Porta Fine Food & Import Company at Park Hotel Clarke Quay has recently revamped its menu with a stronger focus on European and Mediterranean dishes, combining fresh produce sourced both globally and locally. With the belief that appetisers are keys to paving the way for a good meal forward, Porta’s Executive Chef Alex Phan has panned out new appetisers that offer light and refreshing flavours to whet your appetites.
Grilled Summer Vegetables with Hummus 3.8/5
The revamped menu sees more vegetarian options too. One of which is Grilled Summer Vegetables with Hummus ($14), that drawn me in with its bright and zesty flavours. The grilled vegetables provide great textures to the smooth and creamy hummus. In fact, I find this a sumptuous brunch item to be served with a couple of sourdough toasts.
Chicken and Egg 3.5/5
Chicken and Egg ($14) is an adorable appetiser that plays on the chicken or egg notion. What comes in sight first is the ajitsuke tamago, brightly tainted with Beetroot juice which sits on a nest of crunchy vegetables such as white and purple cabbage, white onions, edamame and corn. The chicken which is nowhere in sight, is embedded beneath as grilled soy-marinated chicken thigh. Again, similar to the above, this dish is packed with bright notes and textural contrasting elements that will set your jaw exercising.
Spicy Salmon Tartare 4.5/5
Chef Alex first plates the dishes in his mind in a 3-D manner which is the most evident in this Spicy Salmon Tartare ($16), featuring a mixture of diced salmon and crystal pear marinated in sugar cane vinegar. Chef Alex's previous tuna tartare didn't quite impress but this piquant and spicy dish is crave-worthy. The dollops of sriracha mayonnaise mellowed its acidity, and the sprinkles of white sesame snow imparted savoury notes, giving it a more rounded flavour. But this dish wouldn't be completed without the crispy crackers of deep-fried rice paper sandwiched with nori, which left a lingering aroma in my mouth at each bite.
Confit Lamb Pastilla 4/5
If you already have a tipple in your hand, Confit Lamb Pastilla ($14) would be perfect to start your meal with. Wrapped in Feuilles de Brick, the morsels of Australian lamb shank was rich in its own flavours and spices but not too gamey. A small but laborious dish - the Australian lamb shank is marinated in salt and pepper then sous vide for 12 hours before being deboned and shredded, then marinated in porcini powder, onions, garlic, and cumin. As the meat's natural gelatin cools down in the fridge, it solidifies and binds the meat together before it is wrapped in the pastry. A rather long process but the result is all worth it.
Duck Ragout 3/5
I notice that Chef Alex tends to sous vide his items, while some work, like the Confit Lam Pastilla but some don't, such as the new version of Duck Ragout ($24). The original version had the Pappardelle served in minced duck meat but the flavours of the duck didn't quite stand out. Hence we have this shredded duck meat version, served with parmesan sauce and herbs. Before being shredded, the duck leg is first brined with salt, sugar and spices then sous vide for 12 hours with olive oil. While half expecting a sauce rich with duck fats and flavours, the pieces of shredded meat were rather dry and bland. The tomato based sauce was enjoyable though.
Roast Chicken Leg 4/5
Roast Chicken Leg ($24) with red wine sauce is a French confit inspired dish, cooked using similar method that involves sous vide cooked in olive oil for 12 hours, then shallow-fried to attain a crisp exterior akin to a duck confit. Thankfully, the sous vide method works, resulting in a succulent and juicy chicken leg with a decadent crisp skin. Yes, the best part is that remaining fats underneath the golden brown skin! I love the Lyonnaise potatoes that were soft and fluffy with a crisp exterior too.
Pork Belly 2.5/5
The 12 hours Sous vide cook method didn't manage to break down the stubborn fats of the Pork Belly ($26), which would otherwise be a crowd pleasing dish. But even so, personally I feel a pork belly should be presented in some other ways other than just the entire slab right in my face. The sweet-savoury mash of potato with grilled pineapple purée was superb but was letdown by its main counterpart.
Finally, a dish not sous vide is Barramundi ($24), oven-grilled then seared for crispy skin, served with ratatouille with charred mussels. For its tender meat and the crisp skin, I could forgive the amount of salt that landed on the fish skin, perhaps accidentally. My favourite part was actually the ratatouille, which was spicy and piquant. The charred mussels didn't quite come into play in this dish.
Breakfast Burg 3/5
Porta's Brunch menu is certainly much more exciting this time round. Breakfast Burg ($18) is a vegetarian burger with roasted whole Portobello mushroom layered with sautéed baby spinach leaves, a thick slice of tomato, and a sunny-side up egg. The star could well be the sunny-side up, which had a tasty charred bottom and a runny yolk, and so yummy with the fluffy brioche buns that were as good on its own after being butter-toasted so thoroughly. The mushroom was a tad too tiny though.
French Toast 3.5/5
What makes the thick brioche French Toast ($16) less ordinary is the layer of caster sugar on top that has been blow-torched to caramelise and cool, and there you have a surface akin to creme brûlée. Topped with tart summer berries and vanilla ice cream, it is a great leap from what I had previously but a bigger scoop of ice cream and a cream tower will make it even more picture and taste perfect.
Spiced Apple Tarte Tatin 4/5
Not all desserts are meant to be shared! Such as this Spiced Apple Tarte Tatin ($14), garnished with buttery salted crumble with bacon bits. The stewed slices of Granny Smith apples were sweet and tart, and the Rum and Raisin ice cream bind the elements together in harmony.
Key Lime Meringue 2.5
Black Forest 3/5
The Key Lime Meringue ($14) was a good effort but I couldn't quite appreciate its taste. Whereas the more familiar Black Forest ($14) was more pleasing with its rich and dark chocolate lava. A simple vanilla ice cream, however, would have been more complimentary than whipped coconut cream where are meant to make the dessert less heavy. Well, I guess some classic pairings still work the best.
Words and photos by Si An. A girl who is allured by travelling, loves the feel of freedom, smell of the rain and the aroma of fine coffee and food. Note: This is an invited tasting.
Porta Fine Food & Import Company
Park Hotel Clarke Quay
1 Unity Street
Tel: +65 65938888
Nearest MRT: Clarke Quay (NE Line), Fort Canning (DT Line)
Daily: 11am - 1030pm
1) Alight At Fort Canning MRT station. Take Exit A. Turn left and walk to junction of River Valley Road and Clemenceau Ave. Cross the road and turn left onto Clemenceau Ave. Walk down Clemenceau Ave. Turn right onto Unity Street. Walk to destination. Journey time about 5 minutes. [Map]
2) Alight at Clarke Quay MRT station. Take Exit E. Walk to bus stop at Clark Quay Station (Stop ID 04222). Take bus number 54. Alight 3 stops later. Walk to the end UE Square Shopping Mall. Journey time about 8 minutes. [Map]