La Noce is opened by the ex-chef of Papi so it was with considerable anticipation that we made our way to the slightly ulu Chu Lin Road in Bukit Batok on Saturday night to celebrate B’s birthday (Happy Birthday, B!).
I can’t say that I totally wouldn’t recommend this place, but the general consensus was that it had its fair share of hits and misses. Some of the dishes were objectively very good, but then there were some that were so bad that, coupled with the erratic and downright bizarre (I’ll explain in a bit) service, I don’t think the place as a whole could be redeemed.
The evening started out well enough, with a complimentary amuse bouche of crab meat and caviar tartlets. The pastry for the tartlets was a bit soggy, but otherwise this was alright. Because the chef was from Papi, the pizza place that we loved for too fleeting a moment, we wanted to try the pizza here so we all shared a Siciliana – eggplant, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, anchovies, garlic and black olives. Some of the gang thought this was a little on the salty side, probably because of the anchovies and olives, but I was very impressed with the pizza.
The other starters that we shared had more mixed reactions (which proved to be the prevailing theme for the rest of the night). The spicy sauce that came with the calamari was quite good, but the squid itself was overcooked and rubbery. The vitello tonnato (thinly sliced veal with tuna sauce), on the other hand, was very good and as S said, one of the better ones that she’s tried. The veal was sliced just thin enough to still have some substance, and the tuna sauce had a good balance of flavours; not too overpoweringly tuna.
M had a pumpkin soup and W had the minestrone, both of which fell completely flat, in their opinion. In fact, it seemed that a lack of salt/taste was the general opinion throughout dinner, and we had to keep the salt shaker with us the entire night. When starters were ordered, we got our first taste of the strange waitress who seemed to be living in a parallel twilight zone dimension. Y asked if there was any mushroom soup, and the waitress told her, with a straight face, that mushroom soup hadn’t been on the menu for two years. Wtf??!!! The restaurant itself has been open for only about 6 months…
We had read/heard differing views about the main courses too. B read that the lamb rack was good, and W was told to stick to the pastas. With that in mind, I ordered the lamb and A ordered a pasta – the cappellini with crab meat and cherry tomatoes – to share. The lamb arrived first, and while mine was a tad overdone (I’d requested medium), S’s and B’s looked a bit better, but taste-wise there was no complaint. The meat was well-seasoned, not too fatty, and generally quite tasty.
Then the pastas arrived, and all the pastas just couldn’t make it. Again, everything just lacked salt and taste. The crab meat cappellini was flat, and according to M and W, their vongole and seafood pastas didn’t fare much better.
Strangely enough, only half of the pastas arrived. After waiting ages for 3 more pastas, we finally asked the waitress (the same twilight zone one) to check on them, and based on the flurry going and her frantically checking the order chit, we knew she’d simply forgotten them. She claimed to have them ready in 3 minutes – well, maybe in her time zone. After a good 10 or 15 minutes, a second cappellini and 2 rigatonis arrived. This cappellini was only marginally better than the first, but the rigatoni with creamy duck ragout was actually pretty decent.
Finally, it was time for dessert. We ordered 2 portions of profiteroles, and a slice of torta del nonna (grandmother cake) to sing a birthday song for B, but the kitchen gave her a complimentary plate of 2 profiteroles with a candle in one of them. Quite a nice gesture, and the profiteroles themselves didn’t look very good but actually tasted quite delicious. The choux pastry was very light, as was the whipped cream filling, and it was coated in a light chocolate sauce. The cake was a bit on the heavy side though, and a tad dry.
Well, there you have it. Quite a spectrum of standards, such that it felt as though the dishes were cooked by completely different persons. I’m sure the rest of the gang have some words of their own to share about the place, so I’ll leave them to add a bit more colour.
The other tables had the antipasti which looked really good. I guess you should stick to that and the pizza, although I think Peperoni does a better thin and crispy pizza. Best dish was surprisingly the profiteroles. Nice.
3 Chu Lin Road