Park Hotel Clarke Quay has finally unveiled a brand new all-day dining restaurant along Robertson Quay which is out to impress. Occupying the space where Brizo Restaurant & Bar used to sit, PORTA Fine Food & Import Company has transformed this entire space into a venue that exudes beauty and modern charm. The new restaurant shows no remnants of Brizo-past and the food is for the lack of better word, stunning. Led by Executive Chef Michael Suyanto who was previously leading the team in Bistro du Vin with the Les Amis Group, PORTA is truly a pleasant surprise and one that I have been impressed with right from the moment I stepped foot in.
PORTA is beautiful - it combines the best of modern European cuisine and it stocks up a curated selection of epicurean treasures as well as gourmet products. It is worth noting that PORTA is not a buffet restaurant and this is not a refurbishment of the old restaurant but a complete overhaul and reinvention of a brand. The space is semi-partitioned off to remind diners of a homely residence where guests are treated to the best produce.
The seating capacity of PORTA is 143 and these includes the al fresco dining area outside as well. With that being said, the interiors or worth shouting-about - I particularly like the private dining coves (there are three of them in PORTA) which offer a semi-private dining area which can easily accommodate 6 guests very comfortably.
PORTA offers one of the most reasonably-priced weekday set lunches that I have ever seen in a hotel in Singapore. Priced at just S$18++ for a 2-course and a S$4++ supplement for a 3-course, the casual setting of the restaurant makes this spot perfect for lunchtime meetings (or dates!). If you are interested in the menu, I simply cannot recommend using Chope enough - you even earn points which you can use for redeeming restaurant vouchers which each reservation. I really enjoyed the Chilled Angel Hair with avruga caviar, Japanese kombu seaweed and truffle oil. This seemingly simple angel hair pasta is one of the appetiser options in the set lunch and the serving is big enough for a light meal.
One of my personal favourites has got to be the Spanish Octopus (S$18++). Available as part of the a la carte menu, the Spanish Octopus here at PORTA is sourced from Ria de Arousa in Spain and is plancha-grilled with flavourful and tangy patatas bravas. Sure the edges a bit over done but the flavours were delicious and I honestly think it was a really reasonably-priced dish.
Foie Gras (S$24++) lovers will also enjoy the carefully pan-seared liver with toasted brioche, onion marmalade and pink dragée (a type of candy with a hard outer shell) on top.
One of the things that PORTA does really well is a vegan dish - the Ravioles De Royans (S$22++) is basically a dish with mini cheese ravioli that is served with creamy and tangy provencal vegetables, tomato coulis and pesto Genovese that packs a punch. The dish is definitely on the heavier side and it's not a healthy vegan dish. What you can be sure however is that the flavours are just bursting with every bite - there's enough satisfaction in this dish so even a carnivore like me would sway over and order this in a heartbeat.
PORTA serves a delicious burger and even though it's really good on its own, I wish there was a man-sized one. Don't get me wrong though the PORTA Burger (S$23++) on its own is not a small burger - it is definitely sufficient - but I have been dreaming about monster-sized burgers since my last visit to Fokker Bros in Auckland and honestly, this PORTA Burger right here has the potential to become one of Singapore's best burger places - all that's left is to make it obscenely dangerous for your heart and the cult will follow. The delicious and succulent Angus beef patty is served with caramelised onions, cheddar cheese and crispy smoked bacon in a toasted sesame bun - honestly, all that it needs is a slice of beetroot, the option of gruyere (instead of cheddar) and a double patty to make it the best burger in Singapore ever. The PORTA Burger is also served with a premium tomato ketchup from Alain Milliat which is nothing like the mass-produced ones from Heinz. The tomato ketchup has a salsa-like consistency and it is slightly sweeter (reminding me of chilli jam) which helps to cut the saltiness from that juicy Angus beef patty.
The Iberico Pork Secreto (S$26++) from PORTA has got to be one of the star dishes of the restaurant. This high-marbling piece of Iberian pork shoulder blade is roasted to lock in moisture and tenderness before being glazed with pommery honey mustard before being served on a bed of creamy and tangy mash - absolutely delicious.
I am not a huge dessert person so I am probably not the best judge of the Valrhona Chocolate (S$14++) and Coconut Blancmange (S$12++) but the plate was completely empty before I left so I guess it must have been good. If you ask me though, I would rather spend that amount of money on another appetiser or a dish since the savouries are really quite impressive.
The introduction of PORTA Fine Food & Import Company is a bold move by the Park Hotel Clarke Quay. If you have ever been to Brizo Restaurant & Bar, you will definitely notice the stark difference in both dining venues and I dare say PORTA is a major improvement over the last dining venue which was mediocre at best. I am extremely excited to see how PORTA will evolve over time and if the restaurant continues to serve up food at this price point, it could very well be Singapore's next hottest spot for dining out.
This was an invited Media Tasting session, though all views expressed are my own.