Monday, October 2, 2017

Antoinette Launches New Menu : When Hakka Meets French

Mod-Sin is not an unfamiliar term in Singapore’s gastronomical scene but talk about French-Hakka fusion, I am quite sure Chef Pang of Antoinette is the first to launch it in Singapore. On the savoury menu is a repertoire of new dishes—of which some pay tributes to Chef Pang’s own Hakka’s culinary heritage. For instance, the Hakka Gnocchi ($24) is a colourful variation of the usual yam balls with the use of beetroot, sweet potato and purple sweet potato. I was a bit worried that the foie gras might overpower the dish but fortunately it did not. The flavourful stir-fry of dried shrimps, cured pork and morels make this no less delicious than an authentic Hakka suan pan zi.  

The Spaghetti ($24) is a delicious spin off from the classic Hakka noodles with a robust pork belly ragout with cuttlefish and aromatic elements like the ebi sakura. I might be biased towards Chinese noodles but this dish appeals to me anytime better than a plate of traditional spaghetti. I can imagine myself finishing the entire portion with chilli padi. As a half Hakka who is being raised by my Hakka maternal grandparents, I grew up with a fondness for suan pan zi and niang dou fu. Although these can be found in some hawker centres, I always feel that Hakka cuisine is under-represented versus Cantonese or Teochew cuisine. As such, it is heartening to learn that Hakka food has been placed on the French menu, giving more people the chance to understand and taste what Hakka food is.

Bread and Butter ($5) : Satay Bacon Epi, Levain, Baguette, 5 spice escargot with butter in unique flavours like chye poh and sambal

But the menu goes beyond the love story of French and Hakka. There’s local inspired dishes like Chicken Rice or Kale Caesar Salad that has a funky salted fish dressing. I highly recommend the Chili Crab Arancini (3pcs) because it tastes just like having chilli crab but without the trouble of deshelling the crab. Think of a giant crab meat ball, deep-fried to a golden crisp exterior with a gooey cheesy core, served in a pool of homemade chilli sauce cooked with lobster bisque. The bonus is the nuggets of fried Chinese buns littered randomly in the dish. What a clever interpretation of the Chilli crab dish and I love this more than the real dish. 
Expect no less from the desserts section as it has always been Antoinette’s forte. The Misty Forest ($18) that makes a smoky entrance reminded me of Harry Potter’s movie; as dark and mysterious as the main grand cru dark chocolate cremeux that envelops the tastebuds. But if there’s one dessert that is bound to win Singaporean’s hearts, it will be Pandan ($14), a 2-part dessert comprising of pandan kaya butter toast served alongside a plated dessert of Pandan ice cream, coral sponge, caviar, coconut crumble, lime foam and salted gula Melaka.    
Pandan, pandan, pandan. I haven’t come across any Singaporeans who don’t like pandan. This dessert is almost like a dream come true for myself who loves every single element here. And now, I (secretly) wish that there’ll be a pandan entremet on the cake collection next year.

Penhas Outlet
30 Penhas Road Singapore 208188
Mon-Thur 11am-10pm
Fri/Eve of PH 11am-11pm
Sat 10am-11pm
Sun/PH 10am-10pm

Mandarin Outlet 
33A Orchard Road, Mandarin Gallery, 
#02-33/34, Singapore 238897 
11am-10pm daily


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