Singapore is known for its high stress lifestyle so it’s no wonder we’re always looking for ways to escape it, be it with weekend getaways or luxurious spa sessions. Here’s a much cheaper alternative – Portico, which means ‘porch’ in Italian, the latest addition to the vibrant food scene in Singapore.
Portico’s minimalist-chic decor has a very cosy feel, with each piece of furniture and crockery specially hand-picked or made for the restaurant. The brightly lit dining area opens onto a beautifully lush garden that even has a adorable wooden porch swing.
You’ll be as surprised as I was that the dish that stole my heart (or stomach to be precise) was the Sea Bass Fish and Chips, Crushed Peas and Fresh Mint ($19). It sounds ordinary, it looks ordinary but it definitely doesn’t taste like your average fish and chips. Made from Tiger beer and seasoned with a light sherry vinegar, the batter for the fish is a thin layer of flavourful crispness that is neither too greasy nor overcooked. The sweet, chewy flesh of the locally acquired sea bass fish is so incredibly fresh that I can definitely believe it was delivered to the restaurant within two hours of being caught, as promised by the Chef. Trust me, if a fish-hater like me can love this dish, you will too. It also comes with curly fries instead of the usual straight-cut fries to appeal to the Singapore craze over the seasonal treat. Plus, if all that oil is turning your tummy, you can have a bite of the refreshing crushed peas with mint.
The other contender for best main at Portico was the Braised Wagyu Beef Cheek and Red Wine Jus ($27). Cooked for hours to perfection, the fork-tender beef cheek melts in your mouth, leaving the tangy aftertaste of red wine. Paired with a velvety-smooth, rich mash, this dish is guaranteed to lavish your tastebuds. This rich indulgence definitely makes it onto my ‘Top 10 Must-Have Dishes Before I Die’ list. However, even with juicy bits of pear on the side, this dish comes off a little heavy on the palate so you may want to consider splitting it with a friend.
A perfect dessert to round off the intensely savoury meal is the Tart Aux Citron and Sweet Onion Ice Cream ($14). I know, I know, sweet onion ice cream does sound pretty dubious to most and indeed it is overpowering on its own but you’ll be surprised by how perfect it is when taken with the lemon tart. While I love a good lemon tart, I never seem to be able to finish more than half of it due to the tartness. That’s why the lemon tart and the sweet onion ice cream are a perfect match; the piquant sweet onion ice cream takes the edge off the lemon tart.
Dining at Portico is a relaxed yet delightful affair that is almost sure to lift your mood – great for catching up with a bunch of close girlfriends. The very pocket friendly prices are definitely a major bonus too.
Portico is located at 991B Alexandra Road, #01-10 and is opened from Monday to Saturday. For more information, visit http://www.portico.sg or like Portico on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/portico.sg