Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Antoinette- C'est une affaire de femme

The idea of scones and a pot of tea were what I grew up with, but only found in Enid Blyton books.
It isn't a retro rewind but what I'd personally see as a reprieve of the industrial revolution in the subtlest sense. This Parisian style pâtisserie, salon de thé (tea room) and restaurant does well in recreating the exquisite high tea experience of the French and has clearly distinguished itself from the competition with its elaborate doneness.

There are places for high tea and then there is Antoinette.

This 26 seater was a cozy affair indeed with midnight blue velvet plush seats that make it a perfect venue for a tête-à-tête. There's even a fake fireplace that sits in a corner of the restaurant. Be prepared to wait if you're visiting in more than two. And wait you shall, because who would bear to leave the comforts of the chair and the charmingly muted shades of gold and pastel blue?

This colorful repertoire of Parisian style desserts was just too painful for one as indecisive as I. And there were familiar favourites from Chef's Pang's creations as the former executive pastry chef at the Les Amis Group's Canele. Decisions decisions. Sometimes a man does come in handy. A quick text to a friend and his immediate reply to check out the chocolate desserts helped me cut to the chase and settle on one. Yes, just one. The interior may be excessive but my head was screwed on tight and it told me that my stomach was most definitely not in excess of itself in capacity. :)

Choosing a burger was easier than I thought it would be. Just base it on your choice of meat. :)
We're beefing it up with the Burger Royale. Pretty chargrilled lines that show up on the brioche give it a crisp exterior while maintaining that fluffiness of bread. How did they do that? The aged cheddar was beautifully melted over the thick juicy patty of beef packed full of juicy flavour in each bite.
Watch the juice when you slice into it.

And that's because I haven't seen anyone eat with hands here. There's a certain je nai sais quoi about this place that heightens one's awareness of social graces and table ettiquette.
The tomato relish left a refreshingly clean aftertaste on the palate unlike ketchup. And no, you do not need to ask for sauce. There's enough of all that in the burger for you to want to protect that lovely original mix of flavours.
The petit salad was simply dressed with balsamic vinegar and although I'd have preferred potato wedges/ chips, these crisps served at the side were the thick handcooked variety a la Kettle Chips and are apparently imported from France. Now these, you can use your hands. Don't try spearing these with forks.

Half a serving of this was more substantial than I thought. It might've been because of our choice of beef?
But I could see how this would cater to the men who visit.

The Antoinette ($9) was a layered cake of earl grey-infused milk chocolate mousse, dark chocolate earl grey tea cremeux, earl grey tea crumble and chocolate biscuit. And a ‘bubble’ of raspberry coulis sat atop this beautiful chocolate confection.
Not normally as how the chocolate overtakes every other flavour, the earl grey was distinct in taste and fragrance, giving a slight bitterness that did well to balance out the sweetness of milk chocolate and the tart sourness of the raspberry coulis bubble when burst. Don't greedily pop that into your mouth. You'd be looking like a lemon for a bit. Take a forkful deeper within to cut into the brittle biscuit texture of the hazelnut feullitine which contrasts beautifully with the softness of the mousse. You'll be hardpressed to leave any morsel of this dessert behind. And if you were thinking about it, you really shouldn't be caught licking the plate at this place.
This was more than just a tea patisserie where my expectations were only limited to dainty treats that would hardly line the stomach but here at Antoinette, I've been surprised with well-executed and substantial dishes for more than just a spot of tea, perhaps even a dining place for full meals. The men would be well fed with the food, never mind the interiors that were obviously meant for a feminine affair.

While its ostentatious, over the top furnishings and that check presented in a silver jewel box (!) were a little too much for me to handle at first, I'll soon be back for more. Perhaps at the other outlets next time and well prepared to pay some rather dear prices.

And just a random bit of information, Antoinette is part of the Sugar Daddy Group which also owns and operates American-style bakery Pique Nique at Ngee Ann City. This I walked past on my way to Mandarin Gallery and their pricings were equally extravagant. You're definitely needing a sugar daddy for this if you were making visits on a daily basis.

Antoinette, 333A Orchard Road, Mandarin Gallery, #02-33/34,
+65 6836 9527 

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