Sunday, December 18, 2016

Singapore Food Blog - Antoinette @ Penhas Road

Location:  Central Business District (CBD), Singapore

Recommended: various cheese tarts (~SGD3)

Antoinette has appeared in the scene for quite some time but despite the fact that my place is relatively close to it, I never get to visit its main branch in Penhas Road until quite recent. Even though the Lavender scene is packed with novelty hipster cafes (such as Chye Seng Huat Hardware) and great dining spots (such as Lighthouse Bistro), Antoinette still manage to secure itself as not just another cafe but an original entity.

The pristine white exterior and its name are clear giveaways that this is a place with a focus on French food and pastries. Upon entering, I immediately succumbed to the rows of colorful macarons and cakes demanding the attention of my sweet tooth. Recently one of the owner chef's offer that grabbed foodie's attention is their own lineup of cheese tarts to ride on the sudden craze, so naturally I had to grab some for myself.

A pristine white front

The interior could use some further improvement in decor, but nonetheless looks cozy.

Antoinette also offers some seasonal goods such as mooncakes during Mid-Autumn Festival. I wonder how good their sales were...

Colorfully sweet temptations

Macarons anyone?

Antoinette's Terrarium (SGD21.90) is undoubtedly one of the contender for the most beautiful pastry. Just as its namesake suggests, a miniature garden has been carefully sculpted out of various pastry materials and captured within a transparent capsule much like a Pokemon is in a Pokeball. Nevertheless I felt that the chef has overdone it - pastries too beautiful to eat may no longer capture the feel to be consumed. It should be beautiful in a sense that it asks to be eaten. Anyway I didn't try it...

Antoinette's choices of cheese tarts include: The Queen's Cheese Tart (SGD2.60), Salted Yolk Cheese Tart (SGD3), Salted Caramel Cheese Tart (SGD2.60), Vanilla Cheese Tart (SGD2.60), Grand Cru Chocolate Cheese Tart (SGD3) and Matcha Cheese Tart (SGD2.60). Although they were mentioned as limited time offer (since back in April), it doesn't seem like they will go off the shelf anytime soon. Their creamy texture and indisputable heavenly flavors earned our full score right after first chomp. My personal favorite has to be the Salted Caramel version for its addictive caramel taste (or was it just me?).

Their other novelties are special flavor croissants, like the Salted Yolk Lava Croissant (SGD6), Matcha Croissant (SGD6) and Chili Crab Croissant (SGD7.50), although I couldn't imagine how the last one would feel. We went with the Matcha Croissant and got ourselves a mouthful of green tea goodness, its thick matcha infusing our palate with subtle bitterness proof that real powder was used as part of its ingredient.

Only a nice pot of tea would help wash down a thirsty throat after chomping on delicious pastries. Antoinette did a great job in working out their tea infusion selections, providing us with choices divided into groups of Black Tea, Chinese Tea, Herbal Tea and New Tea (for the hipsters perhaps?). My favorite would have to be their Parfum d'Antoinette (SGD9) for its distinctive aroma of lavender for calming the nerves, and Moroccan Mint (SGD8.50) for its subtle minty taste infused in the tea.

My favorite cup of tea offered by Antoinette would be Moroccan Mint (SGD8.50) and Parfum d'Antoinette (SGD9).

A stylish sugar container emblazoned with their logo.

Wasn't sure what was special about Cafe Antoinette Cream (SGD6.80) but it has the cafe's name so I gave it a try. The coffee is alright but the cream is surprisingly milky, sweetening and smoothening at the same time, making sugar redundant for this cup of coffee.

Iced Yuzu, Mango and Passion Fruit Tea (SGD12.50/pot) is a very refreshing pot most suitable when you enter from a hot sunny weather. The strong taste of yuzu overwhelmed our senses and this pot is unsuitable to those who hate the piquant tastes of yuzu and passion fruit.

Presenting our desserts of the evening!

The namesake Antoinette (SGD10.70) is a moist work of culinary art of milk chocolate mousse infused with earl grey tea, chocolate biscuit, dark chocolate earl grey tea cremeux, raspberry coulis, earl grey tea crumble. Our heart throb with each bite of the rich chocolate taste and its subtle hint of earl grey gave it a mysterious aura.

Chloe (SGD9.65) is a light sponge cake made of white chocolate vanilla mousse, yuzu cremeux and topped with almond sable (that nice looking flower on top). I am a fan of yuzu so I have to say that I am biased towards this for its mildly piquant flavor. Having it in a soft mousse form is definitely a novelty.

Mouth watering array of tarts and croissants

The Queen's Cheese Tart (bottom right) (SGD3), Salted Caramel Cheese Tart (left) (SGD2.60), Vanilla Cheese Tart (top) (SGD2.60). Queen's is thoroughly cheese and cheese, a favorite for those who demanded more cheese but a bane for the lactose intolerant. To me it is a little too much even though I am a cheese lover. The Salted Caramel however became one of my all time favorite. Its burnished caramel flavor complements the cheesiness well, making this a mixture made in heaven.

The lady and the tarts

The Matcha Cheese Tart (SGD2.60) is a miss to us. Its flowing cheese is nice but we expected more matcha flavor to it. It could call itself a normal cheese tart and we would barely notice the difference.

Vanilla Cheese Tart (SGD2.60) has its namesake flavor mixed into the cheese, making it overall sweet and fragrant at the same time.

Matcha Croissant (SGD6)

If you expect Matcha Croissant's taste to be that of Matcha/Green Tea Latte, then you better revise your expectations. The matcha content oozing out of the french croissant is mainly bitter with a hint of butter.

Looking up

While Antoinette's array of confectioneries impressed the hell out of us, its main courses were less so. We tried the Black Angus Ribeye (SGD36) but the texture of the meat was not up to my standard. Their Shrimp Capellini (SGD26) tried to fuse oriental taste into a western dish but only succeeded in making it taste weird. Perhaps it would be a better idea for Antoinette to improve their main courses on offer.

It is laudable to try to fuse oriental taste into western dishes but unfortunately Antoinette fails to impress us with their Shrimp Capellini (SGD26). The taste of shrimp and crustacean oil felt oddly out of place in this dish.

I was disappointed by Entrecôte Poêlée a la Bordelaise (Black Angus Ribeye Minute Steak with Shallot Red Wine Sauce) (SGD36). Shall I complain about the texture of the meat or the thinness of it? The red wine sauce help make it feel less like the kind of steak served by food courts, but I am reminded by my disappointment not to order this again.

Space is quite limited in the shop so reservation for lunch and dinner is highly recommended. Antoinette tried their best to decorate the place to fit their name but seems to fall short. The place looks like any other local western restaurant and the menu is the only thing that fits a French atmosphere. Nevertheless their reputation for creating and offering novel pastry and confectioneries is well earned, and the place is great for spending some quality tea time with a cup on one hand and something sweet and tasty on the other. It was unfortunate that their main dishes diminished my opinion of the brand slightly, but I believe that there may yet be hidden gems among its dishes that I had not unearthed.

Environment:          A French restaurant cum cafe
Suitable for:             for friends and celebration
Price:                           luxurious (>SGD20 per meal per pax)
Food score:               8.0/10
Food:                             5.0/5.0
Service:                         4.0/5.0
Value:                            4.5/5.0
Ambiance:                    3.0/5.0

Operating hours:   (Mon - Thu)                             11.00 am - 10.00 pm
                                        (Fri, Eve of Public Holiday) 11.00 am - 11.00 p
                                        (Sat)                                          10.00 am - 11.00 pm
                                        (Sun, Public Holiday)            10.00 am - 10.00 pm
Directions:                Disembark at Lavender MRT station, then exit at Exit B. Turn around and follow the traffic direction to reach the first intersection, Horne Road. Turn left into this road and Penhas Road is at the second intersection to your right. Look for the shop on your left when you are in Penhas Road.

Website:                    Official homepage of Antoinette
Contact:                    +65 - 6293 3121 (phone)
E-mail:                       -
Address:                    30 Penhas Road (off Lavender Street), Singapore 208188.

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