Angela May Food Chapters is the kick-off of Deliciae Hospitality Management's attempt at breaking into the Orchard Road market after a heyday in Duxton. To do this, the group has tipped American-Thai TV host and Le Cordon Bleu Sydney alum Angela May to breathe her green and herby vision into a perch above the sidewalks of Robinsons at The Heeren.
In this corner spot sectioned off from high street fashion, the space never quite harnesses the breezy, sun-washed urban farm potential of its wide windows. Instead, Deliciae’s chosen to pack tables close together in an echoey room, next to macaron-shaped coffee tables, mini-armchairs for bags too dainty to touch the ground, and two futuristic hydroponic pods that wear vibrant stalks of kale, sage and rosemary. Interestingly, the restaurant switches on a special set of lights to ensure they continue to thrive overnight.
The all-day à la carte menu is flash fiction with a cagey plot – not to mention confusing. Do we order apps-mains-dessert, or will we be full just getting a salad? The answer to the latter is no. The bowl of cold green scallion noodles ($18) is a pantry-raid dish with limp shiitake slices and pickled cucumbers – the flavours never once meet in a happy place. The recommended sugar snap pea salad ($22) is a grassy and bland forkful, while the smoky Josper-fired prawns ($26) don’t match a mouth-drying bowl of jicama, sesame dressing and baby radishes. The green revolution in restaurants has taken us to new levels of appreciation for a well-composed plate of vegetables. So maybe we're too spoiled to stand for raw food with thinly veiled detox undertones.
Away from vegetable territory, the cooking is passable. A curried prawn ($29, $42 for lobster claws) roll is more rounded Thai red than fragrant laksa, and two red mullet fillets ($32) with shavings of chewy coconut kernel whisper a weak suggestion of tom yum. A barley risotto with the pong of Chinese good-for-you herbs arrives inexplicably as a side for the fish dish. But the fear of seasoning demonstrated in the earlier dishes is abandoned in a soya-caramel hunk of paled Kurobuta pork collar ($39), plated with palate-ruining, spearmint.
Most of the occasional passers-by merely pop in to survey the dessert case up in front. And at least May's a whiz with sugar and flour. A dulce de leche-filled choux ($3.90) is both pretty and not-too-cloying, and her Valrhona and rosemary cookies, part of the cookie plate ($7), is worth bagging home. Sweets dominate high tea ($39), which is served daily from 2 to 5pm, and breakfast standards ($6-$22) are also served daily. But when prices of a meal here (minus drinks, mind you) add up to rival a night out at one of the more stellar casual restaurants in town, perhaps the desserts are all you should limit your exposure of Food Chapters to for now.
Time Out Singapore reviews anonymously and pays for all meals. Read our restaurant review policy here.
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