I'd gotten a flyer from Madame Patisserie in my mailbox when it'd first opened its second outlet, a bistro on the fringes of Orchard as opposed to its cafe at Boat Quay, but had only gotten off my butt to sample their wares at an invited tasting from the good people of HungryGoWhere.
Having dined on their menu thrice (the first at the tasting, and subsequent second and third visits on our own), I'd definitely recommend this to people living/working in/around the vicinity. Their meat dishes are done with aplomb, and their well-priced menu makes for a Atkins dieter's very affordable dream, even if their pastas require a fair bit of tuning and desserts were a little weak. The Hubs and I are now fans, and we regularly dabao from here because it's quite close to home.
Service is friendly and sincere, and the 2-odd-men-serving-staff is efficient enough, but I suspect it's also because the bistro hasn't quite taken off yet. 3 times I've been here, the tiny eatery was only half-filled at best, so I'm not sure how they'd handle a full-house. But tables here have a button that you can use to call for service or the bill, and I think it's a genius way of maximising productivity while coping with the labour crunch
The tasting started off on a good note with the Rucola Beef, a mass of lightly seared beef strips, quarters of cherry tomatoes, leafy rucola, and fried onions, all tossed in a piquant wafu dressing. The beef was juicy enough, but it was a smidge too salty. That being said, we still finished it all. The liberal sprinkling of crispy fried onion made the tasty medley sing.
At the revisit, they'd dialed down the salting, and the Hubs, who's usually ambivalent about rucola, lapped the Rucola Beef ($17.90) up. There wasn't a single leaf left by the time he was done.
A Cream of Apple & Carrot was the Soup-of-the-Day ($10.90) at the tasting. Redolent of autumny flavours of butternut squash, this was creamy and comforting, and never cloying.
Another appetizer that scored a hit at the invited tasting was the Pan-Seared Foie Gras with maple balsamic vinegrette, and diced fresh apples, strawberries, and orange.
At the revisit, the Pan-Seared Foie Gras ($20.90) was very well-received by the Hubs too. The foie gras had a gorgeous caramelized char, breaking away to reveal a meltingly smooth, decadently fatty meat. The fruits and basil-olive emulsion lent a tart contrast.
The appetizers were all great, but the tasting's star pupil's the Bacon Bomb portobello laden with a tomato slice, baked egg, wrapped in bacon and grilled to a fragrant, served atop a potato mousse. This was so good 2 of us bloggers tookaway these for our better halves as a supper surprise.
At the revisit, the Bacon Bomb ($10 April promo price, $16.90 usual price) was, once again, done perfectly, with a softly baked egg that oozed a beautifully runny yolk when cut. Definitely gets our vote as a must-try here.
The Grilled Chicken Roulade, swaddled in streaky bacon, is served with a honeyed jus, baked tomato, button mushrooms, broccoli and potato mash. We particularly loved the juicy tomato.
At the revisit, the Hubs loved the Grilled Chicken Roulade ($16.90). The bacon wrapping amped up the flavours and kept the chicken succulent. Like me at the tasting, he also took to the tomato, baked to a juicy sweet finish.
The Beef Cheek, served with a red wine sauce, button mushrooms, broccoli and mesclun salad, didn't leave an impression at the tasting. It was soft enough, moist enough, but it just lacked that extra spark.
I made an about-turn, however, at the revisit. The Beef Cheek ($24.90) harmonized beautifully with that red wine sauce. The sappy elements of the sauce complemented the deep full-bodied taste of the beef, enlivening it. Also, knives aren't needed at all; we picked this apart with just our forks.
At the tasting, the Duck Confit was slathered with an orange sauce that lent brightness to the rich flavour of the game. Crisp skin, but the flesh needed work, it was a smidge dried out.
At the revisit, the Duck Confit ($17.90) was plastic fork-tender. An absolutely bang-on dish. The Hubs loved the balance brought about by the orange sauce.
The pastas paled in comparison with the meat dishes at the tasting. The Beef Paccheri was stuffed with a slightly dry beef ragu, drizzled with parmesan cheese, and served in a pool of tomato sauce. The tomato sauce was a lifesaver, it added much needed moisture to the pasta tubes.
I was prepared to keep an open mind about the Beef Paccheri ($18.90) at the revisit. The Hubs really liked it, especially the tomato sauce, and practically mopped up every last drop of sauce. The key here is to load each pasta tube up with copious lashings of that mellow sweet sauce.
The Smoked Duck Linguine ($20.90) with garlic, sundried tomatoes, smoked duck breast, and cranberry cream sauce proved to be the weakest link at the tasting. The cloying sauce was just too heavy on the cream and we couldn't taste any cranberry in this. Suffice it to say, we didn't finish it.
The Vanilla Mousse with Lychee Jelly ($8) was light and airy, but lacked punch in flavour. It was too bland.
Ditto for the Chestnut and Pear Dome Mousse Cake ($8). Good texture, but weak in taste.
Three-for-three, the Apple Crumble had good flavour but was a little dry.
At the revisit, only the Apple Crumble ($8) was available. I opted to add on a scoop of Vanilla Ice-Cream ($2) to solve the dry issue of the pie, and it totally works. Like peas and carrots, vanilla ice-cream and apple pie go together hand-in-hand.
25/27 Mackenzie Road
Tel: 6884 9601
Open Sundays to Thursdays from 11.30am to 12midnight;
Fridays & Saturdays from 11.30am to 1am