Unlike previous years, I made no plans to be travelling during my birthday this year. Not that I find it necessary to make birthdays a big thing (while travelling they were normal days to me) but since I’m stuck here I’d like to spend my day having good meals and doing a lot of yoga.
I decided on Restaurant Andre for lunch because my birthday happens to fall on a Wednesday this year and they are only open for lunch on Wednesdays and Fridays! This must be fate.
The shophouse location of the restaurant was not the typical sort. It kind of looked like restaurants I’ve visited overseas – kind of like Fujiya1935 in Osaka (a restaurant I really loved!). The feeling I get from this restaurant was like an overseas boutique restaurant experience, nothing like a typical Singaporean restaurant.
Upon entering the restaurant, I felt as though I was being transported to Osaka/ Chiago already. The lower level had a waiting area and walking towards the elevator I could see the open kitchen at the back. The kitchen had plenty of chefs. This set up looked a lot like what I saw at Alinea last year – same open concept kitchen on ground floor and dining area on the second.
The dining area on the upper floor wasn’t very big but the tables were well spaced and there was adequate privacy. I was glad that my table was assigned to be at the section near the windows, where natural light was in abundance (better photos of course!). There isn’t much of a view outside but the beautiful interior was more than enough.
The staff which I got to interact with also reminded me of staff from restaurants in other countries – chatty, somewhat candid while being polite and always ready to joke. They were mostly foreign and probably that explains why. I’m sure this restaurant selected their staff carefully.
Menu for 27th May 2015. The names some of the items reminds me of Fat Duck.
“Would you like to put your bag on our sheep?”
A potato sort of Spanish tapas, king prawn head tempura and chocolate soil (which is like cookie crumbs).
Idea of “Kinilaw” Ceviche
Cured scallops three way in tiger milk, cucumber, apple jelly and avocado
Kinilaw is like the Filipino version of ceviche. I was told that the dumpling skin lookalike was actually scallop. This sounds very paleo friendly (but obviously I’m breaking away from paleo for this meal). Tiger milk is the liquid remaining from the marinade after curing seafood with citrus juices. This item was fresh and light overall, a good appetizer.
Torched Horse Mackerel
Fried Potato, Baby Radish, Onion, Celeriac Broth
The fried potato was like potato chips. It’s different from well, supermarket potato chips because it’s cut thicker and fresher but it’s not that far off. Personally I feel this was the least outstanding dish from this session.
Baby Squid Stuffed with Ratatouille
Tomato Basil Vinaigrette and Crispy Kale
This one was very good! The squid had a tender texture and the stuffing went well with it too. I like the nicely grilled flavour on the exterior too. The crispy kale just disintegrates in my mouth without much chewing.
Sandwich of Oyster, Beans and Mushroom
This came with the baby squid and it was recommended to be eaten before the squid. That’s dehydrated iceberg lettuce on top. The oyster tasted more like cockles somehow.
Degustation of “Veal Aspic”
Here we have veal done in several ways with puree of carrot and peas on the side which added beautiful colours I love. It’s interesting but probably not as outstanding as the squid.
Whipped Mandarin, Mangosteen Lychee Sorbet, Lemongrass Granite
The first dessert served was a fruity one. I’m not one who likes fruits but this is good to reset my taste buds for what’s coming up next!
Deconstructed snickers in other words. The way they named it reminds me of Fat Duck in England. This was a rich dessert full of chocolate, caramel and all things delicious. I loved it.
As it was my birthday today, I had a cake and a card signed by the chefs in the kitchen! The bottom right one’s Chef Andre Chiang’s signature (cross reference to his signature shown on the restaurant website).
On the way out, Chef Andre happened to be standing along the way and said goodbye. I was star struck for a moment and even turned back while I walked to double confirm with my eyes before he introduced himself! Of course, I had to ask for a picture! Super happy that he happens to be here today (considering he has other restaurants and may be busy).
This should be my most memorable dining experience in Singapore (which sadly, has few restaurants which are super memorable) already due to great ambiance, food and service. On account of how this whole experience (which feels like Chicago, Osaka or some other 3 Michelin starred Restaurant) is hardly available anywhere else in Singapore, I think it was worth it.
Overall: Best restaurant in Singapore so far.