991B Alexandra Road, #01-10
“Portico” might be an Italian word (for “porch”), but there’s nothing remotely Italian about the food at this new opening on the West Coast. Chef Leandros Stagogiannis’ British accent and Greek surname gives away his origins, but it’s his background at Singapore’s fine-dining restaurants FiftyThree and St Pierre’s that shines through in a confident, walk-on-the-wild side menu of original creations.
Both soups, the wild mushroom, truffle oil and toasted buckwheat ($9) and the roasted tomato and crispy jamon iberico ($12) are richly flavoursome, as are the chilli-scented blue mussels in a creamy sauce ($27). It’s tough to find, but let’s hope more restaurants start using the quinoa grain, served here in a healthy salad with grapes, sugar snap peas and fresh raspberries ($14). Desserts are where Stagogiannis takes fascinating risks: caramelised pineapple with Chinese five spice and coconut sorbet ($10) and deconstructed tart aux citron and onion ice cream ($14) alone are worth the visit.
Although Portico is located in a bland office compound, the large restaurant and covered porch have a verdant green outlook and a relaxed, homey atmosphere. We’d recommend nabbing a seat at the bar encircling the open kitchen and settling in with a glass of Bordeaux house white ($12) while watching the chef at work.
Must-try dish: Tart aux citron and onion ice cream ($14)