We came here quite by accident on Thursday night. A got off work extraordinarily early for a change, so we decided to take the opportunity to explore the Robertson Quay area before it got dark. The whole Robertson Quay area is unrecognisable from a few years ago. Loads of restaurants have popped up, and the area emits quite a nice vibe – not quite Clarke Quay’s current hip factor but that suits us just fine. I don’t know if it’s a spillover from Clarke Quay, or whether Thursday is the new Friday, but at 7 pm on a Thursday some joints were already more than half full.
Having read quite a bit about this place, and after S said she had a pretty good and reasonable meal here, we decided to give it a try. The restaurant may look slightly intimidating from the outside, but the ambience is actually a lot more casual.
I’m currently in a weird phase, where I’m inclined to order dishes where I can’t predict how they’ll taste before they even arrive. That means no stock-standard seared tenderloins or roast rack of lambs. Instead, I seem to be drawn towards duck or pork dishes, just to try different tastes and flavours. Today for some reason, the Braised Crispy Pork Trotter called out to me, so I decided to order it, despite some warnings by the waiters that it was a fairly uncommon request. A decided to be even more adventurous by having just starters and not any mains, so instead of the both of us having a starter and main each, we decided to order 4 starters – the Salmon Rillette, French Onion Soup, Escargots and Frisee Salad with Bacon and Poached Egg – and just the Pork Trotter to share.
Out of the starters, I actually liked the soup the best. It was loaded with cheese and baked till brown and bubbly, and was one of the most rustic, hearty onion soups I’ve had in a while. It was thick and sweet, and chockfull of onions. The escargots were quite generic and a little boring, but the salmon rillette was pretty good – it was like a very rich smoked salmon pate. The Frisee salad was good only because of the bacon chunks and the dressing made from the rendered bacon fat. Yum.
As you can see from the photo (a little blur because I didn’t have my digital camera with me, so that was taken on my phone camera), the pork trotter isn’t served with the whole foot or knuckle. Instead, they braise the trotter, debone and shred the meat, fat and gelatinous tendon from it, season and reconstitute it into a patty, then the patty is pan fried till the crust is golden brown and really crispy. It was served with potatoes and mushrooms. It was definitely a very interesting dish, but ridiculously rich and gelak. There’s no way I could have finished it on my own.
The waiters here are all really friendly, without being obsequious or TGI Fridays-esque manic. The only complaint would be the speed at which our food arrived. They kept apologising, saying the large group there for a company dinner was slowing things down in the kitchen. Maybe the fact that we had a strange combination of orders threw them off as well.
Because we had only one main course, we weren’t able to take advantage of the current promotion with DBS/POSB credit cards – one for one main course, valid for lunch and dinner every day. This is quite a good deal, unlike most promotions that limit it to Mondays to Thursday, or only to lunch. This deal is on until the end of July, so we’ll probably be heading there one more time to have a proper two courses per person.
Parking is not bad. Service is superb at tableside but the food is slow coming out. I don’t think it was because of our confusing order because my simple dessert and latte took forever to come.
The food itself is not bad, but the starters are way more interesting than the mains. Since it’s not exactly cheap, I think this place is worth it only with a promotion on. Otherwise, I’d rather go to L’Angelus.
80 Mohamed Sultan Road
#01-13 The Pier at Robertson
Sunday to Thursday: 11 am to 10.30 pm (last order)
Friday and Saturday: 11 am to 11 pm (last order)