Dinner @ Restaurant André [Revisit]

December 28, 2016 in European, French by thywhaleliciousfay

This may sound cliche but it was as though the universe was sending me signs to return to Andre when 3 parties mentioned Restaurant Andre on different occasions.

A few months ago, a friend casually brought up Andre after seeing pictures from his cousin’s instagram account. And a few days later, the friend who dined at Andre with me in 2010 revisited Andre and texted me to say the food has improved lots. Now, this particular friend of mine has really exquisite taste. If it’s a yes from him, the dishes must be really good. So when my IGGF (InstaGram GirlFriend) said she had been wanting to check out Andre, we decided to do just that. =)

I mean… I had to keep up with my 3-years visit too; Having dined at Andre in 2010 and 2013, I had to return before 2016 came to an end. Especially when Andre was recently awarded 2 Michelin stars. =p

Reservation was made 2.5 months in advance. And reservation procedure had become more complicated since 2013. But that’s not surprising as those were measures needed to deter last minute cancellation. To make reservation, one had to make a request from their website.

Within 2 days, I received an email with payment details as we were required to make a deposit of $50 within 48 hours to secure the table. The deposit would be used to offset the meal’s cost. And do be mindful of cancellation and last minute change charges. 20% for 72 hours notice, 50% for 48 hours notice and 100% for 24 hours notice.

My IGGF and I arrived excitedly on a Saturday evening in December. Upon entering, chef Andre Chiang was waiting at the lounge (to our direct right) with his staff to welcome us. Such a nice surprise! Thank goodness we were punctual. Keke. And I guess that’s also the difference between 7pm and 8.30pm. At 7pm, one gets to meet chef Andre in person before he becomes too busy in the kitchen. After exchanging some words, the staff led us to our table.


It’s a first for me to be seated at level 3. To reach the topmost level, we took the lift. The lift was located at the entrance of the kitchen (but shielded from patrons dining at level 1) as it’s used by servers to deliver food from kitchen to the various levels. So yes, felt very privileged to get a glimpse of the kitchen!

In terms of interior decor, level 3 is pretty different from level 2. It felt as though we were entering chef Andre’s living room with books, autographed plates and his Michelin star plaque adorning the walls on shelves. And one gets to see more of chef Andre at level 3 because there’s a mezzanine floor which served as his office.

And with that, we started our $350 octaphilosophy dinner menu with:-

1) Snack #1, Complimentary (above) – Capsule ball with cherry and balsamic, topped with red seaweed. And as what the staff said, it had an after taste of chocolate. Amazing.

2) Snack #2, Complimentary (above) – Crispy chips; Porcini mushroom (brown), scallop (white) and purple potato (purple).


  
  

3) Snack #3, Complimentary (above) – Butter squash, salted duck york and vanilla, fish and chip, wild mushroom tart dusted with coriander powder, celeriac puree with miso strip, and abalone and its liver on crispy seaweed. Presentation was superb. The staff shared that chef Andre worked with a local architect to design the display set. So yes, we were eating off Marina Bay Sands and Supertree of Gardens by the Bay. But because the display set was huge (as wide as the table), my IGGF and I had much difficulty trying to get everything into a frame. Keke. And of the 5, the fish and chip was my favourite!


  

4) Snack #4, Complimentary (above) – Charcoal dough fritter served on a bed of real charcoal, with dipping sauce of piquillo (pepper from north Spain) and sweet shrimp (amaebi) tartar. And this was another favourite. I loved it so much that I was tempted to ask for seconds. But I knew better not to; I needed to reserve stomach space. We haven’t even started on our dinner menu!


5) Unique (above) – Corn, horseradish, almond and vanilla. So while there’s a piece of sliced corn on the top, what’s more fascinating was the capsule ball beneath it. Bite into it to have corn soup bursting in one’s mouth.


6) Pure (above) – Crab ravioli, served alongside pear ice and leek water.

7) Bread, Complimentary (above) – It was a little weird to have bread served after 2 of our 8 courses since bread is often served before appetiser. But greedy me finished the bread nonetheless. Haha. And we were told the sourdough was baked from their sister restaurant, Burnt Ends. Okie, that’s new. I didn’t know Restaurant Andre had affiliated restaurants.

8) Salt – Squid pasta and potato puree in kelp jus, with barley and puffed grains.


9) South (above) – Scallop lasagna with gillardeau oyster, caviar aubergine, watercress foam and vinegar.

10) Artisan (above) – It’s hard to tell but we were told there’s 17 types of vegetables. With (striped horse mackerel) shima aji added to support the flavour. And when we were done with our dish, the staff came with a tea pot and poured fermented broth of the vegetables trimming. “Chef Andre believes we should not waste our food. This allows us to finish what remains in the bowl,” she said as she nodded at the remaining basil vinegarette. Respect.


  

11) Texture (above) – Risotto Risoni pasta with mushroom and buckwheat wafer. It being the (alba) white truffle season, the staff said we could top up $90 for 5g which will be used on 1 course, or $180 for 10g for 3 courses. I decided to go with 5g. And so, mine came with shaved truffle. Else, the staff will come along and shave belper knolle cheese onto the dish. And we were surprised to find yoke and chicken stork in the centre which flowed out like a lava cake as we tucked in. Brilliant.


  

12) Memory – And we were presented with chef Andre’s memory; Foie gras jelly served with black truffle coulis. This was created when he was a young chef in 1997 and his head chef challenged him to make something. Chef Andre liked his creation so much that he put it on his menu. And indeed, I had this when I last dined at Restaurant Andre in 2010 and 2013. Except this time, they upgraded its presentation. Keke.


13) Terroir (above) – Pigeon baked in a ‘soil’ bed of coffee bean, cacao nibs and lindqvist. And we were served the breast and thigh, which we were told chef Andre believed these were the best parts, alongside leek powder and chips. I especially liked the thigh with the crispy skin.


14) Pre-dessert (above) – “Green tea ceremony,” the staff joked. Cold green tea ice cream, green tea chocolate with warm green tea foam. I wished there was more ice cream though. Keke.


  

15) Dessert #1 (above) – Hand sliced grape on raspberry sorbet, served in white peach soup and topped with pink coriander flowers.


16) Dessert #2 (above) – Hay ice cream on camembert cheese. The ice cream had a really unique taste. Somewhat similar to earl grey. And the texture of cheese was like souffle; Light and spongy. And it was amazing how the two went very well together.


  
  

17) Petit fours (above) – Cinammon churro with chocolate-cinnamon dip, earl grey crystalline, verjus (juice of unripe grape) pate de fruit, kaya ‘toast’ macaron, cherry madeleine and root beer float ice cream stick.

Octaphilosophy (Unique, pure, texture, memory, salt, south, artisan, terroir) is the restaurant’s overall philosophy; It’s chef Andre and his team’s method of encouraging and managing the creative process, and a principle to live by. Octaphilosophy was developed as a tool to explain a dish. And as taken from their website, all dishes are there for a reason and all are equally important.

And indeed, every dish was superb. Like seriously… Every dish! My friend was right to say chef Andre has improved much. Definitely worthy of his 2 Michelin stars. I was initially worried there would be repeated dishes as what I experienced in 2013. But thankfully, there wasn’t any except for his ‘Memory’ dish which chef Andre said would still be on the menu when I return in 2019. Keke.

Our dinner stretched over 4 hours. Though in all honesty, it didn’t feel that long. I guess time just slipped by in front of good food and wonderful company. =) But I think 45 minutes were probably spent taking pictures of our food. Oops.

Will I recommend Restaurant Andre? Definitely!

RESTAURANT ANDRÉ
41 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore
6534 8880, Website, Facebook
Overall: 9
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 10
Wed, Fri : 12:00 – 15:00 (Lunch)
Ambience: 8
Tue – Sun : 19:00 – 22:00 (Dinner)
Value: 9
Service: 9
* Closed on Mon, alternate Sun

UPDATE: Restaurant was awarded 2 Michelin stars by Michelin Guide Singapore 2017.