Porta’s Vegetarian European Cuisine Fused with Asian Flavours: Dining Review
On the ground floor of the Park Hotel in Clarke Quay is Porta, which literally means ‘door’ in Italian. This all-day bistro style dining enclave has a relaxed and warm vibe to it, offering modern European cuisine infused with Asian flavours, to appeal to both local and international tastebuds. Executive Chef Alex Phan and his team constantly seek innovative approaches to entice the palate of guests with new gourmet experiences, the latest addition to this being Porta’s vegetarian menu that has been recently launched in collaboration with Green Monday.
The Green Monday Menu at Porta seeks to support and raise awareness about a sustainable future by creating consciousness amongst diners regarding the benefits of green diets. The menu features 10 dishes to cater to its diners’ diverse dietary requirements and preferences ranging from vegetarian and vegan to dairy-free and nut free. Some of the dishes feature plant-based meat substitutes from Beyond Meat, Heura, as well as plant-based cheese from Daiya Foods. On our recent visit, we tried a few dishes from Porta’s vegetarian offerings that are part of their Green Monday Menu. Here’s a lowdown.
The Garden Salad (S$18) at Porta comes with fresh mesclun, cherry tomatoes, olives and Mediterranean Heura sausage, tossed with a light citrus dressing that hints at flavours of olive oil, lime and garlic. The Heura sausage looks deceptively real, so much so that we reconfirmed with the staff that they hadn’t mistakenly served us a chicken salad. The portion size is generous and this ‘meaty’ vegetarian Garden Salad should make for a good start to the meal for the chicken lovers and of course, for those who love their greens and vegetables.
The Burratina (S$22) is elegantly plated, with fresh Burrata on a bed of Roma tomatoes that are topped with a more than generous drizzle of basil pesto. The surprise to the dish is the interesting sprinkle of Shio Kombu on the Burrata. For the uninformed, Shio Kombu are thin sheets of kelp boiled in soy sauce, mirin, and sugar, then dried and cut into small pieces. The Shio Kombu, with its briny, mushroom-like flavour adds an interesting touch to the dish. The kombu is mildly flavoured and did not overpower the dish as I had expected it might. I am usually not a big fan of basil pesto but the freshness of the tomatoes and the light, fluffy Buratta add a good buffer and overall, I enjoyed the dish. Note: Please note that the Burrata at Porta uses animal rennet, making it unsuitable for strict vegetarians.
The Orecchiette Pasta (S$24) is a cream based pasta with wild mushroom, spinach and Beyond Sausage. The addition of shallots, garlic and bay leaf add an Asian dimension to the dish, that unfortunately, didn’t appeal to me. The pasta was also a bit too al dente for my liking, so if you, like me, prefer your pasta to be softer, do let the staff know beforehand. The dairy-based sauce can be replaced by an EVOO base upon request, to make the dish suitable for vegans.
A highlight of Porta’s vegetarian Green Monday menu is the Beyond Burger (S$29). The Beyond patty is served with Daiya Cheese and caramelised onions in a brioche bun, with fries and salad on the side. The patty is grilled well, the burger is hearty and delicious and the fries light and crispy, making this my favourite dish of the evening. The Beyond Burger isn’t vegan in lieu of the brioche bun containing egg, but you can opt to have your burger between gluten-free sliced bread or between lettuce leaves if you’re vegan.
Just as I was entering a deep pensive state of food coma, came the surprise treat. In my defense, I did hesitate initially, but the mention of ‘coffee-based’ and ‘dessert’ in the same sentence is too good to pass up on. The Kopi “O” is served in a coffee mug that you would normally see at a Kopitiam. The dessert is layered and you should cut right down to the bottom of the glass with each bite. The dessert consists of a dark chocolate mocha sponge cake (made with espresso and Malagos 75% dark chocolate), a layer of espresso jelly, and is topped with condensed milk that has been thickened with custard powder. The kopi is served with Butter Sugar Toast on the side and makes for a delectable treat that gives you a wholesome Singaporean experience. An absolutely delightful way to end the meal!
If you’re looking for a new place to enjoy a vegetarian meal, Porta makes for a nice getaway, with its laid-back vibe and quiet ambience making it conducive to a nice dinner conversation over some good food. During our visit, we saw couples across age groups, friends celebrating occasions together, business dinners, as well as foreign tourists, all enjoying their meals that evening. So, open the ‘Porta’ to this new and interesting plant-based experience right here in Clarke Quay.
Porta: 1 Unity Street, Singapore 237983, Park Hotel Clarke Quay. P: +65 6593 8855 | Website