[SG] La Cantine | disappointing French fare saved by ambience

Monday, September 08, 2014

For those working in the CBD area, you would probably be familiar with La Cantine, located at Asia Square. With an unique interior featuring inverted rooster inspired by the Montmartre in Paris, this traditional French brasserie is the latest brainchild of Michelin 3* Chef, Bruno Menard.

With a communal setting in the restaurant, it coincides with the intention of 'dishes-to-share', which makes it a venue perfect for celebrations and events. Having previously tried &made and duly impressed, we were really looking forward to our visit at La Cantine!

"Nicoise" Salad | S$22/++

Recommended by the lady who took our orders as one of the house's signatures, we thought it would be a good start to our meal. Dressed with Tonnato sauce, a creamy, tangy sauce made with anchovies, capers and canned tuna, we enjoyed the umami flavours in it. Among the usual salad greens, there were bell peppers, tomato, egg, anchovies, tuna drizzled with roasted garlic oil for extra fragrance. While the large salad bowl looked impressive, the amount of tuna in the dish was disappointing. On a more positive note, the combination went really well as the sauce brought the dish together harmoniously.

Sirloin Angus Beef Tartare (Appetiser Portion) | S$22/++

The pictures above showed the beef tartare as an appetiser portion while the most updated menu revealed that it is now only offered as a main course served with fries and salad at S$38/++. While I enjoyed the croutons that added a layer of texture to complement the beef tartare, the flavours were mainly from herbs sprinkled generously atop. As a result, the seasoning of the beef tartare failed to stand out.

Pan Roasted Atlantic Cod Fish, Sweet Corn Sauce and Broccoli | S$32/++

Recommended as one of the signatures, my expectations was naturally held high. It was a shame that the beautiful cod fish was overcooked, resulting in a rather dull texture. The bland flavours of the fish fell short of impressing while the sweet corn soup was merely pedestrian. The broth was not creamy enough and lacked oomph to elevate flavours for the dish as a whole.

Caramelized Pork Belly | S$36/++

Probably the saving grace of the evening was this signature dish of La Cantine's. Paired brilliantly with roasted garlic, potato puree, mix greens and herbs, the caramelised pork belly slices were spot-on. With bold flavours underpinning the beautiful pork belly cut, the addition of roasted garlic cloves enhanced its flavours and fragrance.

The well-defined pork belly slices were succulent and were everything you could possibly ask for. What I would have desired though would be a layer of the crispy skin for that crackling effect. That would have elevated the dish to the next level of indulgence.

The potato puree was a classic side to the pork belly, which was creamy but too salty and oily for our palate. Although the mash was velvety and got a boost in flavours and fragrance from the diced roasted garlic, the grease was enough to stop us short of a second mouthful.

Photo credit: La Cantine

Overall, we thought that the food was quite pedestrian though this was compensated by the attentive service rendered and lovely ambience. While we visited on a Friday evening, the restaurant was less than half occupied and we were able to enjoy some privacy with a seating at a corner. Also, service of food was too quick for comfort as there was hardly any break before the next course was served.

For those in the area looking for a place to unwind after a hard day at work, La Cantine offers a different 'Happy Hour' promotion from 5 - 8pm daily, Mondays to Fridays ranging from 1-for-1 housepours to S$10 per glass freshly made margaritas!

Overall Verdict: 6.0/10

La Cantine
8 Marina View
Asia Square Tower 1
Singapore 018960
Tel: (+65) 6690 7567

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