NCR settles inconspicuously within the rows of shops along North Canal Road. With simple white walls and tinted windows, the restaurant blends in and looks like an office building.
Little did we know that behind the heavy metal door and the minimalistic building sits a restaurant-bar that serves up artistically plated delicacies.
The name NCR came from the initials of the restaurant’s address: 35 North Canal Road. Adding to the mystery, the door is only accessible at the side of the restaurant.
NCR serves beautifully curated dishes that whets not just your appetite but your visual senses too. Local Chef Darwin Wang has created a menu titled Butter that includes 15 of his intricately curated dishes.
Emphasising on the many uses of butter in cooking, the menu reflects his journey in the culinary arts. He aims to convey his emotions and experience through these beautiful dishes.
We stepped into a night of gastronomic adventure, starting with the Catch Carpaccio (S$18++). The freshly sliced tuna and salmon came with homemade dressing and black tobiko atop a bed of dashi radish. The bright red coral twill made the dish even more visually appealing.
Chef Darwin chose to pair the savoury black tobiko with sweet slices of sashimi-grade fish, making the dish refreshing yet flavourful. In addition, the coral twill added crunch and texture to the softer components of the dish. I recommend this as it’s a really good appetiser to open up your appetite.
One of my favourite appetisers has got to be the Pork Tea (S$12++). Three delicate tortellini pieces rested within a brown crockery, with edible flora. The dish is served with a pot of pork broth on the side.
Within this intricately designed and prepared dish, the odd pieces of each ingredient complemented each other well. As I poured in the broth, I noticed a buttery layer yet when I took a sip, it wasn’t oily at all. The broth, in fact, had a creamy and peppery body, which added a nutty taste to the tortellini.
Instead of using pasta dough, Chef Darwin wrapped the tortellini with wonton skin to give the dish a local twist while using European cooking techniques.
The presentation of the Pork Tea was closer to a European style, yet the Asian spices used within the broth and tortellini were prominent on the palate.
Six Tomato (S$12++) is another interesting appetiser that we tried at NCR. Chef Darwin utilises six cooking techniques to produce this beautiful dish. A combination of tomatoes and cherry tomatoes came in different forms: grilled, caramelised, sun-dried, confit, foamed, and dehydrated chips.
What impressed me was how he could create such a complex dish with one main ingredient. Drizzled in olive oil and accompanied with a crispy cheese twill, the tomatoes had a whole hodgepodge of texture. Although I’m not a fan of tomatoes, the sweet juiciness got me reaching in for a few more bites.
If you’re not impressed enough by the appetisers, NCR has amazing mains too. The Trio Of Prawn (S$28++) was named for the combination of prawns, and is a light dish that packed lots of flavours.
The XO emulsion sauce got its umami taste from the hae bee (tiny shrimps commonly used in local cuisine). In addition, there was also a generous amount of Kawa Ebi softshell prawns atop the well-tossed capellini.
With my first mouthful, I could taste a subtle sweetness, followed by a burst of oceanic flavours from the seafood. It was a good choice to use capellini, as the briny flavours of the shrimps were infused in the pasta, adding a hint of savoury flavour.
The Buttered Up Catch (S$26++) would definitely be the star dish of NCR for me. It uses only seasonal fishes to ensure the quality and freshness of the dish. When we visited, we had the French Sea-Bass over Lime Potato Risotto. Chef Darwin opted for a potato risotto as he wanted a refreshing crisp taste to contrast with the fish.
The tender sea-bass melted easily in my mouth, and it came with a crunchy butter sauce filled with capers and croutons. This fish had a sweet and tangy punch to it that would keep you going back for more. I would recommend having this as a main for sure!
NCR will take your taste buds on a gastronomical journey with their intricately curated European dishes with an Asian twist. So if you’re ever up for an adventurous meal, head over to NCR at North Canal Road!
Expected Damage: S$30 – S$60 per pax
Price: $ $
Our Rating: 4 / 5
35 North Canal Road, Singapore 059291
35 North Canal Road, Singapore 059291