Why District 10? I thought District 12 would have been a better name to market itself. Y’know, where Katniss, Peeta and Gale are all from? Kidding.
With a recently (October 2013) revamped design, both on its interior and menu, diners are treated to a more elegant and elaborate dining experience.
The restaurant is compartmentalized into two distinct sections, the indoors and the outdoors. For a casual, wind down evening with bar bites, boozes and cocktails, you will be seated in the al fresco dining area. And then it’s like walking through a closet into the indoor area; you get a change of feel, with a more upmarket, a notch higher ambience, and a proper set up of table for a proper meal from the gourmet menu and the extensive wine list (housing more than 80 different wines).
The private dining room is up for hires. Very exquisite and sleek, it can sit a party of 12. What sets the private dining area apart is the corner of al fresco area that comes along with the air-conditioned main dining area. It is in view of the need for a smoke break, or a break in general, seeing that the profile of the restaurant is largely a business crowd.
I felt like a hero placing an order for Dragon Buster ($13++). The mixture of dragon fruit, green apple and Japanese cucumber was one of those really refreshing juices. It’s just what cucumbers in liquid form do to you, calm your nerves. It’s added fun with the seeds of dragon fruits. Don’t worry, it’s not sour. The biggest drawback for me is its steep price.
Don’t be fooled by its name, Kopi Singapura ($18++). It’s not as innocuous as it sounds! It’s packed full of whiskey, kahlua and frangelico hazelnut liqueur. I’m no alcohol-pro (because I really don’t drink), but I like the concoction quite a lot. It’s very potent (for me), but the hint of sweetness was helpful. It’s also cool drinking it like a kopi-peng. The D10 Punch ($34++) was much easier to drink, a very crowd-friendly sweet punch to be shared between 3 – 4 people; a blend of moscato wine, crème de cassi, dark rum, apples, strawberries, mixed berries and gingle ale. I’d order this for a not-so-hardcore alcohol fun.
Complimentary District 10 Homemade Bread :: One of the signature dishes brought over from Bonta, the award-winning Italian restaurant previously located at UE Square is this famed District 10 Homemade Bread – an initial inviting smell of freshly baked bread, followed by a peel off the softly crisp outer layer to unveil the chunks of feta cheese, walnuts and sundried tomatoes. Certainly did not disappoint, after hearing all the raves about it.
Appetizers :: Needless to say, I enjoyed the Pan-fried Goose Liver ($20++) the most. The accompanying wild berries sauce and balsamic syrup were needful to take occasional breaks from the richness and concentrated flavors of foie gras. But I ain’t complaining. The Burratina Cheese ($18++) that comes with peas, sundried tomato puree and extra virgin olive oil, and Wagyu Beef Carpaccio ($18++) with mustard dressing and sauteed wild mushrooms were reasonable. And because of the nature of the ingredients, I thought they were still justifiably priced.
On the other end of the spectrum sits the Green Asparagus ($18++) with fried sunny side up and sage butter. Not even factoring that I’m not a vegetable lover, I thought the taste doesn’t justify the highly-priced appetizer, as there was really nothing special or extraordinary.
Main Courses :: The Crispy Goose Leg Confit ($29++) (I’m sorry, it looks like we had a lot of differences in our previous lives, goose) was the main course that stood out for me. In comparison to Duck Leg Confit, this one was more solid and defined in its cut of meat. It was slightly drier too, but alright for me. Definitely more intense, good intense. Topped with fried egg and black truffle, Black Angus Beef Striploin ($36++) came a close second. The fries were exceptionally good with it deep-fried in goose fats (damn, goose!). The cut was done medium rare, with a good bite.
I’d say that the Foie Gras Ravioli ($34++) actually tasted really good with the light parmesan sauce and scamorza cheese. Though both cheeses aren’t the most dominant, when both together and in a sauce, it can be a case of cheese-overdose. I thought it was too heavy for a main course. Fortunately it’s available as an appetizer portion at $24++. The only main course I didn’t quite like was the Homemade Angel Hair Pasta with Lobster ($38++). The pasta itself was way too moist in texture that it kind of clumped together. It’s drenched in tomato sauce, topped with peperoncino, basil and tomatoes.
Desserts :: The District 10 Chocolate Sundae ($12++) was rather forgettable, though the addition of roasted nuts lent a punch to the otherwise ordinary sundae. Warm Lava Chocolate Cake ($14++) was average at best, nothing to yell about. It comes with a scoop of vanilla ice cream too. Warm Apple Crumble ($14++) was the best of the three, a good evenness of sweetness, crustiness, warmness and coldness.
When the items at District 10 Bar & Restaurant hit the nail, they really do, and they do it in a way that is worth your notes of cash. It’s a restaurant serving reasonable Italian fare, formality somewhere in the middle, so a place to impress your dining partner but not in a over-the-top manner.
What’s worth paying for:
Pan-fried Goose Liver.
Black Angus Beef Striploin.
Crispy Goose Leg Confit.
Special gratitude to Shasha, Cyndiana and the FoodNews team, and the District 10 Bar & Restaurant team for the hospitality and hosting the media tasting event.
Address (In Context): 81 Clemenceau Avenue, #01-15/16/17 UE Square Shopping Mall
Telephone: 6738 4788 (Takes Reservations)
Opening Hours: 11.30am – 11pm (Mon – Thurs); 11.30am – 1am (Fri); 11am – 1am (Sat); 11am – 11pm (Sun)