In a cosy basement along Ann Siang Road, we close off the year with small plates by one of Singapore’s most promising chefs.
New Head Chef Johanne Siy is making quiet splashes from Lolla’s kitchen, spinning the restaurant’s Mediterranean cuisine her way. Chef Jo has accolades that detail stints in New York’s at Le Bernardin and Cafe Boulud, Sweden’s Faviken and Copenhagen’s Noma and Relae, and it shows – her food showcases nuances of globalisation, and a respect for seasonal bounty.
For the autumn menu, we’re left with an indelible impression of her approach to seafood. The Spot Prawn Crudo is a delicate celebration of seafood’s natural flavours. Japanase amaebi is served with sea urchin and Oscietra caviar with house-made ponzu and spring onion oil that lends a balanced acidity.
Avoiding food wastage in the most delicious way possible, the prawn heads are fried. The sweet, crunchy and briny bits are plated alongside a piquillo pepper aioli dip and a slice of lime in its follow-up dish. Another two-parter dish centers around mussels sourced from France’s northern region. Simmered in apple cider Normandy-style, it arrives on a bed of celeriac puree, mussel broth and dill oil. The piping hot broth is served next, on its own.
We also loved the Oyster, Oyster, Oyster. The triple play on the mollusc incorporates oyster leaves and king oyster mushrooms. and works in white wine butter sauce and a drop of basil of oil for acidity.
For meat, the Australian Mayura Wagyu delights. The Wagyu cattle that is famously fed with chocolate shines in the tartare’s natural sweetness. Exceedingly tender with enough of a bite, it’s lifted with bitter herbs and grated horseradish and an oyster aioli as a twist on the classic steakhouse pairing of beef and oysters. Scoop it all up with Jerusalem artichoke chips for crunch.
From the same sirloin, we have the tri-tip, which is a triangular piece of muscle at the tip. It’s served with cacao nibs and grilled Swiss Chard that represent the cow’s primary diet of bitter greens and weeds. The result is a steak that nails the winning balance of fat, rich flavour and tender texture.
As a bridge between the seasons, Chef Jo plates up Berries and Flowers with two types of strawberries from France. The Mara des Bois is a full-flavoured and plump fruit while the Fraises des Bois is acidic and sweet. She showers the same respect for these delicate berries as she does with the rest of the menu. They are served with a light fior di latte ice cream, which is pure dairy and gelato in its simplest form. A hazelnut oil lends a layer of nuttiness with edible flowers and pollen for a farewell to summer.
To best enjoy a slice of Lolla at home, order the truffle-topped Basque burnt cheesecake. The oozing, creamy middle with the deep muskiness of the truffle shavings is a lot for one’s tastebuds to take in, so go easy when loading up your plate with a hefty slice. The savoury twist on this lockdown favourite is the brainchild of co-owner Thaddeus Yeo. There’s decadent, and then there’s this cake. We can’t think of a better way to bask in this festive season.
Lolla, 22 Ann Siang Road, Singapore 069702