Not only is the restaurant not very accessible, you would very possibly miss the restaurant even walking down Mayo Street itself. However, if you manage to find yourself nestled in this pretty quaint restaurant, you would be quite comfortable in it. Do make a reservation in advance, best be a week before. Because they have a system such that they’d save the seats for even an 8.30pm o-clock reservation. I experienced that. I was there at 6.30pm, and was put at a bar counter, being told that the other tables have all been reserved. But by the end of my meal at 8pm, there were still at least two tables completely vacant. We could have sat there, and not the bar counter. So I was not very pleased with that policy.
Their concept is such that food are served in literally, morsels. The menu is designed such that (a) you and your friends get to dine, communal style, (b) their items are of small portions, so you can order multiple dishes and get to have a go at each, and (c) that the usual formality of appetizer, main course and dessert isn’t followed here – the food are not categorized. So an appetizer can be slotted into two main courses and the likes. If you are adventurous, it can be fun. But for me, I’m not comfortable with it, because hey, how do I know which is an appetizer and which is a main course (because that would roughly spell out the portion served and how filled I will be with that order).
Pork Belly Skewers ($14++) :: The price can be steep for this, but I do not mind, because it is exceptionally delectable. The pork belly are firm yet tender, making every bite a quantifiable one. The sauce complements the perfectly-marinated meat. It was salty, but not overdone. Its sweet shoyu sauce balances the saltiness. Every part of the dish was executed flawlessly.
Steamed Clams ($22++) :: Again. Steep steep price for a small bowl of clams. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge clams lover. But this certainly did not match up to the price paid. The clams were not meaty enough for me. Granted, the liquid that comes with it is quite the addictive, and quite uniquely tasting with kim-chee as one of its ingredients. It just fell short of magical for me.
Firecracker Pork Pasta ($14++) :: Drizzled in habanero sauce and topped with a scoop of sour cream, the conchiglie pasta with firecracker pork is once again, not something you get every where else. I know the first question when you get the bowl is, ‘should I mix it?’ My first few mouths of the dish was it as it is – my freedom of the amount of pasta and sour cream. Then, I decided it should remain that way. I foresee that mixing it all up would make the sour cream taste too overpowering, thus spoiling the course. Of course, it’s at your liberty. I thought the pasta tasted pretty alright, though again, nothing to yell about.
Grilled Octopus Risotto ($25++) :: After much hype revolving around this, it was much to my letdown that I did not enjoy this as much as many others did. I am counting on that I was just unlucky. Because my highly and eagerly anticipated grilled octopus was (a) burnt on the sides, and (b) not well-marinated. I like my octopus to be taste slightly elastic and springy. However, the restaurant’s rendition was such that I could sink my teeth through in entirety on the first bite. The squid ink risotto wasn’t as bad though, at least. It was on the sticky side, but paired well with the salted egg sauce.
Service was lukewarm. And as aforementioned, I’m not a fan of their reservation policy and management of tables. Ambience and food was unique, though unfortunately, not enough to draw me back.
Address: 35 Mayo Street
Telephone: 9027 5139
Opening Hours: 6pm – 10pm (Tue – Sat); Closed on Sundays & Mondays.