Celebrated Valentine’s Day with my better half over lunch at FOO’D at the Victoria Theatre & Concert Hall – the Singapore outpost of Italian celebrity chef Davide Oldani, famed for being the chef-owner of the 1-Michelin-starred D’O near Milan. A similar FOO’D outlet opened in Manila, Philippines too.
The Victoria Theatre & Concert Hall, established in 1862, is one of the most iconic landmarks in Singapore, sitting at the mouth of the Singapore River. This heritage building in the Civic District houses a 614-seat Theatre and a 673-seat Concert Hall. A treasured national monument, it underwent a 4-year refurbishment to restore its neo-classical façade to its former glory, but now equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and amenities. A beautiful place for photography.
The interior is nothing short of gorgeous – Greco-Roman columns supporting a high ceiling, with warm tones prevailing, and chic furnishing in a spacious, pleasing and bright dining room.
Seems like this specially designed Fork cum Spoon is its pride. Hmm, not sure if this is needed?
Don’t expect Chef Davide Oldani to be in the kitchen. Yes, the menu is indeed conceptualised by the man himself, but the kitchen is looked over by Sardinian executive Chef Simone Depalmas, a friendly and burly Italian bloke, formerly with Sopra Cucina & Bar and the Alkaff Mansion Ristorante, which incidentally is housed in an equally gorgeous villa.
STARTER: My wife had the Tripe, blanquette sauce, shallot, mustard; while I had the Salmon, black garlic, avocado, tapioca, cocoa. The salmon while not bad, lacked the freshness that would come with a top-notch restaurant. Fortunately, the tasty and al dente tripe was delicious accompanied with the sweet onions. I chose to pair my food with a white Pieropan Soave Classico Veneto, Italy; while my wife had the red Caparzo Rosso di Montalcino Tuscany.
SOUP: The Poached Egg, Pumpkin, red wine reduction was well balanced, not too sweet ,and I love the runny egg; the Lobster Bisque, herb sorbet was almost oriental in style, very aromatic.
MAIN: The Pan fried Branzino, lettuce, vegetable and squid ink caviar was prettily plated and good, although the skin could be crispier. The 72° French Roast Chicken, zucchini, pinenuts was a mixed bag – the breast was a wee bit dry but the thigh was perfect, with a gently -crisped skin.
The most Instagramable dish must be the DESSERT: Faux green apple, cinnamon, mascarpone. We had a similar dish at the Temple Restaurant in Beijing, where the contents of this faux apple is spherified in a green gelatin skin.
As we were leaving FOO’D, we saw the pasty chef plating a fancy looking dessert. He was kind enough to let us taste the supposedly signature dessert of Lettuce Ice-cream with Lemon Curd. Excellent indeed; refreshingly creamy ice-cream balanced by the tartness of the citrus.
The cooking at FOO’D while not pushing any boundaries, is nevertheless very competent. Coupled with the iconic locale, beautiful interior, gorgeous setting and the very affordable set lunch, this is a must-try. Make sure to leave enough time after the meal to wander through the vicinity to absorb the culture, and take in the mesmerising juxtaposition of the old and the new.
FOO’D by Davide Oldani
11 Empress Place, #01-01
Phone: +65 63855588