&sons, Singapore

SCRIBBLES

Category: Spanish – Tapas (and drinks)

I know- trust me, I know how the picture looks. You’re thinking, WTF is that? 

&sons is one of those places with a name that doesn’t bring anything to mind by association, and yet they serve up some really delightful tapas, just as long as you know what to order.

20 Cross Street, Singapore 048422, Tel: 6221 3937, Opens till late daily

Located along the Nankin row at China Square, &sons occupies a corner unit with tall tables and high stools lined along its front. You’d have to squint a little in the dim, relaxed light, past the people having drinks outside, to make out its name quietly stuck onto the glass door to know you’re indeed at the right place.

Damage: $$

Generally, the tapas act in Singapore doesn’t come cheap, but &sons, surprisingly, offers good value. The dishes average around $10 to $20 for a tapas-sized (i.e. small) portion, but there’s no need at all to worry about getting full especially if you’re having the heavier dishes like the pasta.

To go: Sometimes, for a quick fix of special artisanal pasta and Iberico pork

I’d had the Calamari, Kurobuta Pork Neck and Roast Cod Salsa Rubra during my previous visit, and was not at all impressed. This time, however, I went with a frequent &sons patron who has tried practically all the dishes on the menu, and can say with confidence that their strongest dishes are the Tagliolini with Crab and Nduja, Paccheri with Iberico Pork and Truffle, and the Iberico Pork Belly with Tuscan Bean Cream.


A MORE DETAILED REVIEW

Since the rest was nothing much to write about, I’m going to dive straight into specific dishes – so let’s get going!

Tagliolini Crab Nduja Pasta &Sons Artisanal Singapore Restaurant Spanish Tapas Bar Food Review

The arrival of the Tagliolini with crab and Nduja– What a sight. The pasta ($10) was enveloped in a tasty tomato-based luscious cream, with the flavours and pieces of crab meat humming it’s way through a snowfall of cheese. The mozzarella powder was so light that it was practically lighter than the texture of icing sugar. This was very tasty, albeit slightly overdone past al dente. Still, we loved it so much we got two portions of it.

We also had the Baccalá Cakes with Sea Urchin Sabayon ($15, featured picture). Personally, I didn’t like this as much as my dining companion did. Sabayon is often served as a dessert, but has a custard-like texture and in this instance, was infused with uni (sea urchin) as an accompaniment to the baccalá cakes (crab cakes). The sabayon was pick-up-the-dish-and-lick-it-all-up worthy and the light touch of the torch brought out the umami, but the crab cakes themselves lacked depth of flavour and elegance in texture, and the exterior “shell” was too hard for my liking.

Smoked Kurobuta Pork Lonza &Sons Spanish Tapas bar Restaurant Singapore Food Review

The Smoked Kurobuta Pork Lonza ($11) was moist and fork-tender, as if it had been going at the heat for at least a few hours, and had a robust flavour. The mash was finely pureed but plain and light in flavour, and provided a good balance to the kurobuta. For the meats, &sons does fantastic iberico pork as well, and so you won’t typically go wrong with one of its iberico pork dishes. Overall, a good place for pasta and meat-lovers like me.

Alkaff Mansion Ristorante, Singapore

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SCRIBBLES

Category: Western

10 Telok Blangah Green, Singapore 109178

Honestly, besides the lovely sight of the tudor-style historical bungalow peering over the park (which you can’t really see much of at night), the privacy and the very attentive service, I’m not sure anything else about Alkaff Mansion Ristorante really stood out to me. The portions are on the small side, which is fine considering it’s fine dining, but I didn’t come away very satisfied.

Damage: $$$

Antipasti (~27SGD), Pasta (~30SGD), Fish Main (~43SGD), Meat Main (~50SGD), Desserts (~15SGD)

To go: On rare occasion – should try new places first 😐

If I were to return, I would probably try going back in the day instead when I can enjoy the view and maybe sit out at Alkaff‘s Terrace. I’m thinking late afternoons would be a fine time for that. The menu changes every now and then.

They have a 3-course set lunch on weekdays at $36++, and Italian Afternoon tea on Mondays to Fridays at $26++ and Saturdays at $40++ (I suppose this helps cover the costs of the live band, dessert bar, and the additional crepes suzette and pasta stations).


A MORE DETAILED RECOUNT

2-starter

We opened our meal with an antipasti of Salmon Carpaccio; The salmon was fresh and the roe was springy as it should be, but the greens did nothing for the dish by being dry and tasteless. Although I like my dressing on salads or antipasti light, this was an olive oil dressing that did not quite bring out the flavours of the dish.

For the mains, we ordered the Porcetto Sardinyan Style, Carre’ d’Agnello al Forno, and Fettuccini with slow-roasted veal.

The Porcetto Sardinyan Style (see feature picture) was recommended to us as a fantastic Alkaff Mansion special. While the meat itself was relatively juicy and tender, the skin was really hard to cut through. If I were to knock it with my knife blade, it would remain unblemished while giving rise to a clicking sound. Again, the rest of the greens on the plate did nothing for the dish.

Lamb Rack and Veal Fettuccini

The Carre’ d’Agnello al Forno, or Oven Baked Lamb Rack, was slightly on the well done side but remained tender, although I wasn’t a fan of the slightly sweet and sticky sauce. The mash was grainy. As a pasta lover, I was disappointed that the fettuccini was rather forgettable; the meat was tasty and the pasta was al dente, but they felt like two separate dishes put on the same plate. The sauce could not coat nor cling to the pasta even after I tried to mix it up a few times, possibly also because there wasn’t a lot of it. At almost $30, there are many other places which can serve up a better pasta at this price point.

Semifreddo and Panna CottaTo end off, we had the Semifreddo al Cioccolato Bianco e Caffe’, and the Panna Cotta alla Vaniglia, Frutti di Bosco e Salsa al Lamponi. I love my sweets, but I would suggest having dessert elsewhere. The coffee came across as way too bitter in the semifreddo and the panna cotta had a bit too much of a gelatin texture to it which prevented the creaminess from coming through.