Readers familiar with the 3 Michelin starred L'Osier in Tokyo will know of Chef Bruno Ménard, who suffused Japanese cuisine with French nuances. The acclaimed chef with a deep culinary pedigree has brought his innovative interpretations of classic dishes to Singapore in collaboration with Deliciae Hospitality Management Group. The result is "&MADE By Bruno Menard", a French pun on an American diner from the comfort food to the decor.
I decided to experience this new addition to Singapore's dining landscape in Pacific Plaza and found myself wanting more. Here are 10 delicious reasons to go French-American with Chef Bruno.
* Everything is handmade - True to its namesake, everything in &Made is handmade including the rich pasty &Made tomato ketchup, sambal look-alike &Made BBQ sauce and the recipe used for the burger buns. The name of the restaurant is a playful jibe at how the French pronounces "handmade".
* The 'B' Burger - In the famous words of Burger King, the gourmet beef burger "just tastes better" at &Made. The reason is simple. Chef Bruno has reconstructed the common hamburger patty with dry-aged beef, which is coarsely cut rather than overly blended. The end result is an uncompromisingly juicy patty where the taste is sealed in and you still have the texture of beef bits in your patty. French Comte cheese is also used to add flavour to the burger. No wonder its the best selling dish on the menu.
* High on Truffle fries - Although fries come with every order of burger but you can expected the unexpected with Chef Bruno. Forget mushy wedges or limp potato sticks. These gourmet fries are deep fried to golden and infused with truffle oil. For aficionados of truffles, the food of love just became more crispy and fragrant. Other flavours include smoked, garlic & vinegar or original but I couldn't picking at the truffle fries.
* Osanthus Sancha iced tea - Iced tea will never be the same after you've been served frozen cubes of tea that melt as hot tea is poured over them. Chef Bruno's simple innovation ensures the fragrance of the premium sancha and the flavour of the tea is undiluted.
* Toastoos? - Chef Bruno attempts to expand diners' concept of everyday food by introducing a new generation of sandwiches exclusive to &Made. The Toastoos are crepes fashioned from buckwheat, toasted and sliced into triangles. As you crunch through the pocket, you receive an explosion of warm, savoury flavours.
Chef Bruno's current favourite is the 'Chili Crab Toastoo', a French interpretation of the famous Singaporean dish with a dense and creamy filling but without the spicy heat from the Chilli Crab sauce.
* Rose, Lychee & Raspberry smoothie - A feminine drink where the flavours are none too delicate. Expect to smell the rose on the nose and the real taste of lychee and raspberry on the palate that combine to make a smooth treat.
* 3 Little Pigs - A tribute to Chef Bruno Menard's stint in Tokyo, the '3 Little Pigs Burger' makes reference to the 3 Michelin Star accreditation he received at his Tokyo restaurant L'Osier as well as the 3 types of pork used in the patty including bacon, pork fillet and chorizo. Japanese influence on the burger is also evident in the infusion of Japanese cabbage, Shibazuke pickles and yuzu-kosho (citrus pepper) mayonnaise that wraps the whole lot into one delicious package. In the words of McDonalds, "I'm Lovin' It"!
* Salads to drink - If you don't fancy crunching on greens, &Made offers 3 versions of red, green and yellow cold vegetable soups. All 'Salads to Drink', popularised in European cities, are a liquid blend of vegetables and herbs packed with fresh flavours and accompanied by mini savoury bites.
* Original Deserts - With two highly accomplished chocolatiers as grandfathers, you can expect to savour Chef Bruno's pedigree in his deserts albeit with a touch of individualism. A balance of texture and sweetness can be savoured in each spoonful of &Made sundaes where a layer of delicious butter crumble at the very bottom adds a touch of crunchiness to the ice cream and creme chantilly. The ubiquitous waffle is stretched into a popsicle with dipping sauces on the side. A personal recipe transforms the common chocolate lava cake into a 'Hot Caramel Lava Cake' with a hot stream of salted caramel when sliced open.
* Le design d'intérieur français - Forget American diner decor. Except for a couple of photos that hint at 1970s American restaurant advertisements, the entire space is a playful reinvention of classic French design. Victorian period fabric conduits connect and form modern day "circuit board" patterns, industrial pendant lighting illuminate the space, Pop Art forms juxtapose against classic ceramics and traditional French mosaic tiles become complex pixelated murals containing digital-age quirky characters and cheeky phrases, all of which reflect the adventurous spirit of Chef Bruno and his food. A delicious feast for the eyes to match the tasty food .