As we walked past the shop, we could not help but be smitten by this French-inspired concept store which offers both a retail and dining experience. Like how it was intended to be, one could not help it but felt like he or she had returned to one of those imaginary magical worlds of childhood days. We last visited Au Chocolate quite a while ago and decided to have it another go!
There are three sections to Au Chocolate which is tucked quietly away at a corner of Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. The first shop front to greet would be the confiserie, which is a confectionery and chocolate atelier filled with candies, chocolates and all sorts of imaginable goodies! Then we also have a small takeaway counter which is located between the confiserie and the bistro. You would expect to find a wider range of cakes, macarons and pastries at the takeaway counter but if you fancy a dine-in at the bistro, do not be shy to request for your orders to be sent to your table!
Truffle Fries (S$15/++)
What I particularly enjoyed about the truffle fries were that they were carved out of fresh potatoes where you could still see the potato skin attached to some of the crispy strips. It was drizzled with fragrant white truffle oil and seasoned with truffle sea salt. On the sides were mayonnaise and BBQ sauce to go along. Quite frankly, while we enjoyed the crisp texture of the freshly fried fries, I felt that the truffle fragrance lacked depth and intensity. The mayonnaise and BBQ sauce were nothing too great to rave about. Overall, it was good but not impressive.
As we closely examined the 'newspaper' wrapping the truffle fries, you would notice that it is actually Au Chocolate Times!
While we waited for the rest of our food to be served, I could not help but be mesmerized with the surrounding interior decor, which seemed to invoke the inner child characteristics in us!
Mushroom Bites (S$15/++)
The mushrooms came simmered in red wine sauce, paired with freshly baked bread and served with tasty tomato and olive jam. While we liked that the mushrooms retained the firm texture, giving it a slight chewiness and bounce, the flavours of the expected red wine sauce was slightly disappointing. Probably owed to the strong natural fragrance inherited from most mushrooms, the sauce failed to shine and tasted more like a good gravy. Coupled with the freshly baked bread which had a beautiful crisp crust to it, we enjoyed the complement in textures. The tasty tomato and olive jam tasted more like a variance to a tomato-based mayonnaise and while it did come appeal on my palate, it was well received by the ladies.
Au Chocolate frozen hot chocolate (S$12/++)
This was a rather confusing and misleading drink to begin with. I struggled to find any element of 'hot chocolate' within the drink to give it any qualitative value. It was described as 'an all-time favourite' on the menu and since it resonated with the bistro's signature, we felt that it should be a 'MUST-TRY'. We were left hugely disappointed as it tasted plain pedestrian. With a generous amount of whipped cream crowning the frozen cold chocolate icy bits, the amount of calories in this drink would blow your mind off. The taste of the chocolate tasted mild and lacked intensity. We felt that the quality could have been better to warrant a simple iced cold chocolate drink at S$12++.
This drink took an awful long time before it finally reached our table. I submitted my request on two separate occasions after the order and on each occasion, I was assured that it was on the way. When I finally decided that I had enough and wanted to cancel the order, they seemed to expedite my request and had it before me within two minutes.
You could see that while it passed the classic eggs benedict test, it was not perfect. The poached egg did not look neat and I somewhat felt that the egg looked slightly clumsy and out of place compared to the one we had previously. I did not like the fact that there were 'lumps' of egg white and egg yolk.
While the overall presentation with the muffin and bacon looked good, I was expecting a stronger punch in flavours and tastes from the homemade hollandaise sauce infused with red wine and dark chocolate. Again, the red wine element was sorely lacking and when enjoyed as a whole with the other elements on the plate, the dark chocolate failed to shine through. To give it credit, when we tasted the hollandaise sauce on its own, you could taste the chocolate taste cutting through, albeit mildly.
I might have set my expectations too high with the homemade hollandaise sauce but everything else on the plate was spot on. Crisp bacon and well toasted muffin with a nice portion of salad on the side.
Smoked salmon savoury crepe (S$20/++)
While browsing through the beautifully illustrated menu, I was drawn to the savoury crepes which seemed unique as compared to its sweet counterpart. One would normally crepe to come with a sweet offering so this took me by surprise and the adventurous side of me decided to go for the smoked salmon.
The smoked Norwegian salmon came with finely-sliced crunchy Granny Smith apples covered in a rich cream sauce. When given the choice of a plain crepe or a chocolate rendition, we went for the latter. The crepe was freshly baked and there was a nice fragrance to it. It felt elastic and I found the thickness of the crepe to be ideal without too much flour to make it look like a pancake.
I thought that the combination was well thought out and sublime. The sweet and mildly sour tang from the green apples also gave a refreshing twist to the savoury smoked salmon while the textures were also well complemented with the crunchiness of the green apples.
The salad on the side was surprisingly addictive as it was topped with Au Chocolate's unique chocolate balsamic vinaigrette. While the salad was fresh, the dressing made all the difference with a perfect balance in acidity. Overall, this dish made my day and sealed it for me.
I think that Au Chocolate has a beautiful setting and the intended 'magical world' decor that it was trying to achieve was certainly spot on. It seemed to transcend away from the affluence of the Marina Bay Sands into a corner reserved for the young and innocent. While the prices of the dishes certainly did not come cheap, it was affordable and well worth the experience.
On the customer service aspect, I felt that some of the staffs were trying a little too hard to be nice when they failed to address the basics, such as making sure that orders were taken and making sure that they get served to the customers in a timely fashion. They were polite and humble in their conversations and was well appreciated. Overall, I felt that Au Chocolate is a decent bistro which has that relaxed ambiance for the diners but I would be more selective on my next visit.
Bay Level L1-03
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
2 Bayfront Avenue
Tel: (+65) 6688 7227/ 6688 7266
, by cy