It’s been quite a while since our first and only trip to 15 Minutes, and it’s certainly come a long way in the last 4 months. You’re no longer guaranteed a table if you don’t make a reservation – it was absolutely packed when we went on Friday night, with every table taken or reserved. Luckily it was just the 2 of us, and they managed to seat us at the very last available table in the bar section, right in front of the band. The downside of that was – the band started playing midway through our meal, and it was mighty disconcerting to have a spotlight shining on you when you’re trying to eat. Needless to say, we finished up as quickly as possible and left before we embarrassed ourselves.
The menu has also been glammed up somewhat. Previously the offerings were quite basic – burgers, sandwiches, a few salads, and simple pastas and pizzas. There were also tapas-sized snacks, which we found better and more interesting than their standard offerings.
Imagine our surprise then, when we saw items like Duo of Lamb and gnocchi with blue cheese and parma ham on the menu. Both caught our eye so we ordered them to share. Unfortunately, most of the tapas that we wanted to order had already run out by 8.15 pm.
The lamb was quite a small portion – 2 small chops, one breaded and fried and the other grilled. It was accompanied by a confit artichoke and some orzo (rice-shaped pasta) salad. The chops were tiny, and what with the bone attached, there wasn’t much meat on this at all. The breaded chop was better; the grilled one was a bit overcooked. All in all, not a bad attempt at serving something fancy.
The gnocchi, on the other hand, sounded a lot better than the eventual dish. Instead of a pure blue cheese sauce, the blue cheese was sparingly dotted throughout the dish. The gnocchi itself was a bit dense and heavy, and while the mouthfuls with the parma ham and blue cheese were decent, the actual cheese sauce tasted quite cheap and synthetic.
We also tried their salad in a jar – quite an interesting way of serving a salad. We had the warm mushroom salad, because it was the only one on the menu to mention ‘rocket salad’ rather than ‘mixed greens’. Alas, when it arrived it was all mixed greens, so that was a bit disappointing. The sautéed mushrooms weren’t bad though.
Needless to say, we felt so self-conscious and uncomfortable with the spotlight trained on us that we didn't stick around for dessert. Will we come back? I honestly don’t know. It seems that reservations are almost essential, and I’m not sure that it’s worth the trouble to actually make advance plans for this place, given the standard of the food.
Eating just feet away from the band is very strange. It didn’t help that the spotlight was also partially pointed on us.
I must say the service was excellent. The only problem is that most of the tapas dishes were sold out.
The food quality is still pretty good for the price. Portions are small for the mains though.
I think I’d recommend this place only if you were in the area. It’s good, but not worth making the trip down for.
15 Minutes Cafe
1 McNally Street
Blk D, #01-01 Lasalle College of the Arts
Mon – Thurs: 10 am to 11 pm
Fri: 10 am to 12 mn
Sat: 11.15 am to 11 pm