12 courses. Four hours. One amazing chef. Restaurant André is all that you might imagine and more. It seems appropriate to write about André now that his restaurant has finally received its coveted two Michelin stars.
I’d love to know what you think about Michelin – please share any thoughts below!
I’m a skeptic of Michelin for many reasons. Partly it’s the leaning toward fine dining, although I welcome the increasing recognition of hawkers and smaller restaurants in different cities. It’s also the brouhaha that seems to come with it all. And that so often a restaurant relies on its laurels after receiving a star, or stars, and is never quite the same again. I also don’t believe that the Michelin system is as incognito as we’re led to believe. The Singapore Tourism Board
is a key collaborator with Michelin’s Singapore Guide for goodness sake!
I have to acknowledge that it must be a huge feather in a chef’s cap to achieve such an accolade. And goodness knows the teams behind a good restaurant work damn hard to feed us and when they do it well they deserve all the recognition that comes their way.
As you might imagine then, writing this post has proven super difficult. Ultimately I’m completely conflicted between the love that bursts from each plate of food, the beauty and decadence of a night at Restaurant André and the taste sensations that I experienced. Versus the bill that, whilst I didn’t see it, I have a pretty good idea dinner for two was over $1,000. Obscene really. But I can’t say it wasn’t worth it. I can’t say you shouldn’t go. Restaurant André was an experience I’ll remember, from André’s amazing wife (known as Pam) at front of house to the sommelier’s knowledge of natural wines and the Korean waitresses delightful explanations of each course.
I can’t write up a course by course description though, it would take too long. I’ll stick with the highlights that I think will give you a good enough understanding of whether you’d like to visit Restaurant André, if you haven’t already. At least it may also give you something to wave under your partners nose as a suggestion that they may act upon 😉
Chef André’s ‘Octaphilosophy’ is what drives the menu choice. The eight elements of Chef Andrè’s brand of gastronomy are: Pure, Texture, Salt, Unique, Artisan, Memory, South and Terroir. This philosophy drives everything that you receive.
So, to the favourites. Fish and chips was ingenious and ultimately delicious. A crisp and salty sardine, wrapped with strands of potato and deep fried was a mouthful of wonder. Abalone on the side, for me, was irrelevant. I just loved the sardine and could have eaten several!
The dish above, presented in individual hewn out quartz like substance, was charred corn with bitter almond and horseradish. It’s impossible to explain but a smokey flavour with a gentle blast of horseradish heat was sublime.
The stone crab with cucumber and sea urchin was possibly the most beautiful food I’ve ever seen. Of course the freshness was impeccable, leaving a clean and bright feeling in your mouth.
Squid pasta with kelp juice and potato mousse was extraordinary. The potato was submerged under the kelp just waiting to be ladled towards your mouth. As soon as the creamy texture hit your tastebuds all you wanted to do was pick up the cup and drink it. Each course was so light that I actually didn’t leave feeling tremendously over stuffed, even though we had about 12 courses. That may have something to do with the few kgs I’ve put on recently!!
Now the next dish was so unusual it has to be mentioned. Inside the ‘scallop lasagne’ is a ‘burnt oyster’. That in itself isn’t so unusual but the ‘lasagne’ is actually a flattened scalloped, smoothed out by a pasta machine. The imagination that went into this dish was extraordinary.
Roasted Jerusalem artichoke boasted flawless presentation as well, with rich flavours from the kale puree and stock-like gravy that it floated in.
Look at that risotto peeking out from under the buckwheat wafer. The freshly shaved white truffle was generous and added a subtle flavour, unlike the truffle flavours so often added to dishes in Singapore. The risotto itself was immaculate.
We ditched the foie gras (I know some of you will wince, but I just cant’ do it) and instead had a vegetable broth. Which I have to say was a little underwhelming, I suppose it was payback for refusing the signature dish.
The saga beef followed to distract us and it was sublime. I did so wish that we’d doubled up on this instead of the veggie dish we had in replacement of the foie gras.
My main reservations with our whole meal experience were with dessert. Given I’m not a huge fan of dessert I guess this isn’t a surprise. Degustation menus in my experience focus too heavily on the sweeter side of a meal than I’d like. In saying that the ‘green tea ceremony’ was totally out of this world. Primarily because it wasn’t so sweet. Instead it was like pea soup in sweetness with a tinge of green tea flavours and a gloriously light and creamy texture.
Equally the cheesecake (above) was eye catching and divinely sour and sweet to the taste buds. We also enjoyed eight wine pairings with our meal. The pairings were smart and unique, and all wines were natural, and chosen very carefully from independent, small French vineyards. The sommelier gladly briefed us on a variety of Australian wineries to try for comparable wines when we get the chance.
Location and Philosophy
One other aspect of dinner at Restaurant André I enjoyed was the location. The adorable shophouse contains a simple yet elegant dining room where food is left to be the centre of attention. The picture above is of downstairs, upstairs is brighter and feels opulent without being overdone. There’s probably only seating for around 24 at a guess, so it’s not a heaving and noisy restaurant. There are plenty of soft furnishings to absorb noise so you can clearly hear your partner speak above the hushed tones around you.
At the end of the day though, people come for the food. This is what André has to say about it on the menu:
“cuisine is sophisticated and filled with emotion
elegant and simple
100% from the heart.”
André is 100% heart.
41 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore
Open for lunch Wednesday and Friday only – $198++ per head (not including wine pairing)
Open for dinner Tuesday to Saturday – $350++ per head (not including wine pairing)