Critic’s Notebook: Restaurant Andre, Singapore

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Chef Andre Chiang worked in France for 14 years, training at some of that country’s most acclaimed restaurants, including Le Jardin de Sens, Pierre Gagnaire and L’Atelier Joel Robuchon. I’ve eaten at those places—and I think the new Restaurant Andre (41 Bukit Pasoh Rd., Singapore, +65.6534.8880), which opened only two weeks ago, is even better.  The cuisine is free-style modern French, for lack of a better descriptor. 

The restaurant occupies a pristinely restored three-story townhouse in Singapore’s Bukit Pasoh/Chinatown district, next door to (and affiliated with) the groovy New Majestic Hotel.  The dining room is on the second floor. The first level holds a small private dining room. The third level is the chef’s private salon. The restaurant is incredibly intimate, accommodating no more than 32 diners a night, although most nights the capacity is capped at around 26.

The dining room is simply gorgeous: beige suede love seats, upholstered mid-century armchairs, white wainscoting against dark walls. It’s serene and glamorous yet very relaxed and comfortable. Waiters glide gracefully across the hardwood floors, never rushed, always smiling. Porcelain antler chandeliers and smoke-glass Edison bulbs dangle from the ceiling, casting an indirect ambient glow. Soft, barely audible jazz can be heard overhead.

My meal begins with a quartet of amuse-bouche, including tartare of razor clam and a piece of fried chicken skin seasoned with Indian masala spices. An oyster comes wrapped in a thin sheath of seawater gelée along with pickled green apple foam—the essence of salt in its purest form.

The chef braises eggplant with cockscombs and duck tongues so that the eggplant absorbs the collagen, like liquid silk. Atop this, he layers a smoked eggplant cream and a dollop of beluga caviar. 

The meal ultimately includes all sorts of delicacies, including Ibérico ham, Alba white truffles, foie gras, black truffles and Wagyu beef. There is only one menu, which changes nightly, and it costs about $265 per person (before wine)—worth every penny. This is truly one of the world’s most important new restaurants. Pay attention: Andre Chiang is going to be as famous one day as the French masters under which he trained.  

Pictured: Andre Chiang and the exterior; the entrance; dining room; razor clam, olive oil; eggplant w caviar; fig w sashimi; Alba truffle and Iberico ham; squid risotto; foie gras gelee w black truffle coulis; wagyu beef w peas and tarragon; chocolate four ways; Andre Chiang

 

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