Sea Urchin Pudding, $19
I have to admit - I fumbled around for a while trying to think of the most suitable one-liner to describe Lolla's small plates. Inspired? True but a total rip-off from their website. Inventive? Most certainly, yes, but I didn't want to side-line the classics that have been mercifully left unadulterated, thank heavens. What do all these small plates have in common? Kick-ass - that's it - they all kick ass. Lolla is honestly one of the most satisfying meals I've had this year, so I guess it's only fitting that I leave you with these pictures before 2012 flits by.
Cheese Platter, chef's discretion, Jamon Iberico Bellota, $42
Dining here is a little bit like watching a show; the bar seating arrangement makes for a warmly intimate experience with the chefs at work. Nothing is hidden - you get to see the head chef, Ming, and his team dice the tuna belly, scramble the gooey yolks, and plate the hot-off-the-pan steak right in front of your eyes. All the while enjoying the plates already dished up, of course. The team at Lolla is bent on sourcing only the best ingredients - so enjoying cheese and jamon iberico bellota here is a sure bet. In our case, since we couldn't decide on the myriad cheeses on offer both off and on the menu, we requested for a platter of 3 instead. The one in the middle, which was on offer only because they procured it for a private party, was absolutely divine - almost like brie, only creamier and stronger. Needless to say, each sliver of shiny Jamon Iberico Bellota had us in a state of quiet, concentrated bliss. How do you ever tire of that intense flavour that assaults you just as soon as it melts away on your tongue?
Scrambled Eggs with Bottarga di Muggine, $22, Grass-fed Ribeye Steak, $52
Lolla's lightly scrambled eggs with grated bottarga was excellently executed, the precious chunks of grey mullet roe playing fantastic contrast in terms of both flavour and texture against the creamy eggs. It's difficult not to enjoy the grass-fed ribeye as well, so perfectly seasoned, even if it was a little more done than the medium rare that we'd requested for.
Tuna Belly "Chutoro" Tartare, $39
And of course, there was the sea urchin pudding that was what initially drew me to Lolla. Fresh sea urchin nestled on a delicately prepared custard of squid ink that is zesty enough to cut through the richness of the former without overpowering it. So well done, really. It may be a tiny portion but it's so rich that you won't be too reluctant to share it with someone else, I promise. Our last savoury platter of the day was the tuna belly tartare, which was truly, truly divine. What sets Lolla's rendition apart from all the competition (besides the seasoning, of course,) is the chilling of the dish just before it's served, which makes each cube taste like tuna belly ice-cream, only in the most delicious way you can possibly imagine.
Grape Sorbet, $9, Doughnut with Lemon Curd, $12
The desserts at Lolla, while decent, were not nearly as impressive. The grape sorbet was extremely intense, if you're into that sort of thing, while the doughnuts with lemon curd were fun and easy to eat, although the serving size was on the smaller side. I might skip them altogether the next time.
All in all, dinner at Lolla was one fantastic meal that I'm really excited to repeat.
22 Ann Siang Road
Open: Mon - Sat from 5pm to midnight, and Fri 12-2pm
(reservations are not taken except for the private dining room)
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