Modern and stylish are words that come to mind when stepping into the newly opened Alba 1836 restaurant on Duxton Hill. Having read quite a good review, we decided to try out this Italian restaurant with our expectations rather high. The first impression certainly met those expectations.
Entering through a passage between two banks of wine cellars, you emerge into a sunbathed courtyard which is sheltered from the elements by a expansive glass canopy. We were seated in the main area that was just past the courtyard. The decor was dark and masculine with an aura of calmness, except that the calmness was broken frequently by the clatter of a crude metal wedge that was situated at the entrance from the courtyard to facilitate the entry and exit of wheeled transportation devices.
The three-course set lunch menu ($35) looked interesting and had four choices for each course.
For starters, we had the grilled Sardinian pecorino cheese, the octopus salad and the Mediterranean style seafood soup. We all liked our respective selections. The grilled cheese was a relatively unusual dish and in this case the slightly pungent goat cheese was nicely balanced by the sweetness of the fresh figs. The salad was fresh and zesty with the octopus cooked to a right about of chewiness. The soup was rich and flavourful.
For the main course, we had the grilled tuna tagliata style and the roasted baby chicken with Italian herbs. Both were served on a wavy type of plate which certainly looks interesting but calls for delicate cutlery-handling skills especially when tackling a subject like roasted baby chicken. The tuna was a bit mushy and was tasteless although that was rescued somewhat by the smoked eggplant mash which had a smokey complex taste. We felt that the roasted baby chicken was too dry. Chicks ought to be more tender and delicately treated.
Rounding up lunch, the panacotta with wild berries was enjoyable and so were the coffee triramisu and fresh fruit berry salad with mint ice cream. The ice cream was singled out for praise for its creamy ‘mintiness’
Overall, apart from the disappointment with the main course, the most part of lunch was enjoyable. The setting is quite impressive although the whole dining experience would be improved if the professional serious looking staff could up the smile quotient a tad.
Food : 3
Service : 3
Value : 3
Atmosphere : 4
Overall Rating : 3 TOPs
Average price per person for lunch – $48
28 Duxton Hill
Tel : 6222 2048
Mon-Fri : noon – 2:30pm; 6:30pm – 10:30pm
Sat : 6:30pm – 10:30pm
Nearby Stations: Tanjong Pagar, Outram Park