Academy Bistro

This elegant minimalist bistro is situated on the ground floor of the new Supreme Court. We were first for lunch, but the place quickly filled up with mostly legal types in suits. Jimmy Chok, of the former Salt restaurant, is behind this operation, and it was his good reputation in fusion cookery that drew us here.

The menu comprised two and three-course set lunches, with the option to order the same dishes à la carte (all appetizers, mains, desserts). There were four starters to choose from, including a soup of the day, three mains and three desserts. A modest sandwich menu was also on offer.

We chose the three-course lunch and started with a Caesar salad and sautéed mushroom with salad and balsamic vinegar. While the mushrooms were tasty and the salad fresh, the Caesar salad was disappointing with browning lettuce and tasteless dressing. When we told our server, he offered a new salad and whisked away the offensive one. Put off, however, we switched to mushroom soup and were happier but not entirely satisfied. Although the soup was acceptable, it was thin and scalded the roofs of our mouths. Our server returned to apologize profusely for the Caesar; we appreciated his effort.

In fact, service overall was superb, with servers being alert, professional and polite. For our mains, the veal cheek with mashed potato and bok choy fared well. The tender cheek and delicious gravy went nicely with the mash, which on its own would have been dry. This dryness was not masked in the pan fried John Dory, however, that came with the same mash. The dish was bland and it felt like little effort had gone into it.

Dessert did much better, with the mango panna cotta being lovely and creamy. The chocolate and passionfruit mousse was good, though a bit too sour. Despite the flaws in the food, we enjoyed our meal—because the servers went out of their way to please us (hence the three stars). When the bill came, we realized there was no service charge and gladly rewarded the servers with a tip they deserved.