At the time of writing, we’ve been in Singapore for about 3 weeks now but with the hustle and bustle of moving house, we haven’t really been checking out places to eat. However, my parents decided to drop down to see how we’re getting along and since that weekend was close enough to my mum’s birthday, we figured we had to go somewhere nice to celebrate.
For occassions like this, and since we’re both quite clueless about restaurant choices here, cue the internet which supplied http://www.singaporefinedining.com/. Conveniently, my good friend was with me at the time and blurted out that he had a good experience in Otto before. Located near Tanjung Pagar MRT station in the Red Dot Traffic Building, Otto’s interior was smartly modern. The table was quite brightly lit but still seemed better suited for the romantic date or business meal rather than a family dinner.
The waiters were quite happy for us to mix and match degustation with ala carte dishes (unlike most places in London, where the whole table has to choose one or the other) so 2 of us took the Degustation Menu at $88++ while 3 of us sensibly plumped for the more interesting sounding Gourmet Menu ($128++).
Before we finished choosing our food though, some bread was provided. There were 5 types available: cranberry (mum loved this), olive (I thought it was a bit dense), onion (also dense), plain (why eat plain when you can get theoretically yummier ones?).
The amuse-bouche was slices of roast beef with some sort of creamy sauce I can’t recall specifically. It wasn’t particularly memorable and I think a little bit more tang to the sauce would do better as a palate-starter.
“Wagyu beef carpaccio with mushroom and parmesan cheese salad”. We were all pleasantly surprised by the sheer volume of food on the plate as degustation menus tend to be quite miniscule sometimes. This is a salad I can really enjoy as the beef was plentiful but tender and juicy enough to enjoy while the mushrooms and parmesan add extra flavours. I would have preferred more olive oil over the carpaccio or even some shaved truffles for extra aroma but perhaps that’s asking for too much.
“Tuna carpaccio with tuna sauce on vine jelly tomato and arugula”. As opposed to the beef carpaccio, this tuna version is much more delicate, perhaps so as to not overpower the milder tuna flavour. I quite enjoyed this although the tomato jelly was quite non-existential.
“Lightly smoked crustacean soup with prawn dumpling”. The crustacean soup seemed very similar to a bisque, but with less of the bitterness I normally associate with a bisque and perhaps less creaminess as well. Nonetheless, it was very rich and flavourful. There wasn’t a dumpling within the bowl either, just a handful of diced prawns at the bottom of the bowl which I preferred as there was less starch.
“Pan roasted Foie Gras with grilled pineapple and Vincotta”. The foie gras was heavenly and of really high quality with none of the pate-like texture I sometimes find in other restaurants. It was literally melt-in-your-mouth. Partnering it with the pineapple was new but it seemed to work well as the pineapple was a little sweet and a little tart at the same time, flavours which work best with the nice foie gras.
“Homemade cinnamon quadrotti pasta with hunter style venison sauce”. We experienced a new pasta type, the quadrotti. Basically it was a square piece of pasta, similar to the lasagna sheets. The pasta were beautifully al dente and the very slight cinnamon aroma from the pasta itself seemed to complement the strong and masculine venison quite well.
“Homemade Dutch veal ravioli with sage and truffle emulsion”. The ravioli was also perfectly al dente and while the veal filling was tasty, the consistency was strangely more like a cheese than meat. The gravy was top-notch, even if I didn’t truly notice a truffle aroma about the dish. My only criticism is a lack of a textural element to the dish.
“Atlantic cod ‘Tagliata’ with ‘Taggia’ black olives crust served with sweet garlic sauce”. For this course there is a choice between cod of beef. The cod remained fairly juicy but the crusting was so flaky it didn’t make for a pleasant dish. My dad chose the beef so I had a couple of bites and it felt like the better choice although it was quite simple.
“Seared langoustine with ‘Allegrini’ lake Garda olive oil and parsley”. This was an extra course on the Gourmet menu when compared to the Degustation menu. The little langoustines were imported from New Zealand and was the sweetest crustaceans we’ve ever sampled. Chef Michele Pavanello explained that he chose an olive oil that was fruitier and less acidic to pair with the langoustine to further bring out the sweetness.
“Crispy suckling pig lacquered with ‘black locust’ tree honey and aged balsamic vinegar”. One of the signature dishes, this did not disappoint. The pork was succulent and tender while the skin was thin and crunchingly crispy. This was definitely more similar to the Chinese style suckling pig than a western roast pork but the usage of balsamic vinegar instead of the hoi sin sauce was a great move as the latter is rather overpowering.
“Hazelnut parfait with crispy biscuit and Frangelica sauce”. I’m not sure of the exact difference between a parfait and an ice cream, but it did feel subtly different; it was light, a bit too smooth and creamy perhaps. It wasn’t very obvious that it was hazelnut either and we all thought it was coffee flavoured for a while.
“Warm chocolate cake with Haitian vanilla ice cream”. A chocolate fondant is always a popular choice and I think its fair to say that we all preferred this dessert course. The molten chocolate filling was very rich and the cake itself was quite dense too, just the way I like it. The vanilla ice cream had a slightly odd aftertaste though.
Altogether, the bill came up to $750 for 2 Degustation and 3 Gourmet menus as well as a $80 bottle of rose wine. Service throughout was excellent with friendly, helpful and attentive staff. I told Otto that this dinner was for my mum’s birthday and they kindly threw in a complimentary mini-cake.
Overall, the quality of food sampled on two of the tasting menus proved to be of quite high quality. Chef Michele Pavanello explained that his style was to use quality ingredients without over-elaborating, which sounded quite similar to what most Italian chefs tend to say. Suffice to say, his style has worked very well and I certainly wouldn’t mind dining there again, maybe to take advantage of the lunch deal at $35.
Best bit: the langoustines, really simple but bursting with the crustacean sweetness.
Worst bit: the cod was pretty dismal, didn’t particularly enjoy any aspect of it.
28, Maxwell Road, #01-02
Red Dot Traffic Building
Tel: +65 62276819