While food-lovers pile the reservation books of Pollen @ Gardens By The Bay, tucked in the back of Pacific Plaza is the modest opening of &Made by three-Michelin starred Chef Bruno Menard. Largely popularized by his former gem in Tokyo – L’Osier, a 3-Michelin starred Japanese-French restaurant since 2007, Chef Bruno has now brought his culinary expertise to our tiny island.
The concept is simple – everyday food with a unique gourmet twist. &Made @ Pacific Plaza serves up simple dishes such as burgers, toasts and salads but furnishes them with fresh and high quality ingredients. The interior is laidback and casual, with a coherent “American diner meets tech geek” theme throughout. Apart from the poor air conditioning at the back, &Made shows us that you don’t need a pair of Tod’s suede drivers to enjoy good food.
We started the meal with the Nice salad ($18). A word-play on the common Nicoise salad, the dish was served with the traditional anchovies, tuna and tomatoes. The dressing was a tad too creamy and overpowering, but I enjoyed the occasional bite of garlic bits and oil. Choices of ingredients were certainly fresh, especially the tomatoes that burst with flavours and juice with every bite.
For the mains, we had the Toastoo Chili Crab ($16). Instead of the conventional toast, &Made serves this dish with Chef Burno’s unique buckwheat crepe recipe. As the crepes are a little dryer than bread, it gives a nicer crunch when toasted. The chili crab filling is certainly not the recipe we have been accustomed to at the likes of Long Beach – think spicy clam chowder.
As per the waiter’s recommendations, we also had the Kimchi Burger ($22). Served with a side of fries, the buns are light and airy to complement the flavours rather than smothering it. The fermented flavour of the kimchi was a tad mild, although I wished it would be stronger, but the beef patty that rests below was truly delectable. Handmade and minced with his special technique, Chef Bruno has ensured that the patty floods your tongue with juices at every bite.
For the last mains, we had the Duck Confit Burger ($22). Duck confit is largely a French dish, and this burger would be a great opportunity to see how Chef Bruno puts his unique interpretation to a traditional dish. Needless to say, the burger did not fail to impress. The duck confit was cooked to a great tenderness; at first bite, the crunch of the sweet red cabbage greets you before opening up to the bold yet subtle flavours of the duck confit. The lime mayo ends off the burger on a tangy note.
Still reminiscing over the Hot Caramel Lava Cake ($15) that I last had at Le Petit Cancale, it was a welcoming surprise to find the same dessert here too. And as mentioned, while it takes 15 minutes to prepare this dessert, I assure you that it will be the best 15 minutes you will ever spend.
&Made serves up delicious hearty meals at reasonable prices, and it would definitely not be long before the stampede of food lovers arrives. Chef Bruno has showed us that great food does not always come at exorbitant prices, and I am confident under his hands, he could make white rice a stellar dish.
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Mon – Sun: 8am – 10pm