The Marina Bay Link Mall, a subterranean mall linking the new Marina Bay Financial Centre to One Raffles Quay and beyond (all the way to Raffles Place MRT) is finally open, and given that more than half of the outlets are dining establishments, this bodes very well for those of us working in the area. About a third of the shops are still a work-in-progress though, with a scheduled date of January 2011 for all the shops to be fully open.
For me, some of the more eagerly anticipated stores aren’t open yet, like the Four Seasons Organic Supermarket, and a couple of restaurants from the Paradise Group, so for now, the early birds are raking in pretty good business.
One of the first to open was Youmenya Goemon, a Waraku-esque casual dining place that serves Japanese-style pasta. They’re so specialised that they only do pasta – no other side dishes or mains except a perfunctory salad bar. They were doing pretty good business on a Friday night, and apparently lunch services have been flat out since they opened a week ago.
I decided to try a carbonara with meat sauce – best of both worlds. This was basically a spaghetti carbonara with an additional ladle of Bolognese on top, resulting in a richer, creamier version of a Bolognese. The egg could’ve been a runnier, to add yet another dimension to the sauce, but that would be nitpicking.
A had the aglio olio spaghetti with dried scallop and whitebait. This was also pretty tasty and surprisingly fresh and clean tasting, without too much oil or garlic.
The pasta here is much better than Waraku, and we later found out why. Unlike many restaurants, they actually don't par-cook their pasta. The pasta is boiled from scratch only upon order, so given that it takes about 8 to 9 minutes to boil pasta, don’t expect fast food here. It does pay off though, because the texture of the pasta is really good, and most importantly it isn’t watery or mushy.
Their so-called “gimmick” here is that you’re supposed to eat spaghetti with chopsticks (though you can ask for a spoon if you wish). This makes mixing up the pasta really difficult and, if you’re not careful, also very messy. In my opinion, the food here is good enough that they don't need the gimmick and in fact, I hope it doesn’t frustrate diners into not wanting to return.
Good food. Good service. A bit slow, but that’s cause pasta is cooked to order. Will definitely be back when it’s less crowded. Although note to self: don’t order the royal milk tea, it’s awful.
Marina Bay Link Mall