The buzz: 2016 was the year Singapore’s major museums got serious about their food offerings. With the National Gallery setting the bar so high (with the likes of Odette, National Kitchen and Saha, among others), National Museum followed up with Janice Wong’s flagship dim sum and dessert restaurant. Now, the achingly beautiful and recently restored Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall follows suit with FOO’D by Italian chef Davide Oldani, whose restaurant D’O in Milan has a Michelin star and a celeb clientele.
The vibe: The white-washed restaurant looks like a scene out of a Victorian-era film—tables and chairs are arranged on the sides along the Italianate glass doors while the landmark’s beautiful pillars take centerstage to further accentuate the restaurant’s classiness.
The food: Oldani is big on a cooking philosophy he calls Cucina Pop, a mission statement of sorts which has the usual elements of seasonal sourcing, ingredient-driven cooking, a due focus on wine and the other good stuff. At the moment, you can choose from several degustation menus, ranging from three- to seve-course options ($45-168), and most courses have the option of a vegetarian replacement. Highlights include one of Oldani’s signature dishes, a mousse made from Grana Pandano served with caramlelized onions and ice-cream, a great and complex opener. The pea and lemongrass soup with poached egg and almonds is balanced and surprisingly restrained on the lemongrass. Further into the degustations, things that get a bit run-of-the mill, as with the slightly dry and strange risotto with crayfish, coffee and pistacchio. Also relatively safe is the beef cheek with salmon pearls, but the dessert delivers a final thrill: who knew lettuce ice-cream (!) and cocoa crumble would go perfectly with sweet lemon curd and spiky meringue?
The drinks: While this might not be the most ideal place for a casual tete-a-tete with friends, it does make for a nice quiet second or third date with someone special. Once you’re done with dinner, head out to the bar (open Mon-Sat, 6pm-midnight) which faces the National Gallery and the Padang and for a more relaxed ambiance. Their extensive selection of wines, which is available for both meal service and at the bar, includes European sauvignon blancs, rieslings, syrah and more.