Singapore, September 22, 2012
Standing out prominently above the ice skating rink at Marina Bay Sands on Level 1 is a new bistro, confectionery, patisserie and gelato bar that offers all-day dining for shoppers and theatregoers at the integrated resort.
Au Chocolat opened its doors in August to much fanfare with the Italian ambassador and two former Miss Singapore winners.
But does its food match up to its hype?
When SoShiok visited, what stood out for us was how big the entire area was. Spanning 4,700 square feet, Au Chocolat was not only prominent due to its location, but also because of its old Parisian décor.
A quick look at the menu showed that there was more to choose from besides just French fare. Ranging from an all-day breakfast menu, to pastas, to roasted meats, and to savoury and sweet crepes, we were basically spoilt for choice, as there is a dish there for all sorts of taste buds.
We started the meal off with something light - a colourful Modern Nicoise salad ($20) with seared tuna and balsamic chocolate dressing.
We were told that head chef Elvin Chew adds a personal touch in most of his dishes and with the salad, he included a hint of chocolate with the dressing, which did help to reduce the sourness of the vinegar a little and give it a touch of sweetness.
Meat lovers should try the Duck Confit. The duck leg is pan-seared to a perfect crisp, but the meat within remains tender, not dry - unlike how most duck meat tends to be.
What's interesting about this dish is the gravy. Chocolate is mixed into the gravy, giving it its unique taste that would pretty much remind you of the French countryside.
If you've got a big appetite, then Au Chocolat's Signature Burger ($25) will probably help you fill your stomach, and with that price tag, it's quite a steal.
Topped with cheddar cheese, Portobello mushrooms, sundried tomatoes and crispy bacon slices, the highlight of this dish is, of course, the beef patty.
Unlike other patties that are made from ground meat, this beef patty looks and a tastes almost as if an entire chunk of meat fillet was put into the burger. It does not taste like ground, minced meat and the patty is firm, succulent and tender.
We were told that the French fries served with the burger were fried in a special manner that keeps it crunchy and fresh, no matter how many times it's been refried. When we asked the chef for his secret, he obviously declined to comment.
Another special snack made for Au Chocolat is the sweet potato fries with plum powder ($14). The fries were delightfully crunchy and sweet, but it lacked the slight saltiness, which would otherwise make it perfect.
For dessert, the dish that wowed every single person at the table was the Stuffed French Toast ($18), which consists of two slices of brioche bread coated with cornflakes and stuffed with blueberries, strawberries and mascarpone cheese.
We gave the French toast full marks for presentation and taste. The cornflakes gave the toast a nice, sweet crisp to it, while the bread within remains soft despite its crunchy outlook.
Just when we were being wooed by the lip-smacking French toast, then came the chocolate cake - and boy, were we astounded.
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Take a look at the restaurant on opening day and the dishes that are offered: