Sometimes, I wonder how some architects can even consider themselves educated, because some of them are so lacking in common sense and basic sensibilities. Just look at the "always-empty" Orchard Central. The architect(s) that designed this atrociously impractical and notoriously-difficult-to-navigate mall should be shot. Or sued.
If you are parked at certain levels of the carpark and want to get to the top floor of the mall, where the restaurants and sky garden are, you'll have to take the lift to the 4th floor of the shopping mall, walk over to the central lobby area of the mall, and then carefully switch to some lifts (because half the lifts serve certain floors and the other half serve the remaining floors). How stupid is the design of this mall? Seriously, a large part of great, awe-inspiring design is the functionality of that design. It's just lousy shitty design if it doesn't serve its function.
I mean, the shop lease turnover at this mall is so high because some shops hardly get any foot traffic due to the convoluted layout of the mall. Also, shoppers get so frustrated navigating the mall they just give up shopping there altogether.
We were at Orchard Central recently to visit the modern Italian restaurant, OChre. And yes, we had to take 2 different lifts to get to the restaurant from the carpark. Ridiculous. Well, we decided to brave the mess of a mall because I've heard good things about the food there, as well as the Japanese head chef being heart-breakingly good-looking. So I thought we'd go check it out.
While it was too bad that the said chef wasn't present that day, the food was indeed good. It didn't blow us away, but it was a very pleasant meal, with a fantastic chic and relaxed ambience and even better view. The restaurant was barely occupied, so it may have contributed to the private feel of the restaurant. Service was attentive but unintrusive.
We got a main from the ala carte menu, and the 4-Course Set Dinner ($68++) to share. There are 3 choices for each course in the set dinner, so it's really quite worth it. The chosen antipasti was the Fegato Grasso 'Padellato' (add $10) a hunky piece of foie gras, pan-fried and set atop a toasty pistachio brioche and served alongside balsamic strawberries and grapes. While the foie gras wasn't the most creamy I've tasted, this was robust and tasted more like duck than it did liver.
The primo course was the Risotto con Anatra Affumicata with smoked duck, radicchio and parmiggiano reggiano. The staff had very thoughtfully separated out the risotto into 2 portions for us. I always say, little gestures like this go a long way. This was nice, creamy and rich but never overwhelming or cloying. It could be that the portion was really quite tiny, even if we had put both our portions together, it would still have been a relatively small portion. Let's just say that this left us wanting. More, I mean.
The secondi was the Filetto di Merluzzo in Padella, pan-fried fillet of oily creamy cod matched with spicy squid ink sauce and sauteed diced zucchini. A safe but well-executed dish.
For dessert, we chose the Tiramisu al Te Verde tiramisu, green tea style. This was possibly the only dish that I thought was "modern Italian". The green tea powder snowed on top of the green tea infused mousse layers of sponge made me feel like I was eating antioxidants with my dessert. It's like the health benefits of green tea totally cancelled out the negative effects of sugar and butter and fat. I like desserts like this.
We got the daily special of freshly-made Ravioli del Giorno ($18 for 6 pcs), filled with minced pork and topped off with a basil tomato ragout. Pasta was al dente, filling was hearty and sauce was full-bodied. A dumpling version of spaghetti bolognese.
The Foccacia Bread Bowl was served warm, soft, fluffy and incredibly aromatic. Delicious. We got second helpings of this.
I thought the personalized table reservation card was adorable.
OChre Italian Restaurant & Bar
181 Orchard Road
Tel: 6634 0423
Open daily from 11.30am to 2.30pm for lunch; 6.30pm to 10.30pm for dinner