Nobody ever hates the black-and-gold art deco building, Parkview Square, which some say looks like a building straight out of Gotham City. Now they have a bar at its lobby that also serves fine-dining food.
The bar is helmed by Head Bartender Roman Foltán, formerly of London’s award-winning Artesian at the Langham, which won the World’s Best Bar four years in a row. Executive Chef Daniele Sperindio, who honed his craft in Michelin-starred kitchens in London, Chicago and Tokyo, presents European cuisine.
They have an extensive range of cocktails, but when I ordered the Cecil Beaton ($22, rare australian spiced dry gin, hibiscus water, earl grey tea, baking
spices, citrus, milk), it was not available. I wanted a sweet drink and the waiter recommended S.S. Normandie ($22), which has calvados and peach, and I did not want peach that day.
Eventually, the waiter recommended Bohemian Aristocrat ($25), a cognac and Venezuelan rum based cocktail, with beurre noisette. When I saw brown butter in the ingredient list, I wanted it immediately. I wonder how they could mix butter into a cocktail. It is extremely smooth, a milder form of whiskey, accented and sweetened by orange-pear liqueur. Excellent.
When I saw the food menu online before my visit, I thought that the black pepper chicken lollipop ($14) from the appetizers section sounds interesting but my friend, who was there a few days before me, advised me NOT to order any appetizers, especially not the chicken lollipop. Heng.
I did order the Irish oysters ($32 for 6) which are delightfully covered with champagne vinegar foam, giving a nice sweet and sour flavor to the molluscs. There are also fizzy grapes by the side which taste like pops of champagne.
We decided to eat from the LARGE plates mostly, but the portions are minuscule. I guess the menu is ironic?
The canvas of pasta ($30) is a sheet of pasta covering minced meat in bolognese sauce and it comes with 3 small pieces of Japanese wagyu beef. The wagyu beef is extremely delicious; very salty but the salt brings out the fatness of the beef, giving umami. But I’m not quite sure what the focus of this dish is. Is it a pasta dish? Is it a beef dish? How does the wagyu fit the bolognese pasta?
The slow braised short rib ($32) must have been sous-vide because it is so smooth and tender. Smartly, they crust it with tarragon, to give it texture, and it tastes slightly like bak ku teh. But it is extremely costly for two bites, and I don’t quite understand how the side paraphernalia work with the beef.
Another sous vide dish, chicken breast ($30), is presented as if it’s a roulade. And it is beautifully pink inside. This is the first time I’ve eaten chicken paired with peach, which is a refreshing rendition.
The food is good but problematic on many levels:
-ALL the dishes arrived at once, which shouldn’t be the case. They should have staggered the timing of the dishes.
-I wish the servers had introduced the food to us. I’d like to know what I am eating. That said, the service is mostly excellent. They are warm and attentive.
-the portions do not commensurate with the price. We two were still hungry despite eaten 6 oysters, and 3 large plates.
-too many items are sous vide, and this makes me think that there is no range, it is a one trick pony.
-I don’t think the ingredients that accompany the main meat do anything to enhance the focus. I would rather they not add the peripheral ingredients and give more meat.
I want to emphasize that this is not to say the food isn’t good; The dishes are still tasty but the food is problematic and the problems could easily be solved. For that reason, based on what we ate today, we won’t return for the food but we will definitely be back for the stellar cocktails. I guess there is a reason why it’s called “Atlas Bar” and not “Atlas Bar & Restaurant.” Including a bottle of wine ($100), we paid $288 for two persons.
Food & Drinks: 7/10
Overall rating: 3.75/5
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Written by A. Nathanael Ho.