder, and milk was made of rice. Sugar cubes were marshmallows and butter were corn ice cream! Mix them all up et voilà, our very own raw cookie dough!
“Kaya Toast” – According to Chef André, “the Singapore Toast was made in exactly the same way as traditional kaya toast…but shaped into a macaroon. So if you were to close your eyes and eat one, it should taste like kaya toast!” Kaya toast is Singapore’s national dish –coconut jam & butter prepared on toast, served throughout the day at local kopitiams (cafés).
“Verjus and Pine Floss”
“Cherry Coke” Chupa Chups – infused with homemade soda
French Earl Grey Crystalline
Churros / Nutella
Last but not least, birthday cake was served, and it arrived to the “Happy Birthday” tune played by a delicate wooden music box. How delightful! And what a way to end such a spectacular meal!
Restaurant ANDRE (#32 , The World’s Best 50 Restaurants) is one of those places that you need to go at least twice to fully appreciate the broad range of his culinary repertoire.
For my other articles on Restaurant ANDRE, Edible Art by Chef Andre, ANDRE – Food & Art Collide and Lunch @ Restaurant ANDRE. Chef André is also involved in a few other dining concepts, including RAW in Taipei.
Restaurant ANDRE – 41 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore 089855, Tel: +65 6534 8880, www.restaurantandre.com
All photos were taken by Mrs. King.