SINGAPORE (THE NEW PAPER) - Porta Fine Food & Import Company is the latest food outlet to open at Park Hotel Clarke Quay. It takes over the space formerly occupied by the unremarkable buffet restaurant Brizo Restaurant & Bar - does not have big shoes to fill, but it does more than that anyway.
The restaurant serves modern European cuisine, which means you will get a bit of everything from every corner of the continent.
It sounds like a cop-out but you do feel like you are getting a nice variety of dishes, even though the menu is small.
The food here is simple and hearty, without a hefty price tag.
This last point is an increasingly important one, given the state of the global economy.
And when the food is inexpensive but does not taste cheap, it is an even bigger draw.
With budget in mind, you should consider the set lunch. It is $18 for a two-course meal, and $22 for three courses.
The vegetarian option from the set lunch menu is a savoury joy to behold.
The Ravioles De Royans ($22 a la carte) is ravioles (smaller than normal ravioli) filled with two types of cheese, with a tangy sauce to cut the heaviness. It is a hearty and comforting dish.
Porta Fine Food & Import Company
Where: Park Hotel Clarke Quay, 1 Unity Street, tel: 6593-8855
Open: 11am to 10.30pm, daily
Exclusively on the lunch menu is Chilled Angel Hair, with avruga caviar and kombu seaweed, and drizzled with truffle oil. I'm not one for chilled pasta but this one was refreshing and bright.
Crossing over to Spain, the Spanish Octopus ($18) from the Starters menu satisfies. There is a nice char on the octopus, which gives it a seductive smokiness.
While my dining companions all raved about the Iberico Pork Secreto ($26), I found the pommery honey glaze too enthusiastic for my liking. I'm thankful that mustard seeds were added to the mash because that gave the dish balance.
I associate burgers with America, but I guess they eat them in Europe too. In any case, the Porta burger ($23) is delicious. The Angus beef patty is juicy, with caramelised onion, cheddar cheese and crispy smoked bacon on toasted sesame bun, and it is served with chunky French fries.
You can pay $1.50 for a tiny bottle of Alain Milliat ketchup. Splurge, because it will be worth it. The combination of the sweetness of the ketchup together with the almost-creamy beef patty is an experience.