Maca, Tanglin Post Office: The Char is Strong With This One

maca restaurant singaporeMaca at the Tanglin Post Office is named after a Peruvian root, which doesn’t make an appearance on the menu. Quirky huh? Chef Rishi Naleendra, who has worked at Australia’s Tetsuya and Taxi Kitchen, presents Japanese-influenced European food, served as small plates. The menu is limited and the chef is generally heavy handed: that night, the flavors were very bold–a little too loud for me, someone who prefers subtlety–and the food was extremely charred on the surface though tender within.

maca tanglin post office reviewNo salt was added to the Chargrilled baby octopus ($22); it was naturally very salty. On first bite, I liked its intense saltiness, beautiful chewy texture, and smoky fragrance. But subsequently, I had to pair every bite of the octopus with a sip of artisanal precipitation from heaven called water. Although the smoked miso aioli was nice, it was too heavy to match with the octopus; it was salty², it maxed out my salt intake for the week. Some lime on the octopus might do wonders.

maca singapore reviewWhile the octopus had a wonderful smoky aroma, the smokiness was choking for the smoked swordfish belly ($18). I coughed and imagined this was what an extra on Game of Thrones felt like, the extra who played the role of the Dragon. You know the one that breathes fire? Anyway, the swordfish swam in a yuzu sauce and avocado puree that did nothing to the dish.

maca restaurant sg menuThe char game was still strong for the USDA prime rib (225g, $48). Ms Atas fancied it was too expensive to pay for a steak with so much fat. But it was nicely grilled to a medium rare, very succulent and tender, and the outside was almost crispy. Unfortunately, there was too much char that the beef tasted bitter.

The steak came with two condiments, fermented soy and wasabi cream. Good beef just needs salt and pepper, and the condiments were to Taylor Swift the plate: the plate got a blank space, baby, and the condiments would fill it up.

maca restaurant singapore 12-hour slow-cooked Iberico pork collar with apple cider sauce, parsnip, scallion ($36)

My suggestions are:
(1) the steak and other meaty plates are lonely! Give them some carbs for company. We were still hungry despite ordering so much because there weren’t carbs. The only carb on the menu is a baked potatoes ($10), and I don’t like baked potatoes; and
(2) the condiments for the octopus and steak didn’t match with the meats, but since the condiments are so tasty, use them as dips for fries.

maca singapore reviewMy favorite dish of the night was one without flaws. Burnt pears ($15) lined on a caramel yoghurt parfait, as pear sorbet nested on almond crumble by the side. Although it appeared many things were going on at once, the flavors were soft and complementary. The herb–I think it was basil–lifted the only mild dish in the restaurant.

As a whole, the cooking of the food was top notch, but the concept didn’t suit me: heavily salted, heavily smoked, and heavily unctuous. I prefer tasty food with smart pairings that create complex flavors, allowing me to look at the ingredients anew. Good cooking alone doesn’t cut it for me. But judging from the overwhelming positive reviews I’ve seen from instagram, I may be the odd one out. We paid $164 for two persons.

Maca Restaurant

56 Tanglin Road, Tanglin Post Office #B1-01, Singapore 247964
T: +65 6463 8080
Lunch F-Sun 12pm-3pm, Dinner W-M 6pm-11pm

Value: 5.75/10
Food: 6.25/10
Ambience/ Decor: 6.5/10
Service: 9/10
Rating: 3.438/5

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