There is a certain sense of comfort when familiarity meets expectations; in our minds, we have affixed where the best Hokkien Mee is, or if Katong Laksa is truly the best one served in Singapore. Being adventurous with restaurants may not always end well. However, Lolla @ Ann Siang Hill has proven to us that bravery may be duly rewarded.
Former owners of Le Bistrot, they have stayed true to their mantra of serving quality produce in bites of joy. The kitchen is headed by Chef Tan Huang Ming, whose innate passion for the culinary world translates into a menu of innovative delights. The Sea Urchin Pudding ($19) is a perennial favourite at Lolla whose name gravely understates its potential flavours on the palate. Portion of umi was more than generous, and when taken with the squid ink infused savoury custard, gives diners a sample of the exotic underworld.
The Braised Beef Tripe ($23) also deserves a spot on your dinner table. First braised in veal jus to lock in an intense flavour, the tripe is then charcoal grilled for an added smokiness aroma. The result is akin to candied-bacon, with the outside seared to a nice crisp and yet juicy and tender in the centre.
But it was Lolla’s daily specials that left an indelible impression on me. “Daily specials” are a tricky business that mostly go south due to time constraints in perfecting the dish, especially when seasonal produce is used. I absolutely loved the Beef Tallow on Toast ($17), which gave my morning staple of Kaya toast a run for its money. Think high-end garlic spread with the use of beef tallow, lending a more robust flavour on the crispy toast.
The Quail’s legs and Cranberries ($26) was just as delightful, with the inclusion of cranberries adding a tad of a Christmas feel. Chef Tan was careful not to overcook the quails, ensuring that the meat is both tender and juicy. Another daily special that fared well was the Suckling Pig with Caramelized Apples ($24). The pork skin was crispy, albeit could have been a thinner slice to allow more crunch; and the caramelized apples adding a slight tinge of sweetness to the pork.
Desserts at Lolla are not to be missed. Their signature Smoked Dark Chocolate Ice Cream ($9), made exclusively for them by Creamier, is a real treat. The smoked flavour gives a deep roast to your dark chocolate, adding a bold aromatic tone to the dark chocolate. Both a simple and elegant way to end the meal. Doughnut with Lemon Curd ($12) is Chef Tan’s remake of the traditional profiteroles. The doughnuts are light and fluffy, and the rich lemon curd on the side lets you decide how sour you’d like your desserts to be.
It comes as no surprise that Lolla made it to Zagat’s 10 Hottest Restaurants in 2013. With its fashionable food concepts housed in a chic underground space, it breathes new fun to communal-style dining. When at Lolla, spice your meal up with a special or two. After all, comfort can also be found in new experiences.
NB: This was an invited tasting.
Lolla 22 Ann Siang Road Singapore 069702
Tel: +65 6423 1228
Opening Hours: Mon - Sat Lunch: 12pm – 2pm Dinner: 6pm – 11.45pm