Chef Andre Chiang of Restaurant Andre in Singapore has opened a restaurant in Paris.
The 32-seat Door 12 welcomes guests on September 16. Its name, which translates to Porte n ° 12 in English, refers to the address, 12 Rue des Messageries in the 10th arrondissement of the French capital; and the old wooden door that marks the entrance to the restaurant.
Its kitchen is run by French chef Vincent Crepel, 30, who was sous chef at Andre Restaurant in Bukit Pasoh Road for 2.5 years. The restaurant’s former chef de service, Thibault Passinge, 27, is the sommelier and runs the storefront of the Parisian restaurant.
Gate 12 is a dream come true, says Chiang, 38.
“For each chef, you dream that one day you will have your own place, then you will have a restaurant in France, then one day you will have a Michelin star”, he tells Life! by phone from Paris.
“It was a dream, but I never liked forcing something, it has to come naturally.”
The space, on the ground floor of a building built in 1905, was once a workshop for the manufacture of corsets and haute couture lingerie. Then for 20 years, it was a restaurant called Café Panique, run by chef Odile Guyader, whose daughter is a friend of Chiang’s.
She wanted to leave the place in good hands and that’s how Chiang ended up looking at space in Paris last year.
He says it was good and he set about conceptualizing the restaurant, which funders include hotelier-restaurateur Loh Lik Peng.
It took about a year, the chief says, adding that half the time was spent sorting through the paperwork.
Porte 12 is a bistro-style restaurant, serving gourmet meals in a bistro setting.
The movement has been credited with breathing fresh air into the stilted restaurant scene in France.
Young chefs have revitalized the scene by removing the suffocation of gastronomic temples and serving smart, avant-garde cuisine in relaxed yet elegant settings.
Chiang’s restaurant is decorated in French blue, with copper trim. A nod to the workshop that once occupied the space, the specially designed lamps are shaped like corsets.
Lunch at Gate 12 costs € 28 (S $ 45) for two courses and € 35 for three, while dinner is priced at € 58 for five courses and € 65 for six. Food and wine pairings are extra from € 30 to € 35.
On the menu, dishes such as grilled mackerel with seaweed and radish, whiting with chard and butternut squash puree, and prime rib cooked in black tea and served with watercress.
Chiang says of the food: “It’s seasonal and very spontaneous. We focus on the ingredients. Every day you go to the market and see what’s in season.”
He doesn’t see himself cooking in the restaurant’s tiny 3m by 1m kitchen and leaves the menu to Chef Crepel, who also worked at the historic Hôtel de Ville Crissier in Switzerland.
“It’s important,” says Chiang, who is also a partner of Burnt Ends, a modern Australian barbecue restaurant on Teck Lim Road. “If I tell him how to cook, he will never be able to cook with his heart.”
Chiang says he will eat out three to four times a year, and whenever he’s in Europe.
It works within a small team. In the kitchen there is another chef and a dishwasher. In addition to Mr. Passinge, there is another staff for the house.
Porte 12 had its first service last Saturday, for friends who had helped set up.
Chiang said, “I was very surprised. Usually here and there things are missing, but it was very good, so I am very happy.”
He made a dream come true, but there are others.
“I hope that one day I can go around the world and have an exhibition of what I do beyond cooking – pottery, sculpture and painting,” he says.
“It’s a dream.”