8 Marina View, #01-01 Asia Square, Tower 1
6690 7567 | lacantine.sg
It’s surely a sign of confidence when a chef takes a walk through his restaurant to chat with diners after they’ve eaten. Sporting a thousand-watt smile, Bruno Menard, the three-Michelin-star guru at La Cantine, shakes hands with self-assurance. No wonder, given the culinary delights he’s just dished up.
Food is just one part of the sensory feast at La Cantine; the décor is another. This new brasserie is definitely French, but with a twist.
There’s not a table free as the Friday lunchtime business crowd dines, but there are high seats free at the bar. Luckily, my companion and I have no pressing deadlines so we treat ourselves to a generous glass of the house white Chateau Tour des Gendres Bergerac Blanc, which the knowledgeable waiter explains to us Antipodeans is a semillion-sauvignon blanc blend. Ordering the set menu ($39) would be the easy option, but we choose à la carte.
For starters, the Cévennes onion soup served on foie gras ($24) is a powerful twist on a French classic and a hint of truffle adds a sumptuous touch. Having decided to go for three courses, we keep it light with fish for mains. There are three solid choices and my friend opts for Pacific cod ($30), gently poached in a vegetable emulsion and served with parsnip purée and salmon roe. It’s a most unexpected explosion of flavours with a slightly tart aftertaste. The roasted spottail bass ($32) fillet is served on a robust Provençal tomato sauce with green asparagus and lots of small, delicate olives, and it is a delicious juxtaposition to the other fish.
Luckily, the caramel hot lava cake ($15) takes 15 minutes to prepare, so we’ve time to breathe (and catch up on more news). Divinely rich cake with raspberry, rose and lychee sorbet ($14) on a bed of red berries is the perfect combination, and a cappuccino finishes it brilliantly.
Jostling with hard-nosed businessmen for a taxi took a shine off our joie de vivre afterwards, and we mused that a stroll down a cobbled Parisian laneway would be more in keeping with our mood. But that won’t stop us returning soon.