By Anthony Sadler and Sophia Coulter
A cozy yet spacious restaurant tucked inside Orchard Road’s Palais Renaissance known for its…You didn’t think we were talking about PS Cafe did you? In this installment of Mood for Food, we’re sharing what we feel is the much better alternative to PS Cafe, and it’s only three stories below the chain’s Palais Renaissance location. Taking up the majority of Palais Renaissance’s basement, the French restaurant and cafe Antoinette maintains an untouched feel – a feeling PS Cafe lost a long time ago. We chose Antoinette because we wanted to find something that was central and on Orchard but that also has high quality food that isn’t overpriced. Thus we stumbled upon Antoinette.
As we walked up the steps into Palais Renaissance and then down once again into Antoinette, the Parisian vibe felt almost tangible. Laden with French cafe design, we made our way to the hostess to claim our reservation. She escorted us past the packaged homemade cookies and jams, then past the macaroons and pastries to our seats.
The seating area is shaped in a sort of octagon, with a gazebo-like structure placed in the middle to provide more seating. As we sat down, we couldn’t help but adore the antique couch and the French bistro chair set amongst a white wall connected to white bending arches and artificial greenery.
As we opened our menus, we noticed the French music playing just loudly enough above us, adding to the Parisian ambience. After deciding what we were going to order, we waived our waitress for her attention. Although the distance between the confectionary area and our table included a shrub, making it hard at times to get her attention, when she made it over she was kind, efficient and always spoke with a smile.
Brace yourselves for the mouth-watering food you’re about to see. We took the liberty of ordering three main courses, just to ensure we got a taste of all types of meals the restaurant has on the menu. Did we mention we got dessert too?
We started with a drink–a pot of the iced yuzu, mango and passion fruit tea, which ended up lasting us the whole meal.
This pungent, refreshing, unique, light tea comes with chopped mango in the bottom of the cup, adding even more flavor and giving the drinker a nice bite when finishing the tea. The adorable glass teapot served between five or six cups of tea.
As we continued to add to our snapstories, we discovered a new level of self-restraint. As the waitress took the mountain of food we’d ordered from her hands to our table,the temptation to stuff our faces was up there with the temptation to eat apples in sacred gardens.
We figured the best way to eat through the food would be to eat the most breakfast-like dish first: Eggs Florentine.
Eggs Florentine: 9/10
This dish was comprised of perfectly poached eggs on serrano ham on top of wilted spinach, all combined with the hollandaise sauce. All of that on toasted brioche (fancy toast) left our mouths watering. This was one of the best Eggs Florentine we’ve ever had. The egg broke exactly the way it should and spread around the entire piece of toast creating an even more appetizing display and flavor for every bite. This was also served with a side salad that was seasoned to perfection. This is definitely a must-try dish from the all-day breakfast option.
Our plan of eating the most breakfast-like dish to the most dinner-like dish was short lasted; the minute we laid our eyes on the Gnocchi Carbonara we decided we’d put off the burger for the moment. The gnocchi ended up being our favorite dish.
Gnocchi Carbonara: 10/10
The carbonara was on another level and created moments of silence to admire the absolute beauty in the tastes this dish presented. Bite after bite continued to satisfy our already happy taste buds. We both highly recommend this dish.
Once we finished the gnocchi – in the five minutes it took to eat – we had one last hill to climb over. As we stretched back into our seats, thankful we’d worn loose clothing, we persevered and began to cut into the Burger Royale.
Burger Royale: 5/10
The burger was presented outstandingly, yet was a bit of a letdown when eating. There was a tangy taste that we didn’t love. Also, the meat was slightly overcooked. Though the burger itself was a bit of a let down, the side salad and chips served with it were on point. We wouldn’t recommend ordering this if we were to go back to the restaurant.
As the waitress made her way back to clear our plates, we had almost forgotten about the crepe that was yet to come. We sat for a few minutes, talking about this and that, sipping our Yuzu tea when the waitress emerged with the most mouth-watering plate we’ve ever seen.
Once we saw the Nougatine crepe, filled with nutella, salty caramel, caramelised filo, nougatine ice cream and vanilla creme chantilly, we became hungry again in an instant. The dish left us speechless–we were in awe that food could taste so spectacular. The key to this dish is getting a small bit of each ingredient and eating it all together. This is a must-try dish from the dessert menu.
As our spoons were finally laid to rest, we had our last sip of tea before sinking back into our chairs. There is truly no better feeling than being completely content from an amazing meal. Everything about Antoinette, from its soft music to perfectly poached eggs to nutella stuffed crepes, is breathtaking (with the burger exception). When you’re down on Orchard and want a change from PS Cafe, The Eagle’s Nest or Chilis but don’t want to spend $50 and be hungry an hour later, Antoinette is the place for you.
Avg. Price for Two: $60 (Two main courses and pot of tea)