[Updated] Portico Prime had a revamp of the team, along with most of the kitchen team. Many of the items featured here, such as the Afternoon Tea, are no longer available. Readers may want to do some thorough research before planning for a meal there.
[Original Entry] Once in a while, I like to take my mind off the buzz of the city, and dine somewhere spacious and chic. Somewhat like being on holiday within your own country.
Portico Prime is newly opened at Dempsey (near the foundation at Block 10), serving robust modern European dishes with some localised flavours.
The interior is like a cosy house of a very rich family – tall ceilings, extremely spacious, industrial chic (which actually reminded me of Eleven Madison Park at New York City), with options of dining by the open chef’s table, private rooms, or alfresco dining which is great during cooling weather conditions.
Portico Brunch (Available 9am – 3pm, Last order 2pm, Sat – Sun)
Portico has introduced a brand new brunch menu available during the weekends.
(Click PLAY for video of Croque Madame)
My recommendation would be the Croque Madame ($19) – an indulgence brunch item of 63 degree egg on focaccia bread with gammon ham sandwiched with a trio of cheese. That includes truffle béchamel and nacho cheese, giving it that aroma when the bread is cut apart.
Another more under-stated dish is the Sous Vide Eggs with US Asparagus and Jamon Iberico ($20).
Portico Favourites High Tea (UP $38++ per person, minimum 2 to dine, available 3-5pm Mon – Sun)
The “Portico Favourites” is as its name implies, combines the most popular and recommended items from Portico’s regular customers, the kitchen team and owners, all on a single stack.
Not your typical 3-tier stand, Portico’s version is repurposed from wine racks and velcroed together with wooden boards.
The entire stand with ‘grass’ and presented with dainty treats, looked like something you would bring to a picnic. Indeed, I noticed some diners who ordered the High Tea set actually chose the outdoor alfresco dining area facing the garden, forgoing the aircon comfort.
It is the mood of ‘dining in the gardens’, I guess.
This is one super value-for-money high tea, both for its quantity and quality. Other than the layers of savouries, petit sweets, cookies, chocolates that you see on the stand, there is a starter dish and scones.
Plus, FREE FLOW Twinings (Choose one flavour from the Large-Leaf Discovery Tea Collection) or Dutch Colony Coffee.
Most of the items are made in-house, and every single thing that went inside had a purpose and not just a space-filler.
There is no scrimping of ingredients. The starter plate itself was already a treat, with Chilled truffle-scented angel hair pasta with avruga caviar and kawa ebi shrimps, a Crostini of Asian-cured salmon gravlax, and Skewer of Tiger Prawn on a compressed melon sheet, topped with tobiko roe and brandy sauce.
My personal favourite stack was the savouries, coming with Chill Crab Meat Éclair – surprisingly sweet, spicy and salty worked here; a toast with a generous slab of house-made fish otak otak (quite legit); and Salted Egg and Squid Croquette.
Eat it hot and let the fillings ooze within your mouth.
The ladies on the table loved the dainty Rose Cream, Strawberry and Lychee Tart, with its pretty-in-pink appearance and light dreamy sweetness as you pop it into your mouth.
And a true case of #FirstWorldProblems, our feedback was there was too much sweets and food. My advice is, pace yourself well, take time to chat with friends and make it an unhurried meal.
Available from Monday to Sunday, 3-5pm and requires a min. 2 pax to order. Limited to 30 sets per day.
The Portico Favourites is now available at an exclusive price of $38++ per pax (U.P. $48++) for readers of DanielFoodDiary.com. Quote “DanielFoodDiary” and follow @PorticoSG on Facebook or Instagram to enjoy the offer. Till 15 April 2016.
Portico Signature Menu ($88 per diner)
The 4-course Portico Signature menu gathers some of the best dishes by the young, promising (and muscular) Chef Nixon Low and his energetic kitchen team, who gives modern French food a spin of local elements. And they do it well.
The starters include a Collection of Heirloom Tomatoes and Caramelised Leek and Potato Soup; choice of Main – Pan-seared Pulau Ubin Barramundi, Locally-Farmed Chicken done 2-ways, Tochigi Prefecture Wagyu A4 Ribcap (supplement $30); and Deconstructed Blackforest as dessert.
The Tochigi Prefecture Wagyu A4 was one of the best beef I have eaten in recent times.
Though it came with a signature beef sauce, it was good on its own. The glossy piece was so meltingly soft with its rich fat, which I so lovingly chewed on and on to slowly relish its texture and flavour.
“This cow did not die in vain.”
I was more neutral towards the Barramundi, though friends had praised for its freshness and crunchy skin.
It is heartening to know that Portico supports local suppliers, with the fish sourced from a family-owned kelong at Pulau Ubin. The fresh herbs used are grown in the edible garden located in the backyard at Dempsey.
A duck confit would be seen more typically in European style bistros in Singapore, and thus was a pleasant surprise to find a chicken version. As you can tell from its appearance, the chicken leg quarter had a delicately crisp skin, contrasting with the juicy succulent meat.
Adding more variety, the confit was served together with a chicken and foie gras roulade foie, accompanied by maple-scented sweet potato puree and braised purple cabbage.
Generally, the food gives a sense of modernity of French-style cooking yet with a taste of familiarity.
You may experience that in the Deconstructed Blackforest, which I loved for sentimental reasons too – it is a favourite cake during childhood days.
The dessert was made to resemble like a flower in full bloom to go in line with the garden theme, gorgeous-looking and alluring in dark colours and royal purple. Its smoothly rich 70% dark chocolate mousse with the edible hazelnut soil was a pleasurable play on the palate.
Other than the sets, sides of Signature Truffle Fries with shaved Gruyere Cheese ($15), mains of Aglio Olio Capelini ($30).
During the weekends, a Whole Roasted Ribeye served with Yorkshire Pudding, Oven Baked Russet Potato with Sour Cream and Bacon, Sauteed Vegetables, and Sweet Onion Beef Gravy. Ladies cut (180g) for $38++, and Gentleman’s cut (250g) for $48++.
I have visited Portico Prime both during weekdays and weekends. There were families who chose to sit outside, after all it is pets friendly. Friends found that dining there make you feel that you are away from the country – in a good way.
Ambience – checked. Food – checked. It is one of the most promising recent restaurant openings.
10 Dempsey Road #01-20 Singapore 247700
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 11:30pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Monday
Other restaurant concepts of Portico
991B Alexandra Road #01-10, Singapore 119970
Tel: +65 6276 7337
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 3:00pm Lunch, Last order 2:30pm; 5:30pm – 11:30pm Dinner, Last Order 10:30pm
Timbre+, 73A Ayer Rajah Crescent #01-32, JTC LaunchPad @ one-north Singapore 139957
*This entry is brought to you in partnership with Portico Prime.