#B1-08/09/10C Palais Renaissance, tel: 6735-6392; #02-33/34 Mandarin Gallery, tel: 6836-9527. Both outlets open daily, 11am-10pm.
30 Penhas Road, tel: 6293-3121. Open Mon to Thu, 11am-10pm; Fri & eve of public holidays, 11am-11pm; Sat, 10am-11pm, Sun & public holidays, 10am-10pm.
The cakes and macarons at this French-style patisserie-bistro in Singapore have always been a hit, but the new slew of savouries introduced by chef-owner Pang are set to impress. Take for example the photogenic The Grand Garden of Antoinette ($30) (photo above), a hefty-sized salad resplendent with colour, flavour and texture – asparagus, carrots, mushrooms, pickled pears, mixed greens, sunflower seeds, cherry tomatoes, lotus root chips and an impeccably roasted duck breast are tied together with a sweet-tangy caramel orange dressing, while a poached egg dribbles its glorious molten golden yolk all over.
Also delish is the French Toast with Ham & Cheese ($14), which has homemade brioche stuffed with melted gruyere and ham, then dipped in egg and fried so the surfaces are light and crisp. Served with whipped cream and maple syrup, this simple yet satisfying dish is a blissful union of sweet and salty.
Pang’s new desserts, however, remind us why he’s first and foremost a pastry chef. The Baked Alaska ($25), lit ablaze at the table, is a pretty lavender-hued blackcurrent meringue wrapped around vanilla ice cream, kirsch-macerated cherries, orange confit and almond nougatine – a real show-stopper.
2 The Disgruntled Chef
26B Dempsey Road, tel: 6476-5305. Open Tue to Thu, 12-2.30pm, 6-10.30pm; Fri & Sat, 12-2.30pm, 6-11.30pm; Sun, 12-4.30pm, 6-10.30pm.
After a one-year hiatus for a restaurant interior overhaul, chef Daniel Sia is back to wow with his European sharing plates, including Beet-Cured King Salmon ($18) in the prettiest shade of petal pink and a gorgeous Crackling Suckling Pig ($68) balanced with sauerkraut puree and pickled mustard seeds.
What we’ll really be returning for, though, is the Seared Scallop Carpaccio ($18) (above). A carpaccio usually comes with an acidic dressing, but this one has drops of salty soy brown butter sauce and just a hint of lime to pair with the sweetness of the Hokkaido scallops. The Grilled French Quail ($32) is also a must-try – it’s easy to overcook such a small bird but chef Daniel had it cooked just right. Its gamey taste is subtle, toned down by accompaniments of a poached egg, frisee, and crispy bacon chips.
If you’re visiting during the weekend, when 12 variations of tartines are available, zoom in on the Marie-Antoinette ($20), a dreamy pile of sliced almonds and almond cream on fluffy brioche, served with a scoop of the most heavenly prune and Armagnac ice cream – it tastes like rum and raisin, but better.
3 Restaurant Ember
50 Keong Saik Road, tel: 6347-1928. Open daily, 11.30am-2pm, 6.30pm-10pm.
What new head chef Sufian Bin Zain brings to the table at this 12-year-old European restaurant is a splash of Asian flavours, perfected in his stints at prestigious fine-dining establishments Iggy’s and Waku Ghin. For a taste of chef Sufian’s refined Eurasian cuisine, pop by for the very reasonably priced set lunch ($42), which offers three courses out of an appealing range of starters and mains that include scallops, Angus beef and barramundi.
Our pick for the entree is the Flan (above), a chawanmushi so smooth and fair. No matter how hard we looked, we couldn’t find a single bubble beneath its topping of shredded mud crab, seaweed and asparagus. The Duck Confit makes a failproof main with meat falling of its bone, crispy yet fatty skin, velvety mash and mushrooms in a glossy brown sauce.
Off the ala carte menu, the Pistachio dessert ($15) is most memorable with nutty, earthy textures of sponge, crumble and ice cream lifted by a frothy topping of ginger-milk foam.