ok, you guys – we were surprised at this place. first, it’s a small italianesque menu in a restaurant first founded in korea. say what? and second, excessive use of that allium creates rather potent dragon’s breath – which isn’t the best thing for starting a night off.
so we entered with much trepidation and low expectations – all completely eradicated when the food started arriving. the food is remarkably tasty, the portions generous, and service staff friendly and enthusiastic (which made up for any hiccup).
the prices are rather startling when you first get in: it’s not exactly cheap dining – the pizzas and pastas might swing you by at slightly more than twenty a pop, but the meat dishes go high into the thirties. slightly incongruent with the rather mainstream middle-range restaurant feel of the place, and initially unappealing – but all’s okay when the food comes.
our starters set a positive tone for the meal: a seafood salad was strewn with lots of soft garlic cloves that were sweet and not-pungent, and mussels came in a punchy tomato sauce that was easily sopped up with bread. they were reasonably large portions too, and good for sharing between four.
pasta features high on the menu, either standalone as this tobiko-topped cream sauce variant, or aside meats for the entrees. all the noodles were expertly cooked, silky and long and not starchy, and this white sauce was just thick enough to coat the sides.
you must like rich cabonara-style pasta to order this – for it was as creamy as it was savory – but my sister wolfed it down, and it managed to stay highly-eatable till the end (always difficult with these potentially cloying dishes).
the meat-with-pasta dishes were just as good – though the noodles here are more simply dressed/sauteed, and a fitting side to the well-seasoned meat. we tried the chicken and two types of beef (though their exact cuts escape me at the moment) – all moist and tender and impressively well-seared; we certainly were not expecting this sort of quality, so it was rather more than a pleasant surprise.
and of course, all the noodles (and that fried rice at the bottom) have notes of garlic – which really makes sense given the name of the place. it’s definitely not for you if you’re sensitive to that ingredient, but otherwise it sure makes for tasty food.
this last scoop of vanilla ice cream was served with some sort of garlic dusting powder and a berry compote, and it was good – even if the garlic was indistinguishable from the generic vanilla. but it was sweet, and balanced, and rounded out the meal nicely.
it’s much better cooking than I would have thought to get from an establishment quite like this one: it’s set out as an open-concept restaurant in the style of fish & co, with booth seats taking up a majority of the place, and incredibly noisy families making up the clientele. take note of the higher prices too – but this is consistent with the quality of food that arrives (though a long wait might need to be catered for).
Mad for Garlic
#01-039, Suntec City Mall
3 Temasek Boulevard
tel +65 6238 1930
$$.5: depends on your appetite (of course), but this meal averaged to more than fifty a head for us