The term “power lunch” brings to mind images of Michael Douglas as Gordon Gecko in the movie Wall Street. The modern Gordon Gecko types would not feel out of place in Osteria Art, a swanky Italian restaurant right in middle of the Raffles Place financial district of Singapore.
“$100 dollars for lunch? It’s no big deal if you’re trying to make a million dollar deal” said Tim Zagat, the co-founder and CEO of the Zagat restaurant guide, in discussing power lunches. The only deals we, ordinary patrons, usually discuss are which restaurants have 1-for-1 deals. So we are very glad that Osteria Art offers a very good power lunch for a lot less than $100.
Osteria Art Italian Restaurant in Market Street is part of the ilLido Group. It was opened earlier this year.
The sleek classic decor of Osteria Art exudes elegance and charm. The black and white tiled floor, marble bar top, cherry wood shelves, stylish copper lamps, white table linen and leather chairs add up to give the place the feel of relaxed glamour. There are few bar tables in the non-air conditioned porch. The entrance leads to a bar lounge. The main dining hall is at the back of the restaurant.
The restaurant was busy during lunch time. We did not have a reservation and had to be contented with seats at the bar counter. As soon as we were settled in, bread was served with saucers of olive oil and vinegar. There was the typical “sparkling or still water routine” but they happily served plain iced water on request.
Osteria Art has a varied Italian menu with Antipasti, Pasta and Mains like Grilled Scallops, Veal Chop Milanese and Suckling Pig Porchetta. A set lunch menu is available Monday to Friday, 12 noon to 2:30pm. Called the Power Lunch, the 3 course menu of daily specials is priced at $35 per person. It allows you a choice of a starter and a main course. The dessert is fixed and the meal comes with coffee or tea.
We chose to start with the Cauliflower Soup. For the mains, we opted for the Grilled Seabass and Confit Duck Leg.
The soup was artfully presented. The Cauliflower Soup was creamy and had a nice consistency. It was topped with guanciale, Italian cured meat prepared from pork cheeks, which was crispy. The pork cheeks added flavour and an interesting rich textural contrast.
The seabass was very well done. It was nicely seasoned and grilled and was served on top of a bed of fennel. The fish had a thin layer of crispy skin and the meat beneath was firm but not flaky. The seabass was succulent and light with a fresh clean taste. The fennel added a sweetish herbal flavour and helped made the dish really delicious and enjoyable.
The duck was also excellent. It was nicely roasted and though the duck leg looked dry, it was crisp on the outside and moist and tender inside. Slivers of succulent meat were easily separated from the bone. It was also not gamey at all.
Dessert was a slice of mango cake which was beautifully presented. The taste was not bad. Coffee and tea were served with a bowl of nuts – and not just peanuts but sugar-coated roasted almond nuts in a stylish bowl. A nice touch, we thought.
We had a very enjoyable lunch at Osteria Art. Considering the prices charged by neighbourhood cafes for cakes and coffee nowadays, $35 for a starter, top quality main course, a slice of cake and coffee must be considered a good deal. Sleek elegant decor, comfortable environment, friendly attentive service, appealing food presentation plus good food – we are not financial geniuses of Wall Street or Raffles Place but we think the Power Lunch at Osteria Art is a great deal.
Overall Rating: 5 TOPs
55 Market Street