Antoinette, with its frue-frue personality and uppity French cafe backstory, certainly looks out-of-place in its arguably middle-class Lavender location. It could be the low-rents of the area, a prudent business decision of the Sugar Daddy group (they also own Pique Nique), helmed by the ex-pastry chef of Canele, which in turn is an offshoot of the Les Amis Group. I have noticed that the Sugar Daddy group has been quite aggressive in their foray and expansion into the F&B business. If they keep up the good food, I won't be surprised if they become a worthy Les Amis competitor.
While the pretentious clientele is quite off-putting, the food speaks volumes. The Hubs and I takeaway from Antoinette quite a bit, mostly because they offer all-day breakfast eggs and yummy French bistro classics. We had brunch at Antoinette today with Ray & Pat, and enjoyed ourselves quite a bit. There wasn't a single bad dish. In fact, almost every dish shone. Be sure to make reservations though, the restaurant is fairly small and consequently packed to the rafters all the time. Portions are reasonable, but prices can lean a wee bit to the luxurious end. We appreciated that service was professional and attentive, plates were cleared efficiently and water glasses were filled frequently.
The restaurant may be sorta outta way, but good food is good food, and Singaporeans will travel far and wide to eat good food. In this regard, there's another Antoinette at the much more convenient and centrally located Mandarin Gallery. That said, the cafe is just steps away from Lavender MRT station, and not that difficult to find (it's behind the skyscraping Citylights condominium). A word of caution though, finding parking may be a pain in the ass because there is limited parallel parking along the road. I say, just find anywhere you can slot your car in, without blocking other road users (because we're a courteous lot), and switch on the Summons Auntie app!
We started off with Ray's fave type of greens, the Salade Lyonnaise ($13.50) with thick strips of hot bacon, cubes of buttered croutons, layered with frisee and mixed greens tossed in a mustard vinaigrette and topped with a perfectly poached egg that ran when poked. I really don't like mustard, and much preferred the piquant balsamic-based house dressing instead. Ray thought this was a substantive enough portion for a full meal on its own, but the Hubs and I (who are fairly bigger eaters) thought otherwise.
We sampled 2 egg dishes, the first of which was the Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Duck Breast ($13.50) fluffy, airy and moist, with sauteed mushrooms and herbs, a thick toasty homemade Pain de Mie and side salad with house dressing. I liked the smoked duck, salty, tender and fresh. (It tasted like softened back bacon)
I loved the Scrambled Egg Gratin ($15), layered with tomato fondue, Paris ham, sauteed mushrooms, Parmesan cheese and served alongside homemade Pain de Mie toast. This was like the eggy version of lasagna. Hands down, this was the better egg dish, and an absolute must-try. We all loved this. Heck, I'll venture this is the best egg dish here.
This was Pat's favourite dish of brunch, Blinis with Blueberries ($10), thick, soft and fluffy pancakes laden generously with loads of sweet and juicy blueberries, both mashed and whole, drizzled with maple syrup, icing sugar and a trio of creme chantilly. I usually prefer eggs to pancakes when it comes to breakfast, but man, were these delicious.
We also loved the Wild Mushroom Risotto ($24) creamy arborio rice done al dente, simmered with exotic field mushrooms and white wine for an earthy but delicately light flavour, and topped with crispy serrano ham. Generously proportioned but great to the last bite. One of the best we've tried.
This was the Hubs' favourite for obvious reasons (he, like every other Korean, loves his beef) the Beouf Bourguignon ($32) a thick slab of Burgundy-style braised wagyu beef brisket in red wine served with pomme puree (that's just a fancy name for mashed potatoes) and par-boiled baby French beans. The beef was incredibly fork tender and rich and complex in flavour, a little sweet, a little rich, and a little intense. What stood out exceptionally (for me, at least) were the mashed potatoes, creamy and smooth but interspersed with tiny lumps for texture.
30 Penhas Road
Tel: 6293 3121
Open Mondays to Thursdays from 11am to 10pm;
Fridays & eve of PH from 11am to 11pm;
Saturdays from 10am to 11pm;
Sundays & PH from 10am to 10pm