2011 has been a year filled with gastronomic adventures for me. Restaurant Andre is the 4th restaurant I indulged myself in, from the San Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurant 2011 list.
Being an extremely new establishment (opened in Oct 2010), it was a magnificent feat for Chef Andre’s own restaurant to be ranked #100 within such short period of time. It was ranked #2 in Miele Guide 2011/2012, behind Singapore’s top restaurant – Iggy’s. It wasn’t surprising that Restaurant Andre is so well-liked since prior to starting on his own, Chef Andre had already established himself as a reknown chef while helming at Jaan par André.
Restaurant Andre is located in a shophouse at Bukit Pasoh. There was no menu at Restaurant Andre, they only serve degustation meal designed by Chef based on the theme “Octaphilosophy”. The 8-course meal ($288) were based on eight elements, each inspired by Chef’s experience in his culinary journey. They were: Pure, Salt, Artisan, South, Texture, Unique, Memory and Terrior.
We started the dinner with a set of snacks. Andre’s version of “Fish & Chips” laid in a garden of “soil”. I absolutely loved the “soil” as its made of Chocolate and Fried Garlic. I never thought these 2 ingredients could ever be cooked together!!!
Another snack that impressed me was the presentation of “Fish Tartare“, with the mini clothes peg used to secure the paper wrapping them.
Next we moved into the dinner proper starting with the element “PURE“. The presentation of the dish could easily pass off as a Japanese fine art. Light and Elegant. The Scallop Ravioli wrapped around Japanese Chive, served in Purple Cauliflower Consomme looked just like a serene painting.
“SALT” is a dish without any additional seasoning. Chef intended to present the ingredients in their natural taste. On the left was Oyster with Jelly covered in a layer of Seaweed topped with Umibudou. On the right was Granny Smith Apple Foam. Surprisingly I don’t find the granny smith apple sour nor acidic at all. In fact I thought it had a tinged of sweetness which brought out the saltiness of the sea water jelly and balanced the taste of the oyster well. I loved the feeling of Umibudou seaweed popping in my mouth. =)
The next element was “ARTISAN” and to reflect the element, the plate used to present the dish was handmade by Chef Andre. Amazingly, I ate the eggplant!!! (something which I dun like but forgot to tell them). The eggplant was supposed to absorbe the collagen from the duck tongue on top. I particularly enjoyed the deep fried crispy root vegetable on the right.
“SOUTH” was a 2-part dish inspired by Chef’s 12 years of stay in South of France. On the left was flounder fish with tomatoes and permisson sorbet; and on the right was Sea Urchin Risotto topped with assortment of seafood. Excellent dish as I’m a huge Seafood Lover!!!
“TEXTURE” was a playful dish, playing mind games with the guests. The simple-looking yet complex-tasting dish was presented on a longish textured black slate. The server explained that this dish was Squid with Rice but after serving the dish, the server invited diners to make a guess on which portion was the Squid and which portion was the Rice. Any discerning diner would eventually tell that the white “rice-looking” risotto was finely chopped squid while the black looking portion was rice cracker. After finishing the dish the server then asked diners for their answers. While I was pretty close with the answer that squid was cooked with cheese and cauliflower puree (I missed the 2nd component); rice cracker had charcoal added in it to get its colour (I guessed it had squid ink).
“UNIQUE” was a combination of egg with mushrooms. The server explained that black boned chicken egg was used for this dish, topped with Iberico Ham. It wasn’t really that unique to me as it tasted similar to a dish I had at another top restaurant. But I still enjoyed the well-executed dish.
Final 2 dishes are “MEMORY” and “TERRIOR“. “MEMORY” was the dish on the top left: foie gras jelly, black truffle coulis with japanese chives. Its called “MEMORY” because it was the first receipe by Chef Andre back in 1998. I liked that it was presented in a clear double wall glass, which kept the food warm and allowed us to see the foie gras jelly at the bottom. For non-foie gras eater, it was replaced by Black Truffle Spaghetti. Sadly there wasn’t any freshly shaved truffles topping it…
I wasn’t sure what the “TERRIOR” element meant to Chef Andre as it wasn’t explained. My own interpretation would be this dish would go well with Burgundy wine!!! Haha…
We had the Sommelier paired a white wine for the first half of the meal and a red wine for the second half of the meal to match the steak. This dish had beef, mustard seeds, pea puree, french root vegetable. The addition of mustard seeds was a nice touch as it brought out the flavour of the steak.
With that we completed the 8 elements.
We were offered either cheese platter or a pre-dessert, naturally we opted for the latter. The pre-dessert was goat cheese ice cream, nice. I must admit that I was apprehensive about taking goat cheese until I tried it at Attica Restaurant (in Australia) earlier this year and had no qualms about having it again =)
Dessert was Chocolate with caramel sponge, ice cream with chocolate sphere and chocolate soil. Being a chocolate person, I absolutely enjoyed it! Excited by the rich chocolate oozing out from the sphere when I sliced it opened.
Last was the petits fours comprising of white chocolate popcorn, grape fruit jelly, passion fruit marshmallow and madeleine.
We finished our dinner in 3 hours and after our meal, Chef Andre was seen going from table by table to chat with the diners. Many of the patrons were surprised that such a young chef has 20 years of culinary experience as Andre started cooking at the age of 15! From our short interaction with him, we could felt that despite his great achievements, he was a humble and modest person.
[Updates on 26th Feb 13]
Restaurant Andre was ranked No.5 at the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants. Our heartiest congratulations to Chef Andre~
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