Located in the same space that was used to house Brizo is Porta, a modern European restaurant that is situated in Park Hotel Clarke Quay.
Gone were the old fittings that belonged to Brizo; the interior has seen a revamp with a more tropical yet contemporary design theme that makes use of wood, rattan and both earthy and pastel tones that are easy on the eyes. Serving up Modern European cuisine in a casual setting, the menu seems to suggest that the restaurant sits in between fine dining and bistro concepts; the ala-carte menu features appetisers, mains and desserts at mid-range pricing. A set lunch menu is also available as well, with selected items drawn from the ala-carte menu; a 2 course set lunch (main course and appetiser/dessert) would cost $18++ while the 3 course set lunch (appetiser, main course and dessert) is priced at $22++.
Opting for the 3 course set lunch, we picked the Salmon Trout which was a salad. Smoked salmon trout served atop iceberg lettuce, shaved cheese, cherry tomatoes and honey mustard dressing, the salad was served chilled with the lettuce leaves delivering a refreshing crunch yet carrying a light cheesiness from the shaved cheese. This works well together with the briny salmon trout slices, while the cherry tomatoes add a burst of tanginess to the salad. Croutons are added to give the salad a little more bite as well. While being part of the set lunch menu, the appetiser comes in a rather large portion that feels pretty much like as if it was ordered from the ala-carte menu — a little too filling for the start of the meal.
Going straight for the only vegetarian item in the list of main courses, the Ravioles de Royans features mini cheese ravioli with creamy Provençal vegetables, tomato coulis and pesto Genovese. It started off pretty delightful; tiny packages of oozy, stretchy cheese within al-dente pasta in a creamy, tangy sauce with soft-to-the-bite vegetables such as capsicums with a little herb-like flavour from the pesto. Again, being served in a portion that is simply too huge, it became a jelak ordeal for it starts to get a tad too overwhelming and hard to finish — the thick, cloying flavours of cream and cheese definitely did not help given how big the portion was.
We were beyond full by the time the Coconut Blancmange was served to savour the dessert at its best. A coconut Panna Cotta served with passionfruit and crumbles over the top, the tartness of the passionfruit does help to cleanse the tastebuds after the heavy meal but largely a little too overwhelming that makes the coconut Panna Cotta seem like a side show instead. The Panna Cotta was, however, pretty creamy and smooth, though the crumbles could be little less dense to achieve a more cookie-like texture which I would have preferred.
Given that we had only tried Porta’s set lunch menu, Porta’s set lunch is actually pretty worth the money; the food, though comes with its own share of misses, are slightly beyond average and that the price of both the 2 course and 3 course set lunch is comparable to what cafes are charging for a single item these days. The portions are also pretty huge, and it seems that it’s more ideal to share a 3-course meal amongst 2 pax since the dishes comes in sizes closer to ala-carte orders; perhaps ordering the other ala-carte items might make for a better experience. While it does sound like a good spot for those who do not mind spending a little while stuffing their tummies silly with food of a rather decent quality, we do wish that the portions would come a little smaller for a more manageable, pleasant and refined experience that fits better into the overall dining experience in a Modern European restaurant. Still, a place that is good to add to the list if one is looking for spots with affordable set lunches.
Park Hotel Clarke Quay
1 Unity Street