At first, Restaurant Andre somewhat struck me as gimmicky. It has billed itself as a restaurant that reflects the culinary journey and memory of famed chef Andre Chiang, who was born in Taiwan and worked for a long time in France before opening his own in the historical China Town neighborhood. The restaurant has a trademarked term “Octaphilosophy” to describe its gastronomic philosophy, with varied themes from each dish such as “pure,” “salt,” “artisan,” “unique” and “memory.” In the beginning of the meal, I felt I had already seen a variety of dishes elsewhere in New York or Paris that showcases brilliant haute cuisine. In the middle of my meal, however, I started to that Restaurant Andre can definitely stake its claim as a truly unique and outstanding restaurant.
The meal will start with a variety of starter bites, each with unique ingredients, flavor and texture. You’ll see a novel interpretation of “fish and chips” and patatas bravas, for instance. All bites were pleasant but not particularly ground-breaking. The several main dishes in the beginning were all nicely plated and executed, but none of them struck me as getting to the next level either. It wasn’t the first time I saw crab with cucumber, and the combination of mais, horseradish and vanilla oil had somewhat funky flavor. Squid with charred grains and green jus was quite pleasant, as was sheep curd that came with aubergine and smoked eel.
Then the “risotto” happened. It’s not really a risotto; instead of rice, it’s really pasta noodle with texture of rice. The combination of this ingredient with mushroom and egg that you can pop really threw me off in a good way. I had never had a dish this magnificent from what looks like risotto, and savored every bite. The balance of flavor and texture was simply breathtaking. The meal really started to come together afterwards. One of the signature dishes at the restaurant and for which chef Andre made his name while working in France, foie gras and truffle jelly was another stunning dish. Instead of possibly being over the top, the aromatic flavor of this dish was groundbreaking.
Beef with sundried papaya was also perfectly cooked and I loved the modest use of seasoning that further enhanced the texture of the meat. After a couple of refreshers in green pea ice cream that came with matcha and shiso and red grape dessert, the restaurant served the so-called “do-it-yourself” cake. The server instructed that I should pretend I’m baking a bread by mixing various ingredients from butter to flour. In fact, each “ingredient” is an absolutely decadent ice cream, chocolate, cream, etc. that you could mix up to create a truly enjoyable dish. Definitely one of the best dessert dishes I’ve had this year! Following a serving of petit fours desserts, chef Andre came out to greet us, another plus to a remarkable dinner experience.
The restaurant has a nice selection of French wine (I liked the menu that looks like a “diary”). It has a formal yet very trendy vibe where a lot of young and handsome people from Singapore were hanging out to savor their meal. The services were professional and attentive. At the end of the meal, you have an opportunity to briefly tour the kitchen and greet the entire cooking staff. Restaurant Andre isn’t perfect but some of the dishes I had during my dinner also happened to be some of the best I had ever had. Overall, I would not hesitate to recommend this restaurant if you’re looking for some truly innovative and brilliant culinary ideas. Yes, the price tag of S$298 per person is not exactly a bargain, but it is another culinary destination worth visiting.
- Creativity: 9.0/10
- Execution: 9.0/10
- Ingredients: 8.5/10
- Flavor: 9.0/10
- Texture: 8.5/10
Address: 41 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore 089855