[dropcap size=big]I[/dropcap]t’s hard to believe that fish farmed in local waters at Pulau Ubin can taste as good as those imported from international seas. Dining at Portico Prime could well have you convinced otherwise.
The restaurant, which officially launched earlier this month, works with fish farm Tiberias Harvest to located near Pulau Ubin to bring in their catch within hours of harvest. The small family-run farm does not use chemicals or antibiotics in its practice, and have honed the way it harvests and chills the fish over the years so the fish gets delivered in optimal condition.
And it’s a good catch. The barramundi, when it arrives at our table, is a generous slab of firm flesh that gives a mildly sweet flavour, further enhanced by executive chef Nixon Low’s clever use of sauces. The 29-year-old, who earned his chops at Saint Pierre and Restaurant Andre, pairs the fish with a tasty trout roe beurre blanc sauce and some carrot ginger puree that brings out the sweetness of the meat, and then sears the fish skin to a crisp for a balance of textures.
It’s clear too that Low has refined his cooking style from that of Portico on Alexandra Road to suit the classier vibe of Portico Prime. This finesse comes through in another dish, a caramelised leek and potato soup – the bowl comes plated with a brown butter brioche crouton and a dainty slice of smoked eel, and is finished off tableside with the waitstaff pouring the rich creamy soup over it all.
At Portico Prime, there’s also the option now of sitting at the chef’s table, where diners get to meet Low who will personally explain the menu in greater detail to them. It’s early days yet, but the modern European restaurant is already planning to roll out new offerings like weekend brunch and Sunday roast. Keep an eye on this space.
Spotlight on: Pan-seared Pulau Ubin Barramundi, Caramelised Leek and Potato Soup, Deconstructed Black Forest
Masterminds behind the scene: Chia Tek Yew, executive director of Majuven and owner of restaurant Portico, executive chef Nixon Low.
10 Dempsey Road, #01-02