(Roots Kitchen & Bar has closed down permanently.)
Taking over a former Mookata eatery, Roots Kitchen & Bar is a new bistro/cafe that is situated in the heart of Jalan Besar at Dickson Road away from where most of the hipster eateries are located.
Featuring a menu of Modern European cuisine, Roots Kitchen & Bar also serves simpler brunch fare for the morning such as Eggs Benedict and Big Breakfast. This quite sets them apart from the usual Modern European bistros around for their pricing is of a slightly more affordable price point. For dinner, the menu is categorised in small and large plates; small plates being appeitisers such as soup, salads and cheese while the large plates are the meat items.
(Egg and Truffle Mousseline topped with Caviar)
We visited Roots Kitchen & Bar during their soft launch period so we were rather lucky to be able to try out their brunch menu even during dinner hours. Egg and Truffle Mousseline topped with Caviar is one such item. Presented in an egg shell, the mousse is contained within the egg shell while the caviar rests above; something that seemed rather similar to what Modern European fine dining restaurants would serve. Aesthetically pretty, these eggs are also pretty delicious with the strong earthy aroma of truffle lingering consistently within the smooth and creamy egg mousse. The only thing lacking about the dish is perhaps the caviar which could be barely felt or tasted; perhaps due to the truffle. However, at $3.50 per egg, there is probably not much to complain about this dish for the quality and price point which is perhaps the most economical of similar dishes in its class. You could also add $1.50 more for a shot of espresso in the egg if you fancy.
Another dish from their brunch menu, the Gamberetto was squid ink linguine served with seafood in a tomato-based sauce. Despite being black, the linguine seemed short of the usual umami flavours of Squid Ink; the pasta seemed to carry more flavours from the tomato-based sauce instead which added a bright tinge of tanginess to the dish. For some weird reason, the prawns and squid that came with it were all chopped up into tiny bits; we would have really preferred to be served whole prawns or squids as this would have really brought out the freshness of the prawns better.
(Nagono Pork Rack)
From the dinner menu, Nagono Pork Rack came served with braised cabbage and grape compote. Using Pork Loin, it was cooked in a slow cooker to broil before being placed on the grill. Rather unfortunately, the Pork seemed to be a tad stiff and dry, lacking of the juicy and succulent texture that it seemed to have promised aesthetically even though it had achieved a pinkish centre within; perhaps they still need some time to grasp the execution of this dish especially on the control of the temperature. Thankfully, the braised cabbage was cooked till nearly melted, and had strips of bacon to induce the sinful yet savoury flavours to the otherwise plain dish, and the grape compote seemed to have been soaked in alcohol for a premium touch.
Despite using the safe combination of wild forest mushrooms, truffle and parmesan, the Risotto was a tad hard to finish. A tad undercooked, we found the rice grains unpleasantly hard to bite on, therefore affecting the overall feel of the dish. Flavour-wise it seemed to have hit the mark; part creamy, part cheesy and rather strong of the earthy aroma of truffle, but unfortunately all these just was not enough to save the dish as a whole.
For the finishing touch, we ordered the Amaretto Cacao Mousse, which looked like an interesting deconstructed version of a Blackforest Cake. A cacao mousse with berries and blackcurrant granita at the side, the mousse carried a light alcoholic flavour and sweet with an ice-cream like texture, while the blackcurrant granita was more like a puree, injecting strong Ribena-like flavours which can get a tad sour for most. While the fresh berries was not too tart, the dish felt overall a bit too extreme on its flavours; perhaps they could tone down on the cacao mousse and the blackcurrant granita and strike a balance in between.
In comparison, the Lemon Posset was a less elaborate dessert; Lemon Cream with Charred Lemon. Lemon Cream was like a lemon curd; generally tart with a creamy consistency with a short tinge of sweetness. Most interesting was the charred lemon; somewhat like a sweet candied lemon which was chewy and sweet yet carrying just the right amount of citrus-y tang, this was the better dessert out of the two.
Roots Kitchen & Bar is one of the spots that seems to have the potential but seem to have to work a bit more on the execution. Most of their dishes seemed to have the right flavours and even the right presentation, but seemed to lack in texture. The staff were however pretty open to feedback as they seemed to be willing to listen to what the patrons have to say. Hopefully Roots Kitchen & Bar would have the time to refine their recipes in this fast-paced industry; they seemed to have what it takes but only with experience would they be able to unleash their hidden potential.
Roots Kitchen & Bar
30 Dickson Road