could-be-fantastic but falls-short-of-the-mark british cooking at this small restaurant in the club street stretch of eateries. I know there are people scoffing at the whole “british cooking” idea, but I think that’s a rather antiquated idea – it is possibly beyond doubt that it used to mean rather plain boiled meat alongside overboiled greens, but these days I would more readily associate it with a polished-up version of rustic comfort food.
which – I suspect – is where this place was heading for, but I’m not sure it succeeded.
let’s just start with how gorgeous this place in. friday night, the first floor bar was filled with a boisterous crowd of expats celebrating the end of the week, while we blindly made our way up the stairs (on a pure guess, because there were no staff around to guide us) trying to locate the restaurant – behind a white door on the second floor, if you’re wondering.
when you walk into the door, it feels rather like you’ve stepped into a restaurant in london – and for that my expectations and spirits rose.
we started with a complimentary platter of carb – slices of rather common hole-y bread and a yorkshire pudding, served alongside butter and a rather oily mix of garlic mashed in oil. the pudding was well-risen and brown-crusted, and interesting at least for rarity if not so much for taste.
but it’s a small menu of mains, rather pricey – and when it arrives, it barely feels worth it. the food is admittedly well-cooked: the chicken has a delicious skin and tender, moist meat (but very small and the ratio of meat to bone is pretty much half-half), and the skate-wing was also well-seasoned and simply seared for easily-flaked flesh.
served on a big white plate, you order your own sides to round out your dishes – and our sauteed mushrooms were meaty and savory. but I mean, come on. that’s a huge lot of white space, incredibly unappetising and miserly, to say the least – and distasteful despite the otherwise-satisfying flavors.
so while the food is decent, the place nostalgia-inducing and incredibly beautiful in my eyes, the prices not terribly unusual amongst the restaurants of its class – I doubt I’ll be returning. there’s better value to be got elsewhere, and at the very end of it, these simple dishes I can cook up myself.
Oxwell and Co
5 Ann Siang Road
tel +65 6438 3984
$$$: 50 each, with barely a main each and dessert shared
p.s. I don’t have a photo of the dessert we shared – which is unfortunate as it was the most compelling dish that night – a dense chocolate dessert filled with a tangy passionfruit puree. very delicious – but also very small, sigh.