If Hong Kong street’s FOC is the insouciant hipster of the family, consider PIM PAM the friendlier, more eager-to-please sibling. The latest off-shoot of the CBD restaurant seats hundreds, is right on Orchard Road and swaps the buzzy open kitchen vibe of the flagship for a fast-casual, all-day dining format. But that doesn’t mean the food suffers.
The self-styled ‘gastro-bodega’ takes the modern Catalan slant of the original and condenses it down to dishes that are more familiar (and affordable) to the local palate – read: less tweezer-tweaked food and more hearty plates for sharing. The Iberico pork presa ($30) is a thing of beauty. A sliced slab of meaty heaven, cooked pink and served with black garlic purée, is robust and punches hard with gamey porcine flavours. But a special of beef shortrib ($28) is too stodgy, one-note and gelatinous.
Of course, there’s tapas. The croquetas ($2-$2.50) – take your pick from jamon, mushroom, crab, and spinach and pine nuts – curiously arrive as spheres, and you won’t stop at just one. Save room for the pork and cuttlefish meatballs ($12), too. They’re luscious, smothered in an earthy gravy and downright delicious.
There’s a section of the menu carved out just for sandwiches ($10-$18), but the housemade loaves leave a lot to be desired – a cracking crust and insides that don’t have the texture of sponge cake among them.
With Dario Knox as the mastermind behind the bottled cocktails on the menu, expectations are high. Yet while my Sherry Old Fashioned ($21) is a serviceable effort, it has none of the complexity and nuance of a tipple shaken up by Knox himself. And that pretty much sums up PIM PAM: its spirit is strong, but its flesh weak.
Time Out Singapore reviews anonymously and pays for all meals. Read our restaurant review policy here.
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