Saturday, May 28, 2016

Fetish Matcha @ Antoinette : Matcha All-Stars Show

Finally, the fetish that I've been waiting for. 
Matcha Fetish. 

Not 1 item on the menu, but a magical number of 22. An auspicious figure because it is not only my birthday date, but also the number of items that contains the sacred green ingredient that has soared to popularity over the last few years. 

For those who are familiar with Pierre Herme's fetish, this might be another "copycat" idea but like the debate on the originality of art, who is to judge if one is less original than the other? On this point, I think Chef Pang has gained a first mover advantage by coming up with Fetish Matcha, an idea itself so dangerously attractive and would easily outdo the popularity of any Fetish Celeste, Fetish Montebello, Fetish Mogador etc. Sorry Monsieur Pierre Herme, I think you've got some work to catch up. 
Yucha
From the classics items like petit fours or a matcha strawberry shortcake to the trendy matcha lava croissant or Instagram-worthy cotton candy matcha latte, this matcha all-stars summit is a true test of how much you love (or hate) matcha. You might love matcha at first and walk away not wanting to see matcha for the rest of the week or month. Or you may be enemies with matcha initially and end up being it's best ally. To conquer all 22 items is not easy, and even more so to create it. In this regards, I say hats off to Chef Pang who has the guts to make a foray into this tricky theme. 
Matcha Latte
For a start, matcha is not an easy, straightforward ingredient to work with. Very often, I get matcha desserts that are drowned by sugar or other dominating flavors and most certainly not every matcha item in this Fetish menu is born equal. But one thing for sure is that you won't find the usual accomplices like red bean, black sugar, kinako or black beans. 

On the contrary, I see a more French approach, not in terms of the repertoire like Millefeuille, St Honore or Choux. It was the pairing matcha with marrons (chestnuts) which added sparkle to the mellow flavors. For instance, you get marron chantily cream in the matcha pancakes, marron paste within the matcha crepes or candied marrons ambushed inside the heart-shaped matcha gateau cake. In fact, I was impressed at the way chestnuts were handled here because their notorious sweetness can easily overpower the dish. But here, they were like delicate whiffs of clouds that made a fleeting appearance. Very light yet pleasurable. 
Made with Matcha from Nishio, the place where tea cultivation in Japan first started, some are more intense than the other, some look less "matcha" than the others. So don't expect everything to be knock-off-your-socks 100% matcha in taste. In fact, that's a good thing because it prevents a strong repulsion or keep the "jelat" feeling at bay. 

Nonetheless, I would be lying if I say that I like every single dish out of the 22. But on the other hand, you would be reading a 5-million word thesis if I were to dwell into every detail of the memorable dishes. I enjoyed the "Yucha", a simple sugarless kirsh-infused matcha butter cake and matcha Creme mousseline, for its clean taste, the Magnum Matcha Cake Pop for its crunchy texture and the Matcha Lava Croissant which boasted the superbly flaky yet stretchy structure with a confident flow of viscous matcha chocolate lava.  

The icy sweet beverages such as matcha soda, matcha yuzu or matcha lychee are undeniably refreshing on a hot day but I thought a pot of pure matcha brew was what I needed most to balance the sugar. 
Another dish which I cannot afford to miss out here is the Matcha Pasta. Cooked with morello mushrooms, Sakura Ebi, salted konbu and truffle paste, the matcha "Mee Pok" is a carefully composed plate that offered delectably chewy bites with a nice umami kick. The matcha emerged more as an aftertaste but it didn't quite matter. I was craving for another plate mid-way through the meal. 
I call this a dessert revolution, one that has raised the standards of desserts in Singapore to another level. It's truly hard to describe the experience of undergoing the entire course for someone like me who is partial towards matcha. I was truly excited at first but my stomach space gradually filled up and I couldn't appreciate the items as much as I wanted. That's when I realized my "fetish" was put to a test but I didn't regret at all. It's a rewarding journey that made me understand the tea better and I look forward to the next fetish to come. 
Matcha Yuzu Drink
While they are available as ala carte items, you can gather your comrades to enjoy all 22 items (including 3 different kinds of matcha beverage concoctions) at $190 (less than $50 per head) from now till end July. For most of the creations in the Fetish series, $1 per order sold will be donated to the Singapore Children's Society OCBC-TODAY Children's Fund.

Are you up for the fetish challenge? 
Antoinette 

Penhas Outlet
30 Penhas Road Singapore 208188
Mon-Thur 11am-10pm
Fri/Eve of PH 11am-11pm
Sat 10am-11pm
Sun/PH 10am-10pm

Mandarin Outlet (selected items)
33A Orchard Road, Mandarin Gallery, 
#02-33/34, Singapore 238897 
11am-10pm daily
http://www.antoinette.com.sg/

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