Helmed by an all-star team – owner Julian Serna (previously the group bar mentor of The Lo & Behold Group), beverage manager Ricky Paiva (of Manhattan Bar fame) and executive chef Matthew Woon (formerly the group executive chef at The Loco Group) – Panamericana has been the hotspot on everyone’s lips since it opened in April. With the stunning view of the Singapore Straits from its Sentosa Golf Club location, it seemed that the bar and grill serving North, Central and South America cuisine has all the elements in place to craft an unforgettable dining and drinking experience.
The best time to visit is, undoubtedly, the magic hour at dusk, when the sunlight throws an otherworldly glow on the 6,000 sq ft space’s colonial chic interiors. Think Georgian tiles, wicker bar stools, and chandeliers hanging from the high ceiling. We settled into seats right by the windows to watch the sunset fade behind the horizon and clinked glasses of Paiva’s house-made White Wine
Sangria ($18/glass), which comprised a balanced blend of seasonal fruits, Pisco and Sauvignon Blanc, and the Grown Up Fanta ($18), a fun, fizzy tipple of aperol, orange, vanilla and Prosecco. The Roasted Banana Old Fashioned ($18), however, didn’t hit the spot – its banana and hickory chip-smoked maple syrup notes were barely perceptible.
We started with the Bar Snacks, but they didn’t do the job of hyping us up for the restaurant’s main fare. The Tripe ($9) – battered, fried, then tossed with a piquant spice – only tasted of batter. And while Chicken Liver ($16) with redcurrant jam seems like a no-brainer, we found the mousse pungent and heavy on the palate. The Tostada ($15), in contrast, was topped with a moreish mix of mackerel, coriander, avocado and lime mustard.
Many of the dishes were too heavy on the sour elements. The Rio ($14) salad of palm hearts, beetroot, aguachile negra, cherry tomatoes and herbs savoured too much of lime juice, while the cured beetroot cubes in the Kingfish ($20) appetiser were overly tart and lacked the beet’s characteristic earthy flavour. The Ceviche ($16), thankfully, piqued our palates with its crisp, slightly spicy and tart nuances, and its variety of textures from baby papaya, firm snapper slices, onions and coriander.
The centrepiece of the restaurant, other than the marble horseshoe bar, is the asador, a traditional Argentinian pit where slabs of meat are cooked in full view from the dining space. It’s a pity, then, that the Argentinian-style Lamb ($45 for 300g) didn’t boast the expected flame-licked flavours and aromas. The saltbaked Trout ($40) was slightly overcooked and the accompanying tomatillo verde was too mild to pair with the fish’s distinct taste. Skip the Scallops ($18) too; the molluscs were overcooked and too chewy. What was unctuous and melt-inyour-mouth was the
Bone Marrow ($14).
For desserts, we preferred the Corn Bread’s ($10) medley of accompaniments, including basil-infused sugar, strawberries and crème fraîche, though the bread itself was a tad dry. The Churros ($12), which we hoped were airy and crunchy, were too doughy to be satisfactory. For all the effort put into the décor and ambience, Panamerican’s lacklustre food isn’t quite the reason to entice diners to return.
FOOD: 6/10 SERVICE: 7/10 AMBIENCE 8.5/10 AVERAGE DINNER BILL FOR TWO: $160 MUST-TRIES: TOSTADA, CEVICHE AND BONE MARROW Sentosa Golf Club, 27 Bukit Manis Road. Tel: 6253 8182