Last Updated: September 30, 2016
A new addition along Alexandra Road, Portico presents a unique concept of home-dining serving, innovative Western and European style cuisines. This restaurant can be a bit hard to find, hidden amongst offices and warehouses. Not a place you would walk-by definitely. Portico, meaning ‘porch’ in Italian has a main dining room, of course an alfresco bar and lounge area surrounded by rows of potted gardens of edible herbs and plants.
The grounds of Portico portray a laid-back and carefree vibe, leaving the guests comfortable and at ease.
The interior is industrial yet chic, and somewhat casual.
Portico also provides a bar tasting menu during dinner, which starts at $70++ for a 5 course meal. Limited to only 12 seats. Served and arranged personally by Executive Chef Leandros Stagogiannis, the menu changes everyday and can be tailor-made according to the guests’ preferences. I would definitely recommend this option for a more interactive and customized dinner.
Soft Shell Crab and Fried Herb-crusted Chicken Wings ($21). A decent appetizer with a light yet complex sauce made with tomato, ginger, garlic, chilli and coriander. Not amazing, but simple bar food.
Miso Broth with Wakame, Spring Onion, Bonito Flakes and Sesame Oil. Only available at bar tasting. The rich fish stock boiled from fish bones, with sliced sea bass sashimi sprinkled with kombu, bonito flakes and fresh flowers plucked from their garden outside.
Aesthetically pleasing and also delectable. Freshness of the seabass is assured as their fish supply is freshly caught from a small fishery in Pulau Ubin and delivered to Portico daily within 2 hours. Chef excitedly exclaims that there is no fresher fish in any other restaurant than Portico.
Foie Gras Parfait, Beetroot Apple Puree and Fresh Coffee. Only available at the bar tasting. The creamy foie gras paste in Chef Lea’s words, has a ‘earthy tone’ which pairs well with ground coffee and homemade brioche that was left to stale for two days for a firmer quality. The sweet and savory contrast with varying textures on the palate, I must say, this rustic dish is an ingenious creation.
Kombu Soba Noodles, Truffle and Crispy Brown Shrimp ($19). This of course isn’t the portion of the full meal- just a tasting sample. The noodles itself are very fragrant and flavorful. A rather mild truffle taste, the deep fried shrimps are so crisp that you might want to chew carefully, for some reason the sharp ends jabbed the roof of my mouth cavity.
Pan-seared Sea Bass Fillet with Roasted Potatoes, Herbed Beurre Blanc and Granny Smith Apples ($27). Fresh Sea Bass with a lovely concoction of buttery creamy sauce, roasted onions and potatoes. Small pearls of green apples added the extra citrus crunch to this savory creation.
The Portico Burger ($23). A 28% fat, pure beef patty seared medium rare, drizzled in homemade barbeque and tomato sauce. Higher fat percent is used for more tenderness in the patty. Topped with sun-dried tomatoes, grilled bacon slices, cheese – all these sinful goodness stacked between homemade brioche bun.
The pickled beetroot and burger was such a pleasant combination I ended up skipping the fries. Chef Leandros has spent a great deal of time developing this burger, concentrating not only on the patty composition, but the homemade focaccia bun as well.
Not the biggest burgers in terms of size, but I think the size was just right for Asian appetites. Well perfected burger indeed.
Red Wine Braised Wagyu Beef Cheek and Bourguignon Sauce ($28). A classic French dish, marinated in red wine for twelve hours getting rid of any gaminess attaining this remarkable strong robust flavor. The Irish style pomme puree is so rich and decadent, topped with pearl onions, and sweet snow pear for that extra texture. Definitely a must try rendition at Portico.
Manjari H20 Ganache and Sweet Corn Sorbet, Roasted Hazelnuts and Cashew Praline ($18). Ganache made without cream – only Valrhona Manjari chocolate and water, gives a concentrated chocolatey flavor with dashes of fresh fruits, nuts and homemade sweet corn sorbet. The hazelnuts also add a salty dimension. Every mouthful is filled with varying degrees of textures and flavors, what a multi-layered and complex dessert.
The lush greenery around the alfreso area not only adds to the aesthetics, but also doubles up as a herb garden to supplement the kitchen.
They have even made an effort to grow vines to cover the urban carpark scenery.Portico’s chef Leandros grows all sorts of herbs and spices around the restaurant, like mint, coriander, basil and even lemons! These seasonal produce are then used exclusively in the custom bar tasting menu dishes. You can be assured of the local and fresh flavours.
Portico has also invested heavily in making excellent coffee, with this coffee machine apparently costing €40,000.I really appreciate Portico for their vibrant display of textural contrasts and tastes, and their team whom are passionate in what they do, believing in giving their guests one of a kind experiences.