With Christmas and New Years approaching, consumers are left spoilt for choice as hotels and restaurants scurry to curate special menus and promotions for the year end festivities. However, if you’re looking for a decadent treat instead of the usual international buffet that calls for you to secretly unbutton your pants while pigging out, consider Park Hotel Clarke Quay.
Led by Executive Chef Alex Phan and his team, together they create a four-course festive dinner at PORTA, Park Hotel’s resident restaurant. Serving dates are held only on 24 to 25, and 30 to 31 December in the evenings, so if it’s that exclusive, it should be pretty damn good.
And it was — we had the pleasure to try PORTA’s holiday menu (priced at $64++ per adult), as well as a sneak peek of the hotel’s Festive BBQ Buffet at Cocobolo Poolside Bar + Grill ($82++ per adult, $41++ per child).
Sous Vide Scallops with Jamón ($18)
Most appetisers are either overpowering in flavour, or served in such small portions that they might as well not be on the menu. PORTA’s hors d’oeuvre falls into neither category. Chef Phan cleverly primed our stomachs for the sumptuous meal ahead by starting off the four-course dinner with scallops wrapped with jamón. Soft and tender, the scallops are sous vide, which explains how easy chewing is. No, you won’t have to deal with having bits and pieces stuck in your teeth, as how most scallops end up. The jamón’s smokiness also adds to the otherwise pristine taste of the scallops, making the duo a perfect pair. Accompanying them is watermelon soaked with aged balsamic — sounds like a baffling combination, but it works.
Next up, mains. Customers can choose between the Beef Brisket or Atlantic Halibut as their choice of main. However, they are also available ala-carte at their respective prices.
Beef Brisket ($28)
Sous vide for 12 hours and roasted to a smoky char, the juiciness and flavour of this beef brisket explodes in your mouth. Again, super soft because of its cooking method, but chewy enough. It’s stringy, but not rough. Served with creamy spinach, the rich aroma of the spinach dressing masks away the potentially gamey taste some of you may taste. Rare, however, given that the beef is also paired with red wine sauce. A fantastic trio.
Atlantic Halibut ($26)
This Atlantic Halibut confit is baked golden, but not to a crisp. Instead, this crisp is reserved for the herbed crust, generously sprinkled on the fish and made from a selection of six different herbs and spices. Partnering the halibut is lemon butter sauce and a handful of French beans. Between this and the Beef Brisket, if you’ve got a lighter palate, opt for the halibut instead.
Cocobolo – Festive BBQ Buffet
We were given a selection of meat from Cocobolo’s (Park Hotel Clarke Quay’s poolside grill and rooftop cocktail bar) BBQ buffet spread. Though all equally good, must try and worth going for seconds are the fish, turkey breast (slow cooked for 14 hours), and chicken marinated with teriyaki sauce. Also served are lamb chop, beef steak, and pork belly.
Caramelised Bananas ($12)
For dessert, nothing too heavy. An unostentatious serving of a fresh banana caramelized for 12 hours, topped with vanilla ice cream and Victoria sponge and rum. Perched on the ice cream are dark chocolate shavings, a brilliant complement to the overall dish’s sweetness. The rum hardly has any effect as well, due to how it’s slow cooked with the banana and its alcohol content probably destroyed during the process. Which means — you don’t have to worry about getting drunk on dessert, and can afford to indulge in another glass of wine.
At $64++, that price may be a little steep for a four-course meal with portions that aren’t the biggest, but it’s an experience worth trying anyway. Quality beats quantity, and in this case at PORTA, the quality is worth every cent.
Address: 1 Unity St, Singapore 237983
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Nearest MRT Station: Fort Canning
PORTA – Four-course Festive Dinner
Day/Date: Monday, 24 December – Tuesday, 25 December 2018; Sunday, 30 December – Monday, 31 December 2018
Opening Hours: 6.30pm to 10.30pm
Price: S$64++ per adult
Fantastic Early Bird Treat with UOB, Citibank, Maybank and other select cards (book before 15 December): 15% off festive set / a la carte menu
For bookings on 15 December and after with UOB, Citibank, Maybank and other select cards: 10% off festive set / a la carte menu
Cocobolo – Festive BBQ Buffet
Day/Date: Friday, 21 December – Monday, 24 December 2018; Friday, 28 December – Monday, 31 December 2018
Time: 6.30pm to 10.30pm
Price: S$82++ per adult, S$41++ per child (5-11 years)
Fantastic Early Bird Treat with UOB, Citibank, Maybank and other select cards (book before 15 December): 50% off every 2nd adult buffet diner, and a complimentary bottle of wine for groups of 4 and above.
For bookings on 15 December and after for UOB, Citibank, Maybank and other select cards: 50% off every 2nd adult buffet diner
On top of that, diners on 31 December —from both venues— can enjoy complimentary access to the hotel’s New Year Eve Countdown Party, which includes free-flow beer, wines, cocktails, and games and activities.