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Posts Tagged ‘portico’

I first knew Chef Nixon back in 2013 when he was the head chef of Petite Menu and have loved what he can whip up in the kitchen since then. He soon became my favourite local chef (and K’s too) and always have a sixth sense of what my palate likes best. Even his CNY fusion menu (which can be tricky and hard to nail) was a delight! When Petite Menu closed the following year, I lamented its loss. Then came along Portico not long after and I had my one of best meals there. I guess it’s telling how much K and I like Portico and the team when we chose to spend Christmas eve there last year (and maybe this year) 🙂

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Fast forward one year, and Portico has a new sister restaurant – Portico Prime. Taking over what used to be Prime Society at Dempsey, Portico Prime is (not surprisingly) upmarket, and the tasteful design, classy ambiance and menu prices reflect that change in status. While I didn’t expect cheap prices, I feel that some of the dishes can be more reasonably priced. Honestly, $22++ for a soup (that was served cold in my case, ouch) or salad can be hard to stomach.

That aside, we were pretty impressed by the quality of most of the other dishes. The seared Hokkaido scallop with sous vide egg, pan-seared barramundi (extremely fresh as Portico works with Tiberias Harvest, which offers fish delivered within hours from its sea farm located off the north-eastern coast of Pulau Ubin) and the signature heirloom tomatoes with frozen honey melon dressing were excellent! K was all raves for his succulent wagyu steak from Tochigi Perfecture, exclusive to Portico Prime and cannot be found anywhere else in Singapore. And of course, desserts by Chef Charlene never fail to satisfy our sweet tooth! Her deconstructed blackforest is our must-order; the creme brulee and refreshing basil parfait are worth a try too!

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Seared Hokkaido Scallop ($28++)
cos lettuce, sous vide 63°C egg, dehydrated bacon, brown anchovy mayo, freshly shaved pecorino cheese

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Collection of Heirloom Tomatoes ($24++)
jamon serrano slices, organic quinoa, marinated hijiki seaweed, frozen honey melon dressing

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Caramelised Leek and Potato Soup ($22++)
lightly charred smoked eel, brown butter toasted brioche

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Pan-Seared Pulau Ubin Barramundi ($38++)
ratte potatoes, carrot ginger puree, trout roe buerre blanc sauce

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Miso Risotto (off the menu)
pan seared hokkaido scallop, mini crispy prawns

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Tochigi Perfecture Wagyu Ribcap A4 ($58++ per 100g, minimum 200g)
roasted ratte potatoes, vine cherry tomatoes, truffle beef jus

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Deconstructed Blackforest ($17++)
70% dark chocolate mousse, edible hazelnut soil, cherry coulis, caramel ice cream

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“Naphung” Honey and Thyme Crème Brulee Coconut Tart ($15++)
grapefruit segments, cranberry biscotti

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Our thanks to Chef Nixon for having us over!

Portico Prime
10 Dempsey Road, #01-20
6474 7427

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Merry Christmas everyone!!

Shall revive this blog with the most recent and impressive meal – our Xmas eve dinner at Portico! Like I mentioned on my Instagram, a dear friend asked how come I’m so boring to pick Portico again despite having been there so many times. My reply was that I didn’t want to be disappointed by any new restaurant on a special night! It’s no secret that we love Chef Nixon’s food (K is an even bigger fan than me) ever since his Petite Menu days so I know we can count on him to deliver. And omg he really fed us well! We had a food coma that night, no joke!

say hello to reindeer in a pan! because roasting turkey is so passé~

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One of the best things about dining at Portico is that Chef is aware of our likes and dislikes. We no longer need to order the soft shell crabs with salted egg yolk sauce since he already knows that’s one of our must-eats. This time, he also included miniature fish & chips – thinly battered and moist seabass fritters which went well with the heart-stopping sauce too!

soft shell crab, seabass fritters, salted egg yolk sauce, coffee soil

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The second platter of “snacks” can be summarized in one word – crispy! Especially interesting was the fried lemon sole skeleton, or “ti po” – the fried flat fish used to impart an intense and savoury-sweet flavour to Chinese-style soups. I can easily imagine this being served in a ‘nose to tail’ dining restaurant!

salmon skin, tomato mousse, ikura, lemon sole bone

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The artichoke soup with brown shaved truffles was inspired by the winter landscape when Chef was in Luxembourg for the Expogast Culinary World Cup 2014. Incredibly earthy and hearty, the toe-warming soup was made of pure artichoke goodness and no cream! Best soup we’ve had at Portico so far; this will be a tough one to supersede.

jerusalem artichoke soup, poached egg, shaved truffle, artichoke chips

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Oh ya, this is one of the starters for Portico’s 3-course Christmas menu, available till end of the festive week!

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The other choice of starter is the clean-tasting crustacean terrine made with prawns, scallops and mussels. The fried mini shrimps on the side were extremely addictive!

cold terrine of crustacean, tomato and dill tartare, marinated salmon trout roe, brown shrimps, pickled ginger cream cheese

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I’ve said it before and I’ll risk sounding like a broken record to say it again – best seats in the house are at the bar counter! That’s where you can order the bar tasting menu, served personally by Chef and the interaction made the whole dining experience so much more intimate and fun!

two talented chefs plating our next course!

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Love the salty torched smoked eel which contrasted very nicely with the light and refreshing lemon mash!

smoked eel, lemon mash potato, nashi pear soaked in lime

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K had a pretty dish – foie gras mousse with fruits on homemade toasted brioche and cranberry sorbet. The latter tasted like hawthorn berries (or 山楂, our childhood snack!) and its tangy flavour complemented the foie gras by cutting through the richness.

foie gras and fruits, brioche, cranberry sorbet

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I thought it was smart to present beef cheeks stuffed in foie gras (yes, foie gras again!) as a knob of butter on the steak! Tenderloin was cooked a perfect medium rare and K was super satisfied with it!

beef tenderloin, foie gras, banana shallot, celeriac puree, hazelnut crumb, brussel sprouts petals, truffle madiera sauce

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The neatly rolled lemon sole (remember the bones we had earlier? Same fish!) might be a tad too fishy to some but I thought it was still acceptable. Highlight for me was the blue swimmer crab croquette without any potato filler and the right amount of seasoning! I wish there will be a crab cake on the menu soon *hint hint*

lemon sole, crab croquette, lemon jam, caviar, onion puree, saffron braised turnip, sauvignon blanc sauce

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After all the savoury food, I was looking forward to desserts! First up was a palate cleanser – sweet mango sorbet made with alphonso mango and drizzled with fizzy soda. The lychee pearls actually tasted peachy after sitting in the pool of yuzu-infused soda!

mango sorbet, yuzu soda, lychee pop pearls

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Now, Portico’s take on the classic Mont Blanc is one of the best I’ve ever tried and I’ve been bugging them to put it permanently on the menu haha. I don’t fancy the traditional version as the amount of cream is plain ridiculous. But a parfait-like Mont Blanc that’s not too sweet and with a generous piping of chestnut puree? I approve wholeheartedly. Had this twice already and wonder when’s the third time!

chestnut vermicelli, tahitian vanilla bean parfait, cherry compote

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I was ready to surrender by then but hey, got to make some room for the last dessert right?

chocolate peanut butter tart, whiskey caramel, caramelized banana, coconut sorbet

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The gooey molten dark chocolate and peanut butter tart marked the end of our meal! The potent whiskey caramel sauce was dopeeee.

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Thank you to the Portico team for making our Christmas eve dinner so wonderful! Nixon of course; Charlene for the sweets; Gavin for the coffee; Leslie for the laughter; and everyone else for the professional and friendly service! From start to end, it was a faultless night. See you all soon!

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Portico Singapore
#01-10, 991B Alexandra Road
6276 7337

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So. Yesterday I mentioned that I’ve already decided on the restaurant to support (for the first time) during the upcoming Restaurant Week in October and ta-da, it’s none other than Portico! Main reason is because this relatively new all-day restaurant is now helmed by Chef Nixon who was previously from Petite Menu. Regular readers will know that I used to be the BIGGEST fan of Petite Menu so a visit to Portico for more of Chef Nixon’s food is obviously a must for me!

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The best seats to catch all the action in the house are definitely at the bar counter, where a bar tasting menu is served during dinner. The “omakase” menu (changes daily, customizable according to preferences) is reasonably priced at $70++ for 5 courses (additional courses available) and you will be personally served by the chef!

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Our tasting menu started with my all-time favourite snack – crispy soft shell crab! True, soft shell crab can be easily found elsewhere but one paired with a salted egg yolk dip? Only at Portico! The flavour was rich and intense but very refined too. Love it!

soft shell crab with salted egg yolk sauce (not on ala carte menu)

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Next, Chef Nixon served a duo of sea bass which firmly pushed the soft shell crab out of my mind! Super fresh fish because it was delivered straight from a fishery in Pulau Ubin to Portico’s doorstep within 2 hours of being caught.

grilled sea bass collar and smoked belly over japanese charcoal (not on ala carte menu)

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Beautifully grilled collar which can rival the hamachi (yellowtail) version commonly found in Japanese restaurants. Doesn’t need any seasoning at all!

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Whenever we eat together, my favourite question to K is: “is the food nice??” (sometimes I asked multiple times just to be an annoying brat haha) so of course I asked the same while he was silently devouring the smoked belly. His reply? “Almost swallowed my tongue!” Ya, that’s how good it was! #truestory

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I’ve tried several soups whipped up by Chef Nixon and this veloute of fish and fennel may be the best one so far. I wouldn’t have thought of the combination (well, I’m not a chef!!) but somehow, it works!

veloute of fish and fennel, homemade brioche, cocoa butter seared scallops, marinated ikura, light ginger foam (not on ala carte menu)

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On the way home, we discussed the dinner we had (another crazy SOP of mine – I like to do a “debrief” after our meal haha) and K was surprised that I like this so much because I’m not crazy over soups (liquid fills up the stomach, you know!) but what can I say, I really enjoyed it!

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Throughout our meal, I noticed that many tables ordered the kombu soba. The portion is generous enough to be a starter to share or for small eaters, it suffices as a healthy main course. And anything with truffle rocks haha.

kombu soba noodles, truffle and crispy brown shrimp ($19++ ala carte)

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If I have to rank all the dishes, the seafood risotto would be right at the bottom of my list. Too wet, mushy and way beyond al dente.

saffron seafood risotto, fresh mussels, grilled tiger prawns, green peas (not on ala carte menu)

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Honestly we’ve had better fish dishes from Chef Nixon before so in comparison, this pan-seared sea bass was kind of average. Too simple, perhaps?

pan-seared sea bass fillet, new potatoes, herbed beurre blanc and granny smith apple ($27++ ala carte)

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Highlight of the night for K was this plate of medium rare Spanish Iberico pork slices. Presa is considered to be the finest cut of the Iberian pig and despite how full we were at this point, K wiped the whole plate clean! A fine endorsement for this dish.

iberico presa, black garlic puree, pork jus (not on ala carte menu)

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I’m not a fan of fish and chips but guess what, I went from 3.5 to 10 on the enthusiasm scale once I had my first bite of it! So meaty and soft within the thin non-oily batter! And the crushed minty peas were refreshingly perfect; I could probably eat a bowl of it alone, no kidding.

fish and chips, crushed peas and fresh mint ($22++ ala carte)

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That’s not a typo, that’s really onion ice cream! Weird right? With fried shallots thrown in for texture too, double the weirdness! I have to admit that it was an acquired taste but I slowly grew to accept (won’t use the word “like”) it. The tart, on the other hand, was love at first sight. Unique presentation mimicking a lava cake! Best part was the lemon curd – smooth and sour with just a hint of sweetness.

tart aux citron and onion ice cream ($16++ ala carte)

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Two chefs working on our next (and last) dessert!

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To me, no meal prepared by Chef Nixon can end without his special deconstructed blackforest. I’ve loved it since last year and it’s still as wonderful as before – maybe even better because the caramel ice cream is made in-house this time. Dinner ended on this creamy, nutty, chocolaty note and I’m already badgering K to bring me back!

the blackforest with dark chocolate mousse, hazelnut soil, alcohol-soaked cherry coulis and caramel ice cream (not on ala carte menu)

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Thank you, Chef Nixon, for preparing such a delicious meal!

Portico Singapore
#01-10, 991B Alexandra Road
6276 7337

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