food

LINO Restaurant and Café, Orchard Rd: The Pancetta will speak to carb-lovers

Last Updated: November 25, 2021

Written by Wani

Making a classy splash on the café scene in Singapore is LINO’s latest Forum outpost, LINO Restaurant and Café. Walking into Forum the Shopping Mall invited flashbacks of when I’d hound my parents to allow me to peruse the aisles of TOYS ‘R’ US as a child, even when I knew they’d never buy me anything.

Today, I return to the mall in the name of work and sussing out LINO’s second home, in hopes of giving myself an inspired reason to make a comeback to this part of Orchard Road in my adult years.

LINO Cafe Forum

Credit – LINO Restaurant and Café

The menu here shares similarities with their Binjai Park crib, but there are a few choice dishes that are outlet-exclusive to the FORUM nest.

What I tried

Lino Cafe Octopus

There’s nary a seafood quite as temperamental as Octopus (S$34). This one’s char-grilled, on a bed of Palermo sweet peppers, garlic, capers, and parsley—allowing me to assess the fork-tenderness of the octopus leg without too many distractions. Fortunately for me, the leg gives away with just enough pushback to keep it plump and bouncy.

The peppers’ sweetness brings forth the ocean sweetness as well, making this a worthy, albeit pricey, appetiser.

Lino Cafe Smoked Salmon Trout

Perhaps there have been times when you’ve confused trout with salmon, and the name Smoked Salmon Trout (S$22) doesn’t do any favours in distinguishing the two. However, I am here for the taste and experience, so I shall brush the muddled expression aside to focus on what’s most important.

There’s little to fault on these beautifully fatty bright orange slivers, coupled with accents of smoked applewood. I acknowledge and commend the presence of peppery yuzu dressing for showing up because it plays just the right amount of acidity and zing to lift an otherwise unexciting dish.

pancetta pizza

Love your carbs? Then, the Pancetta (S$28) will speak to you—in the love language of potato and dough. It’s a packed pie oozing Swiss smoked farmer raw bacon, white sandy egg, duck fat potato, basil pesto, fior di latte, and an abundance of parmesan shavings. It truly is a meal in itself, but I do recommend sharing if your game plan at LINO Restaurant and Café is to order a bunch of dishes to try.

Break the runny yolk and smear it all around for the full effect of this moreish dish. It’s a seasoning-forward pizza, with flavours that’ll hit you with brazen gusto.

pan-fried veal escalope

As veal isn’t commonplace on a menu, I was lured to order the Pan-fried Veal Escalope (S$44). My faith in this dish couldn’t have crashed harder as I only mustered two or three forkfuls before I shoved the entire plate aside in anticipation of dessert.

The mushroom marsala barely made a dent on my palate, as did the insipid Dutch veal loin. Considering the financial sacrifice one has to make in the pursuit of trying something novel on the menu, it’s an ‘esca-NOPE‘ for me.

Bomboloni

Swooping in to save the meal was Bomboloni (S$12 for two), a pair of stuffed doughnuts with hazelnut cremé and feuilletine. While I wish the Bomboloni could be larger, the heady marriage of hazelnut cremé and crunchy feuilletine was enough to ignore my concern for its diminutive size. Just a warning: you really wouldn’t want to share this with anyone.

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Final thoughts

While the Pan-fried Veal Escalope was a letdown, everything else proved to me that LINO Restaurant and Café still has what it takes to pull in a certain crowd. But the bigger question is: who is said crowd? For the locale and labelling one’s self as a ‘café’, the menu prices seem more prohibitive than inviting. I cannot argue against the quality of the food here, but there’s a clear gap in understanding as to how LINO Restaurant and Café positions itself when it comes to consumers’ spending power.

With that said, it’ll be hard for me to justify a return, let alone a recommendation to others, but if you’re curious enough to give this new place a whirl, I say go for it.

Expected damage: S$40 – S$70 per pax

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Price: $ $ $

Our Rating: 3 / 5

LINO Restaurant and Café

583 Orchard Road, Forum The Shopping Mall, #01-01/04, Singapore 238884

Price
Our Rating 3/5

LINO Restaurant and Café

583 Orchard Road, Forum The Shopping Mall, #01-01/04, Singapore 238884

Operating Hours: 11.30am - 2.30pm & 6pm - 9.30pm (Daily)

Operating Hours: 11.30am - 2.30pm & 6pm - 9.30pm (Daily)
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