Aaahhh…Parliament House! No, it’s the old Supreme Court.. No man, it’s City Hall… AllAboutSix squabbled whilst strolling along them structural mammoths, awed by its powerful origins and swooned by its historical aura.. which incidentally is the name of AA6’s project for the evening. Located on the 5th floor of what is now the National Gallery of Singapore, Aura’s location is anything but ordinary, especially since this building was pretty much a restricted government sanctuary until recent times. After some clumsy navigation, we finally arrived at the pearly gates of this bearly one-month old Italian eatery… The restaurant’s facade looked pretty cosmopolitan, and the interior felt stylish but comfortable…. Not “in-your-face” Italian per se, but certainly sophisticated enough to impress and cosy enough to hang. Our hosts, Just-Eat-Lah & KitCat, cleverly arranged a nice corner table for our dinner rendezvous, perfect for that evening as Aura seemed to be running a full house. Happy chatter filled the air whilst cheeky clinks of wine glasses sweetened the atmosphere for a start to what might be an exquisite evening.
Grilled Octopus with Crispy Egg and Corn
Creamy Crab Cakes with Fava Bean Salad
Parma Ham with Burrata and Cherry Tomatoes
Scallops Crudo with Truffle and Smoked Quail Eggs
Tagliolini with Scampi and Avruga Caviar
Linguine with Clams and Bottarga
Black Cod Baked in Cartoccio
Iberico Pork Chop Milanese, Parma Ham Sauce
Red Snapper with Oyster Caciucco and Kale
Amedei Chocolate & Banana Cake
Bailey’s & Hazelnut Feuillantine
Mango & Coconut Trifle
Molten Chocolate & Red Berries Cake
(1) Place 7.0- Dropped off in front of “Parliament House”, and strolled along the majestic sidewalk opposite the grand Padang, this was our awe-inspiring path as we scurried along to find our Aura… On arrival the restaurant’s facade looked pretty cosmopolitan, and the interior felt stylish but comfortable…. Not “in-your-face” Italian per se, but certainly sophisticated enough to impress and cosy enough to hang… Cool! I was happy with what I saw… (2) Taste 6.2- Oooei.., nice bread! Already my third time chanting about Aura’s excellent Focaccia bread basket even before defining my main course. Toasted crisp on the outside with a light coat of olive oil and grated truffle, fluffy and soft on the inside with just the right amount of saltiness to swizzle your palettes. Dipped in a tinge of olive oil doused with vinegar, the taste and texture was uno-perfecto as a pre-starter starter. To optimize our taste experience, our host arranged a variety of entrees for sharing. The Scallop Crudo with Truffle and Quail Eggs was absolutely delightful… this gorgeous dish scores high on freshness of ingredients, taste and texture. The Parma Ham with Buffalo Cheese, a common Italian starter was also fresh and tasty but a little stingy on the cheese. Crab cakes were… err… sorry I don’t remember.., but what I do remember was that the Octopus dish was a complete disaster both in taste and texture, especially since Octopus meat should firm to the bite and not mushy. As for the mains, I thoroughly enjoyed my Tagliolini with Scampi and Avruga Caviar. The pasta nicely al dente, the scampi fresh and firm, and the sauce rich and creamy with just the right viscosity. Unfortunately the other pasta dish, Linguini with Clams and Bottarga failed to impress any of the Sixers. Other mains that followed were also hits and misses, but one dish that stood out proper was the Iberico Pork Chop, which was served lightly breaded, complete with juicy squirts on each bite from the well seasoned, slightly pink flesh… Magnifico! But at the end what absolutely stole the show were the remarkable desserts. The greedy Sixers ordered all six varieties in the menu, and thank goodness for such sinful gluttony as all six desserts were spectacular. No need to elaborate as each had its own unique excellence, hence you can’t really make an order mistake in this category… (3) Service 7.2 – The Italian waiter who served us was friendly, knowledgeable, quick and attentive…, even arranging a change of scenery at the rooftop lounge for our dessert course. Subsequent staffs at the lounge were also delightfully friendly and accommodating to our kooky whims and fancies…Excellent service in my books.! (4) Value 6.7 – We ordered alacarte this time, but made mental calculations and figured out that the final cost would work out about the same as the four course set menu @$80/head. For a quasi fine-dining Italian dinner at an upmarket location in Singapore, this price is quite acceptable in my opinion, and certainly reasonable enough to suck me back again for another Aura tryout with hope that it can impress me further second time around.
(1) Place 6- Aura’s decor is simple and classy; unpretentious and cozy. The place is good from a business lunch to a parent’s birthday, an unintimidating first date to a girls night out. It was crowded the day we went but somehow, one feels neither claustrophobic nor disrupted in the packed room. The roof top Aura Sky Lounge one floor up is breathtaking with its view overlooking the Padang open field and out into Singapore’s admittedly gorgeous evening skyline. Sit indoors or out, both areas are tastefully set up and relaxing. (2) Taste 6- Some hits and some misses. We took in most of our server’s recommendations, but for me, only a couple of dishes lived up to his advocacy. Best dish – the Scallop Crudo with Truffle and Smoked Quail Eggs was perfectly executed. The scallops were fresh and sweet and the accompanying flavors were distinct yet not overwhelming. What a star appetizer to begin with! Delicious! My main course, the Black Cod baked in Cartoccio was highly recommended but failed to impress. In my head, I was expecting a fat sweet juicy block of black cod gliding off as I sink my knife in. Nope, didn’t happen 😞! The fish was cooked and served wrapped up in a cute little paper pouch. The server snipped the top off to reveal a few cod slices swimming amongst some vegetables. It was as unexciting as it looked and tasted, which was bland. After stealing bites from my fellow diners, the Iberico Pork Chop Milanese will very likely be a repeat order on my next visit. The pork steak coated in fine crumbs was fried to medium rare, yielding a crispy skin with pink flesh that was tender and juicy! Excellent! The Tagliolini with Scampi and Avruga Caviar was the better pasta between the two we ordered. The other, Linguine with Clams and Bottarga was forgettably ordinary. Desserts were a different story. After trying 5 out of their 6 desserts on the menu, it was hard to pick a favorite as they were all uniquely good! In the end, it was the light, not-too-sweet, classic Tiramisu which won my heart with its perfect texture and extra crunch from the chocolate and biscuit crumblies that accompanied the cake. The Mango and Coconut Trifle was a close second! Meraviglioso! (3) Service 6.8- Very good service. Attentive, knowledgeable, efficient, friendly and smart group of people running this place. Despite a full house, there was no panic, hiccups, delays or miscommunications throughout our entire evening. (4) Value 6.2- SGD100/person. We were initially undecided between the set dinner and ala carte menu, obviously hoping to get the best value for our dollar! But as it turns out (after going ala carte), prices are reasonable. I would undeniably score this higher if all dishes had worked out… But even though I did not like everything I tasted tonight, its nice to know that I can return to discover other choices without having to break the bank.
Tonguerchi says… (1) Place 7 (2) Taste 5.5 (3) Service 7.5 (4) Value 7
Hunting down the elusive entrance hidden behind massive colonial columns reminded me of that movie sans the statue of Ape Lincoln, but the high was lost once we entered Aura.
A FLAT FIVE IN THE FACE REVIEW
No smells. That was weird. I thought I’d lost my nose. You see the breads you see the food you see restaurant but you don’t smell the kitchen. Guess that’s why it called Aura👀 and not Aroma👃.
I felt like I should have dressed the clinical part in starch pressed black and white formals and low heeled pumps. Too stiff and uppity to activate my neurological sensory biased appetite. I didn’t even salivate. Actually it is aptly confined in a museum-like time capsule tomb where people have forgotten the meaning of food. Someone offed and suffocated my rainbow😩.
Overall solidarity of pompous bland overly obsessed etiquette plated with mildly restrained constraints of unsalted flavor. Kinda felt like a visit to the lawyer’s office. No curls no waves. No frills no rides. No curves no edges. No no no no. Ok. Except I wouldn’t be so harsh on the service/scallop/my porkchop. And desserts were the only reason why I even remember being there. 🔪
Tutu Kueh says…
(1)Place 7.0- First look at the place and it will remind you that you are in a Michelin starred restaurant. .very well decorated and tastefully done..low ceiling but you don’t feel claustrophobic whatsoever. The roof lounge is spectacular and a must to bring any visitors from out of town. The view there captures all of Singapore’s iconic structures in one view….Marina square, the Wheel, the Sands and the financial district all in 180° view. A must be seen place for high power lunch meetings. Overall a cosy and stylish dining room and a wowww factor upper deck lounge for after dinner drinks is must have. (2) Taste 5.5- Kinda disappointed with the taste from the start.. struggling whole night to find the little something to separate them from the rest of the Italian restaurants locally. After 3 courses I couldn’t remember how the 1st one tasted as it was just forgettable. Everything just tasted …nice lor ….but nothing was outstanding or was it different from any other Italian restaurants. They need to improve on their cutlery and plating skill.. no woww factor at all. I must add that is the pork chops…. nicely done and juicy with a little pink in the middle. We had our dessert at the upper deck and that obviously the best way to do it. Desserts were good…something I haven’t had in other restaurants and a great job they did. Special mention to the banana cake which is a must try.. for me this dessert alone will score 8 points. Overall taste is a good but not great!!!! Unfortunately la. (3)Service 7.5- Looks like Michelin star restaurant, feels like Michelin star restaurant. Impressive sevice with more ang mos servers then locals. Very attentive and at least 2 to 3 servers attending to one table. Starters came out 5 mins after the orders were put in. All mains were served at the same time and the staff remembered whether who is sharing the dishes together (4) Value 6.5- Must say that was a surprise to see the bill around $100 each. For that experience at a $100 each is definately worth while as one would have paid $160 each without blinking an eye. The view at the top deck in the evening is already worth abit even before you chow down. Lastly, To be really safe and not sorry..go for the $80 course set dinner. At that price. …no brainer!!! CAIO
(1) Place 7.0- It’s Aura!! Well named indeed! Situated in our Singapore National Gallery (City Hall). The resturant is on the 5th floor and the Sky Lounge is on the 6th floor which has a beautiful view of the Padang area, excellent place for drinks before or after dinner. As I walked into the resturant, I’m soaked up by the stylish ambience with low ceiling, yellowish lightings and a prominent long bar..makes me feel cozy and comfortable. (2) Taste 6.0- 2 types of menu,set for 4 course or Ala carte,we decided on Ala carte for variety. For starters,we had the crab cakes, crab meat wrapped with breadcrumbs thats coated with black squid ink and baked till its crispy. I luv this dish, soft on the insides so you can really taste the crab meat and crunchy on the breadcrumbs soaked with squid ink, Yums!! Next, we had the scallop Crudo with truffle and quail eggs was excellent! The scallop was done so nicely raw with freshness and paired beautifully with the truffles and quail eggs, its a must try dish. Oh,not forgetting the homemade Focassia bread that was served to us was deliciously baked to perfection! The Parma Ham with Baffalo cheese was ordinary to me though … I had the linguine with clams (clams flown in from Italy!) for my main dish, it is flavourful to taste and the clams were juicy and succulent as I’m a vongole lover😘to start off with, so to be fair its quite ordinary.Another mains was the Iberico Pork Chops with Parma Ham Sauce,ok..this was the highlight of the night!The pork chops was soo..good,panfried to perfection! Tender and juicy, bursting with flavour enhance by the parma ham sauce,great combination!👍The Black Cod baked in Cartocio was a disappointment as the cod was abit flat for my taste. Desserts was so good,we ordered and tried all in the menu,my favourite was the Mango & Coconut trifle,light and refreshing!! (3) Service 7.5- The service staff in this place are all well trained,very attentive and polite.When we went to to Sky lounge for drinks and I was feeling slightly cold the waitress came and offer me a shawl to wrap around.This is service! They will periodically ask for feedbacks on their food and drinks too! (4)Value 6.5- For the ambience and place, $$ and service. Yes, I’ll definately go back again, it’s a excellent place to dine and host your guest!
(1) Place 7- Situated in the old Supreme Court, Parliament House, City Hall..never mind, the current National Gallery of Singapore, the aptly named restaurant retains an aura of serenity nestled in the aged-old building which saw countless numbers of National Day Parades. The relatively new restaurant felt stylish and comfortable with simple retro decor but bright enough lightings to see how the food looks and what patrons are putting in their mouths. A full-house evening didn’t feel claustrophobic as tables were spaced far-apart enough and our corner table didn’t make the next door patrons needing to hear our conversations nor us theirs. The haze lifted and the panoramic view of the CBD skyline was there for all to see from the Sky Lounge upstairs… (2) Taste 6- Focaccia bread was served hot, soft and fluffy inside and seconds were ordered. Starters included lightly seasoned Hokkaido Scallops Crudo with Truffle and went quite well with the tangy sweet pomegranate seeds and puree sauce and quail eggs. Octopus with Crispy Egg and Corn, as well as Parma Ham with Burrata were not spectacular. Red Snapper with Oyster Caciucco and Kale was fresh and aptly paired with the oysters. Iberico Pork Chops were succulent, juicy and done just right while some of us preferred the Tagliolini with Scampi over the Spaghetti with Crab and Porcini. All desserts were wonderfully delicious while the Bailey’s & Hazelnut Feuillantine and crunchy tiramisu were distinct in their own taste, strong in flavor but light without feeling overly rich. (3) Service 7- Knowledgable, attentive and efficient staff whilst we adjourned upstairs to the sky lounge for desserts amidst a full house at that! Blankets provided if cold!!! Bravo!!! (4) Value 6- Ambience, service and view with decent food. Not mom and pop’s prices..just look at the starters’ averages.. $$$$
Aura @ 1 St Andrew’s Road #05-03 National Gallery Singapore, Singapore 178957