It’s hard not to like Old School—the bustle of Timbre, the indie-cred of Sinema, the hipster ad agency vibe. And of course, that wonderful setting: the open lawn, the cavernous interior of the school building itself, the fact that, in this too-often cramped city, it’s perched atop a hill. All of this combines to make you feel well-disposed toward Euro bistro Chalk even before you walk in. And thankfully, they don’t do much to dissuade you of those warm feelings once you’re inside (though their A/C tries its unwelcome hardest). Service is genuinely strong; on our visit, waiters not only knew the menu inside-out, they answered our most annoying foodie questions with equanimity, and made personal recommendations that proved worth following. Among their best: A nicely spicy penne Amatriciana ($21), a duck confit ($31) that fell apart at the merest touch of the fork, and the desserts. So while the chicken terrine ($18) might have been bland and the pork chop ($39) overdone (although the thyme-roasted potatoes came close to salvaging it), it’s such a lovely spot—a perfect second date venue (too formal and too pricey to get quickly drunk for the first), especially if you venture out onto the patio—that you walk away, trying not to trip as you descend the steep staircase to Dhoby Gaut, wishing them the very best. So why only 3 stars? One word: Price. It’s simply too expensive for what it is. Even that romantic setting doesn’t justify it. Dinner for two, without wine, came perilously close to the $200 mark (and $39 for that pork chop really was money ill-spent). At that price you don’t want to even be thinking about whether the meal was worth it. Which is why, as we stumbled down those stairs on our way home, we decided next time we’d just go back for the dessert. At $25, the sampler, comprising a subtly powerful panna cotta, green apple sorbet, a sticky date pudding with ginger ice cream (our favorite) and crème brûlée (everybody else’s favorite), was such excellent value for money, you wonder why they can’t apply the same thinking to the rest of the menu.
|Address:||Chalk, #01-03 Old School, 11 Mount Sophia, Singapore, Singapore|
|Opening hours:||Tue-Fri 6:30-10:30pm; Wed-Fri noon-3pm; Sat noon-10:30pm; Sun 11am-9:30pm|
|Nearest train||Dhoby Ghaut|
|Parking available: at Old School|
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