For the months of July and August, Portico is offering a local-inspired 5-course menu for $50, to celebrate SG50. It's great value for the quality of the food, and I'm now convinced that our first trip to Portico (where nothing blew me away except for the chicken wings) wasn't a proper representation of what the restaurant could offer.
First course consists of 2 snacks - chili crab on brioche, and bak kut teh terrine. The former was predictably good. The latter was a bit subtle. The first bite was overwhelmed by the chilli. On the second bite, I could taste the salted vegetable and herbal bak kut teh more.
Next was a very interesting rendition of rojak. The vegetables were compressed and infused with ginger flower and kaffir lime. You're supposed to cut it open and mix it yourself, in the stone bowl with grilled tofu puffs, cuttlefish and beansprouts. The sauce is in the form of a hae kor (shrimp paste) espuma. Despite all the fancy techniques, it still tasted like a really good rojak. Well done.
Next course was my favourite - a play on wanton noodle soup. It was a smoked pork tortellini topped with fried garlic, in a pork bone broth with konjac noodles. The tortellini filing had hints of bak kwa, and the pork bone broth was amazingly flavourful.
What's a local menu without laksa, and their version is a sambal 3-grain risotto (barley, orzo and quinoa) with laksa pesto, tiger prawn and coconut foam. Again, a very good rendition of laksa, full of big hits of flavour.
Dessert was a Tehramisu - obviously a tiramisu infused with milk tea. The mascarpone could have been a bit richer and creamier, but this was a nice, refreshing way to end the meal.
I was very impressed, and for $50 this really is quite a steal. Highly recommended. If the food had been this good when we first went there, we'd have been back a lot sooner.
Some dishes were great; overall, not bad. Worth a try for the relatively cheap price.