It’s no mean feat what the folks at Portico have achieved: they put out modern European food that’s both comforting and exciting. Big-haired chef Leandros Stagogiannis clearly knows his stuff, having honed his culinary chops at The Fat Duck in the UK and local fine-dining destinations like FiftyThree and Saint Pierre. At this homey new restaurant, he continues to offer novel yet effective flavour combinations without flashy techniques or overly fussy plating.
The rustic food is just right for the laidback location by Labrador Park. Lots of warm wood furnishings and plenty of natural light make the space immediately inviting, and they’ve got a lovely green garden too (where they grow fresh herbs).
Don’t miss the fork tender red wine-braised wagyu beef cheek ($27) with an ultra-smooth mash. They’ve actually improved on the classic, including spheres of sweet nashi pear and bright pickled onions, which add delicious crunch. Another standout is the deceptively simple fish and chips ($19). Not only is the Pulau Ubin-caught sea bass fresh as can be, it’s encased in crisp beer batter, fried to a deep nut brown so it’s caramelised and complex (with a taste reminiscent of dark spice). For dessert, go for the tart aux citron and onion ice cream ($14). There’s no gimmick here; the zingy lemon really does go great with the sugary onion.
Though the drinks are pretty basic – think cheery cocktails like the tequila sunrise ($14), which you can also get sans booze with their orange sunrise ($10) – it’s hard to complain. They don’t compete with the stellar food. Combining intensely craveable plates, a relaxed vibe and smiley yet efficient staff, Portico deserves many return visits. Head over for morning coffee, a nice work lunch – it’s packed midday with folks from the nearby offices – or even date night. It’s the perfect go-to resto.
991B Alexandra Road
|Opening hours:||Mon-Fri 8am-11.30pm; Sat 11am-11.30pm|
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