Platypus Test Kitchen

While the rest of Singapore goes gaga over folk such as Batali, Boulud and Santamaria setting up shop here, a quiet culinary revolution of the local kind is going on in a corner of Clifford Centre. Young kitchen upstart Nicholas Lin and his intrepid partner Lee Yuan Zheng are serving up platefuls of delightful handmade pastas and entrees. Lin, with culinary skills gleaned from the French Culinary Institute and the Gohan Society in New York (and author of a best-selling cookbook), and Lee are the brains behind the curiously named Platypus Test Kitchen. But don’t be misled by the name—this is no open-kitchen-type eatery; the unassuming café-bistro looks like a Melbournian café transplant, with its chic modish environs and communal-style dining tables and chairs. That makes it stand out from the rest in this rather drab mall. To locate it, just look out for the sea of diners slurping up pastas during lunch. Yup, it is THAT popular. On the lunch menu is a decent selection of pastas and entrees. Everything is made from scratch in the kitchen by Lin and his team. You can definitely taste the home-style cooking, as was the case with our squid-ink seafood marinara as well as the parmigiana and balsamico fagottini . The ribbons of dark tagliatelle in the former provided just the perfect balance of sweet and salty flavor to the dish, topped with a clear marinara sauce, prawns, scallops and calamari. The parmesan-balsamic vinegar stuffed orbs of fagottini were simply delectable. The balsamic-parmesan ensemble created quite an inimitable depth of taste that was well-matched with the simple butter sauce. Simplicity is the key here. In spite of the straightforwardness of the cooking, Lin and his team have managed to marry flavors well. Take the garlic shrimp for example, sautéed in olive oil and garlic, and caramelized baby carrots which we promptly polished off. This definitely warrants a second visit.