Tag Archives: Andre Chiang

Birthday dinner at Restaurant André

Vanilla popcorn

***warning this is going to be a long post but as it’s about my birthday please indulge me*** I love birthdays. It’s the one time of the year that it’s completely ok for it to be all about you. Some birthdays you want them big and brassy with everyone you know and love around you, others you want something more understated. This year I was going with the latter. There was just so much going on with family visiting and work commitments that I just wanted to go somewhere stellar for dinner with close friends.

Chicken skin with marsala

I chose Restaurant André for a few reasons. First, we were lucky enough to sample André Chiang’s talent when he was running Jaan Par Andre and we were keen to see how he’d evolved with his own restaurant. Secondly D went for a friend’s 40th while I was in Sydney last and the food sounded amazing. I really love how Chef André brings his influence of his Taiwanese background and his French training and experience to his food (he 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).

From the moment you walk in, you know you’re somewhere different. Special. From the ambient light cast by smoked glass Edison bulbs to the fact that the place can seat a maximum of 30 guests, you get a sense of understated glamour that is relaxed and comfortable. Bordering on pretentious ? I would screw up my nose and reluctantly disagree. They clearly put a lot of thought and effort into this venture right down to the tiniest detail and I felt there was a fantastic try – not try-hard – effort.

I’ll reserve final judgement of the experience till later – let me share the food first.

There are eight courses in the evening, of which the minimalist menu doesn’t really help other than share the eight words that define the chef’s culinary approach – Pure, Salt, Artisan, South, Texture, Unique, Memory, Terroirs. Grateful for a wine pairing option with the courses, we settled into the start of our evening.

Onion and porcini tart

We started with four canapés – marsala chicken skin, an onion and porcini tart, vanilla popcorn and amberjack in cylinders of toast topped with shaved parmesan.

The chicken skin tasted exactly like chicken skin but the paper-thinness of it really challenged my palette and brain. The onion and porcini tart was less of a tart and more of a savoury wafer dusted with the rich, almost meaty flavour of the porcini. The amberjack cylinders were good but not all that interesting and popcorn I think let the quartet down. It had the texture of slightly chewy, stale popcorn and I just don’t think it complemented the rest of the dishes on the plate.

I did notice lots of baby herb leaves and flowers, which Chef Andre told us he grew on the restaurant premises. The baby leaves imparted a much more delicate flavour to each morsel.

Scallop ravioli with purple cauliflower consommé

Our first course was “Pure” – raw scallop with seaweed wrapped around Japanese chives in a beautiful lavender consommé made from purple cauliflower. The entire dish was unseasoned, letting the ingredients impart only their own individual flavours. It was delicate, clean and absolutely gorgeous. This was one of my favourite dishes of the evening.

Fresh oyster with seawater jelly and green apple foam

The next offering was “Salt” – a bowl dotted with tiny squares of green apple, with a raw oyster encased in seawater jelly with green apple foam. I love oysters, but I think the seawater jelly overpowered the delicate flavour of everything on the dish, including the oyster, and I’m not convinced about the green apple and oyster combination. Jury’s still out on this one.

From “South” – cured flounder sashimi with persimmon and seaweed and persimmon and tomato sorbet

Next course was “Artisan” – very fresh, very baby corn, from Chef Andre’s hometown in Taiwan, served simply steamed and with crispy chips of salsify and ground macadamia nuts, and salt and pepper. The delicate sweetness of the corn was enhanced by just a tiny dip in the salt/pepper mound.

Cured mackerel with prawns and razor clams with shellfish foam on a bed of risotto

“South” followed next, influenced by time spent in the south of France. The dish came in two parts. The first was cured flounder sashimi on persimmon with seaweed and a persimmon and tomato sorbet. It seemed more Japanese than south of France to me, but never having been there, the dish was delicious. Again, delicate flavours complemented each other well. As they did with the second part to South – a dish of cured mackerel, raw prawn and razor clams on a bed of risotto rice with shellfish foam and another sliced fish that unfortunately I can’t recall.

Cauliflower puree with risotto in black rice squid ink crackers

“Texture” came on a rectangular slate slab (I believe Chef Andre makes these as he is an avid potter) with a carefully constructed ball of cauliflower puree with risotto encased in black arborio rice squid ink crackers. The waiter told us that he would “leave it to [us] to figure this dish out”. A few chews and we discovered that the risotto grains were actually tiny pieces of squid ! So surprising and exactly the sort of dish that makes this chef stand out.

Salt-baked black chicken egg with iberico ham and truffles

Next up, “Unique” which married pretty much every delicious thing on this earth in one plate – a black chicken egg that had been baked in rock salt, toped with iberico ham and truffles. Add morel mushrooms and a veal jus and you have a truly unique way of enjoying ham, eggs and mushrooms 🙂

Foie gras jelly with black truffle coulis

“Memory” was probably my other favourite dish of the evening. Reminiscent (for me) of the incredible foie gras mousse from Jaan, this dish was a warm foie gras jelly with black truffle coulis. Again, chef André managed to combine classic flavours in remarkably innovative ways to surprise the diner’s palette.

Braised beef shortrib with fresh peppercorns, peas and celeriac mousse

The final dish was the main course or “Terroir”. I don’t eat lamb so chef prepared a similar dish to the one he showcased at the Masterclass I attended – braised beef shortrib with fresh peppercorns, served with peas, celeriac mousse and dehydrated olives.

Dessert was a birthday cake for me (awwww) that was Snickers 2011 – again, similar to the one he prepared at the Masterclass but this time just that little more sophisticated. Different textures of chocolate and hazelnut make a super rich, super delicious dessert.

The only thing that I would say let the evening down was the wine pairing which seemed sporadic and not timed very well with the dishes that came out – we had only white wine glasses on our table when the black chicken egg and iberico ham dish was served, for example. They make such a big deal out of the fact that the wines they source are from boutique vineyards, the sommelier really didn’t share as much as we would have thought other than telling us the vineyard name, the region and the year of each wine.

At a restaurant that only serves one menu that is dictated by the chef, it’s almost impossible to walk away loving every dish. I think Chef André has taken the opportunity to put his unique touch to his dishes that he may not have had when working for Jaan. It’s certainly a restaurant you reserve for special occasions – this is a truly great dining experience. Loved it. Thanks to D and K and J who kept me company !

Restaurant André
41 Bukit Pasoh Road
Tel 6534 8880

Masterclass with Chef Andre Chiang

Chef Andre Chiang

D came home from one day to excitedly tell me that one of the boys he plays soccer with, and who works at the Asian Food Channel, had told him about a masterclass series that AFC were organising.  The first one was with Chef Andre Chiang and we went last night to the AFC studio on level 7 of Orchard Central to watch the chef in action.

Coincidentally, D had the pleasure of eating at Restaurant Andre last week for a friend’s birthday, and which I missed out on because I was in Sydney, so he was familiar with the sort of food that was going to be cooked last night.  Me, on the other hand, was left to discover Chef Andre’s method of combining flavours that I would never have dreamed would work, but absolutely did.

Heirloom tomato gazpacho with vanilla oil and basil flowers

The first dish was an heirloom tomato gazpacho with vanilla oil and basil flower.  Chef Andre was friendly and comfortable in front of an audience, and walked us through the recipe, peppered with hints on how to get the best out of the dish.  In his own restaurant everything is done by taste and not by recipe, and these hints helped flesh out the recipe and gave us all hope that we could recreate the intensely flavoured, perfectly sweet/acid balanced dish, at home.

36-hour braised short rib with mushroom fricasee and celeriac-apple mousse

The second dish was a 36-hour braised short rib with fricasee mushrooms and celeriac -apple mousse.  Again, Chef Andre talked us through the composition of the food, how he prefers to prepare his food (simply, nothing fancy, letting the produce be the star).  We got to sample each dish he demonstrated, thanks to a team of invisible chefs in the back room.  This dish was delectable.  The braised short rib was meltingly tender and was perfectly balanced with the celeriac and apple mousse, which was lighter than a potato mash (although served with a potato on top).

Snickers 2011

The final dish was snickers 2011 (too hard to explain on an already lengthy post but think coffee/chocolate/hazelnut flavours).  It was about as close to molecular gastronomy as you can come without actually calling it that.  Watching him cook it was fascinating and my love of science and chemistry made the demonstration so interesting to watch.  Not sure I would actually cook this at home, it was far too complicated and my home cooking has seen me move to simple dishes that mean I can spend time with my friends rather than in the kitchen, but the final product was gorgeous.  I will happily let the experts do all the work and sit in their restaurant to eat works of art like this.

The session was such an enjoyable way to spend a Monday night.  The food was amazing, and paired perfectly with wines from the South of France.  It made me want to get to Restaurant Andre quick smart to sample more delights from this young and talented chef,  and also inspired me to invite friends over for dinner to try to recreate these dishes at home.  Loved it.

Dinner Date at Jaan par André

D surprised me last night by saying he was going to take me to Jaan par André, a restaurant that we’ve wanted to try for ages.  Hearing rumours that chef André Chiang was going to leave to set up his own restaurant, we thought we’d catch him while still there, and are we glad we did !

The restaurant has a cracker view of the harbour and the place was nicely buzzing when we walked in.  The set up is a bit weird, there’s no real greeting area, so we kind of walked straight into the dining room.  There were three maitre d’s who seem to be the only ones to seat guests (we were noticed by a few of the serving staff, which I thought was strange, despite them not doing anything to acknowledge us standing there waiting).

Once seated we were served the most ridiculous “bread sticks” which were about half the thickness of an uncooked strand of angel hair spaghetti and this was served with an eggplant dip.  The sticks were so fragile that there was no hope of picking up any of the dip with them.  I was hungry (and apparently have no manners) so picked up a dollop with the bread knife and found it smooth and creamy.

An amuse bouche was served – raw sweet prawn served on frozen sangria which was very refreshing, but not sure it really worked.

Then we got to the real stuff.

Entrees was a difficult decision between scallops saint jacques or perigord foie gras but once again foie gras won the day.  Served three ways – pan seared, terrine, and the clear winner of the three, a foie gras jelly, which had the consistency of chawanmushi, with fresh truffles.  Absolute heaven in a cup!

For mains, I had the Bresse chicken which was served with scallops and foie gras and morel mushrooms, which I’ve only ever seen on River Cottage on TV.  Light and creamy, I the chicken had a delicate flavour and a texture that was much smoother than I think chicken should be.  But it was moist and tender and didn’t need tons of sauce so you could really taste the chicken.

We didn’t have space for dessert, but were served petit fours – a raspberry sorbet infused with earl grey tea and dipped in white chocolate (which I don’t usually like), a light and crispy macaroon, a madeline and dark chocolate with orange crisps and POP ROCKS.  Took me a while to figure out what the noise was until I realised with glee that the chef had managed to include them in the delicious chocolate.  Really took me back years and ended the evening with a big grin on my face.

With the chef leaving at the end of the month, we’re going back again for more before it all ends…

Jaan par André
Swissotel The Stamford
Tel: +65 6837 3322