Panamer­i­cana

Epicure - - CONTENTS - EUNICE LEW

Panamer­i­cana

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

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