Bruno Menard returns to form (somewhat) with a more decent La Cantine here after a rather dismal debut (IMO) with @Made in Pacific Plaza. Firstly, the restaurant’s a beautiful space – high-ceilinged, bright, with beautiful interior décor. Service was marvellous - some of the best I'd experienced in Singapore. La Cantine’s the latest of a wave of French bistros to hit Singapore in the past couple of years.
- Organic soft-boiled egg on ratatouille, Bellota chorizo, croutons & Espelette pepper. This, for me, was pure comfort food – I grew up on ratatouille and adore it to bits. The version here, though, was a let-down – the stew was over-cooked, resulting in an overly intense tomato-ey taste which overwhelmed everything else. Adding chorizo bits was great, textural-wise, but the assertive flavors from the sausage simply added to the sharp, tangy overall effect which I thought was a bit too intense. The ratatouille and egg were both served cold, rather than room temperature which I’d have preferred – but that’s my personal preference. I’ll not be having this again anytime soon.
- Caramelized pork belly, with roasted garlic, mixed greens, accompanied by potato puree. The pork belly slices used here were way too fatty. Though the meat was tasty, it didn’t have the crackly skin which one automatically looked for in fatty pork bits. The potato puree was perfectly done – not like the too-creamy (70% butter) version served at Robuchon’s L’Atelier a few minutes’ drive away.
- La Bavette – beef flank with caramelized onion, “Royan” ravioli gratin, and &Made BBQ sauce. Served medium rare, quite chewy. Not sure about the caramelized onion part, it didn’t seem to add much to the dish overall. I really liked the accompanying “Royan” raviolis though - good enough as a dish by itself.
- Caramel lava cake – very “yesterday” but always interesting to have. But I didn’t quite take to the way-too-sweet molten caramel centre, much preferring a dark chocolate one.
- Rum Baba – the version here was indeed as good as it gets. Simple, substantial – I couldn’t tell apart the version here compared to the one from Koffmann’s in London which I had a fortnight ago. I’d come back to La Cantine just for the rum baba, if not anything else.
Overall, very good casual restaurant – not exactly up to par with Brasserie Gavroche (which I regard as the best among the lot in Singapore as the moment) as yet, but hopefully it can get better. Personally, I don’t think Bruno Menard cooks here himself – I’d tried L’Osier where execution & plating were elaborate & exquisite. La Cantine stil has a looong way to go to achieve that.
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