Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Restaurant Andre Singapore

Andre, along with Iggy's, is arguably the most internationally well-known and talked-about among restaurants in Singapore. However, unlike Iggy's owner, Andre Chiang acts as the chef-patron. This Taiwan-born chef already had a spectacular reputation when he was the main driver of Jaan. Many foodies and critics alike have admired his cooking skills. It should not be a surprise when Chef Andre finally ran his own restaurant near the end of 2010, the expectation skyrocketed. Only in a few years, San Pellegrino recognized Andre as the best restaurant in Singapore for 2 years in a row and this further propels the restaurant's fame. Reservation was not easy, but I was quite fortunate to secure a seat in less than a week just a few days after the F-1 party subsided. Talking about Restaurant Andre, one cannot help but to notice about Octaphilosophy - a philosophy that's clearly defined and explained at the restaurant's website. Having been informed by Andre's front staffs a few times during the dinner, I believe this philosophy, in short, is about 8 elements that almost always appear in Andre's creations. That's how Andre Chiang would define his cooking style. This Octaphilosphy principle consistently guides Andre and his kitchen team when they receive new ingredients daily. In my case, the Octaphilosphy translates to the following dishes (I also ordered 'juice-pairing' for my meal):


Pure: Stone crab raviolis served with Pear snow and Leek water - A dish without any seasoning does not mean hardly any taste. The leek water & 'burnt' onion were quite dominant compared to the light pear snow and stone crab. A decent and refreshing dish

Salt: Gillardeau oyster served with Sea corals granny smith and Seawater emulsion - Chef Andre displays different produces generating various natural salty flavors and how they interact with each other. It was not easy to recognize all of the ingredients. I have to admit this complex dish works better than I initially thought

Accompanied by: kombu seaweed juice

Artisan: Charcoal grilled baby corn served with Corn mousse and Sesame salt - The 're-creation' of corn kernels has sweet taste with some smoky flavor and crunchiness; while I sensed some 'nutty-like' flavor for the pleasant sweet mousse. The sesame salt purpose I think is to give some contrast flavor. A good dish though nothing spectacular

South: Blue lobster served with orange-yellow rutabaga marmalade - The small portion of lobster is well executed; tender and delicious (reminded me of Pacaud's langoustine). The rest of the side dishes, such as marmalede with tapioca or mashed carrot/pumpkin, allow you to have some combination that should enhance the dish overall experience

Accompanied by: rice milk with cardamom 

Texture: Charcoaled squid served with Fennel smoked piquillos - A fun and creative stuff from the kitchen. Only 2 "charcoals" are actually edible deep-fried dough sticks. Mixed this dough with the flavorful chewy grilled squid in olive oil to enjoy this dish to the 'fullest'

Unique: Grilled topinambour served with Truffle, Wild mushroom and Malt vinegar ice cream - Creating a dish with numerous ingredients are very challenging. The artichoke's subtle flavor is mixed with earthy trompette mushroom; the stronger taste is coming from garlic soil and onion compote. The malt added a hint of sweetness. Complex and quite good ..

Accompanied by: toasted cacao juice 

Memory: Warm foie gras jelly served with Black truffle coulis and Olive oil - Chef Andre's timeless dish. The rich duck liver has a smooth texture like a chawanmushi; the (frozen) truffle intensifies the dish in terms of aroma and flavor. Finally a nice & comforting 'simple' creation 

Accompanied by: potato skin juice

Terroir: Pork belly served with Black garlic tapenade, Mixed heirloom beets and berries - The pork belly, from Australia, is tender & flavorful with a crisp skin and its juice; some small part of the meat is not that juicy unfortunately. The pork sausage was just ok. The side dishes showcase different flavor combination 

Accompanied by: black malt mixed with sparkling water 

In addition to the items above, the restaurant provided plenty of small dishes (snacking) at the beginning. For instance scallop/chard, pineapple/olive, onion, potato bravas and so on. After the Octaphilosophy comes to an end, then comes some desserts and sweets such as melon/grapes, "snickers", chestnut madeleine, churros/nutella etc. Dining at Restaurant Andre, which seats only 30 people, seems as if guests dine at the chef's house. The setting is intimate and quite modern dominated by grey, black and white colors. The staffs, led by Stepan Marhoul, are rather diverse in background, yet most of them are professional, warmth and knowledgeable. Moreover, Chef Chiang himself is such a humble and kind host. To be honest, I don't really have any favorite dish, in fact nothing stands out, but I somehow truly enjoy the overall experience. Essentially, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.The ingredients are interesting and abundant; they're generally well-executed by the kitchen lead by Andre's main helper, Johnny Jiang. I just hope that in the near future, the many creative dishes here will be more delicious. Click the following link to see the dishes' pictures:

Food (and Wine): 94 pts

Service (and Ambiance): 94 pts

Overall: 94/100