PUBLISHED May 8th, 2014 12:50 am | UPDATED May 22nd, 2017 05:15 pm
In the unlikely location of an industrial estate off Alexandra Road lies the newly opened Portico. Taking up the premises of the former Hosted On The Patio, this new outfit piques one’s interest even before we get onto the food. The brainchild of two stall owners from PasarBella Market – Sean Lai of Le Patio (purveyor of insanely yummy paella cooked in a ginormous pan) and Alicia Lin of Cicely Kitchen (purveyor of everything to do with herbs) it’s when you throw a third name into the mix that things get really interesting – Executive Chef Leandros Stagogiannis (formerly of 3 Michelin star restaurant The Fat Duck).
An all-day dining café, restaurant and bar, Portico aims to serve home-style creations with interesting textural twists, fresh ingredients and off beat flavour pairings. Homestyle, twists and offbeat are not exactly words that often populate the same sentence. So how exactly do they pull it off?
The Crispy Sweatbread ($17/$29) is a sign of things to come at Portico. Breaded, herbed and served with onion puree and heart of palm salad, if you’re one to feel a bit apprehensive about dishes that use offcuts, this will surely change your mind proving to be not only accessible but also quite delicious and more-ish.
The Kombu Soba Noodles ($16) is a simple dish that grows on you with every mouthful. The silky noodles pop with toasted buckwheat and crispy brown shrimp, a combination which gives it a savoury, nutty and truffle-infused flavour.
The Sea Bass Fish and Chips ($19), a seemingly ordinary dish, is lifted to new heights by impossibly light batter and meaty seabass (which had been delivered to the restaurant within two hours of being caught – so fresh it was) and is finished off with excellent minty crushed peas and crunchy curly fries.
For meat lovers, please do not skip on the Red Wine Braised Wagyu Beef Cheek ($27). Served in a Bourguignon sauce, the meat is fall-away and ridiculously soft having been braised for 3-4 hours. Paired with a tangy butter-laden mash this is serious comfort food we’re talking about here.
Things remain interesting as we move on to dessert. A first for me came in the form of Tart Aux Citron and Onion Ice Cream ($14). A somewhat bizarre sounding combination, the savoury from the onion plays out cheekily against the sweetness from the citron to refreshing effect.
For a very different take on your usual chocolate desserts, the Manjari H20 Ganache with Sweet Corn Sorbet ($16), teases and confuses the palate with its intense mélange of sweet, savoury, nutty and bitter flavours all brought together in this very unique tasting dish.
Portico’s food is well thought out with just the right amount of adventure and imagination thrown into the mix to make it accessible and unpretentious. Couple that with a homely, chilled vibe, cocktail pairings that can hold their own, and an ‘off the beaten path’ location, an accessibly-priced tasting menu and a brunch offering coming soon, we think it’s a discovery well worth making.
Written by Ms Demeanour
On this occasion the meal was compliments of Portico. N.B. all photos are of tasting-sized dishes
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