We were looking to avoid the weekend crowd thronging the Orchard malls, and Mitzo, hotel Grand Park Orchard's Chinese offering, fit the bill. The hotel, despite its central location, is markedly underrated, and its standalone structure meant that it has a near-zero shopper traffic. Mitzo, hidden in the bowels of the hotel, is consequently devoid of crowds.
Cladded in blacks, greys and rich jewel accents, Mitzo is dark and sleek and sophisticated. And with tables spaced a good distance apart, it'll make a wonderfully private date-night. Not so much for big noisy gatherings though, as the ambience is serene and hushed; and most diners here converse in soft tones.
Excellent atmosphere aside, Mitzo's contemporary Chinese cuisine was a mixed bag; while there are a couple of memorable highlights, there were a few dishes that missed the mark.
A must-try, the Black Truffle Crispy Roast Duck ($38 for half) was intoxicatingly fragrant. The cardboard-thick skin, lined with slivers of fat, was resoundingly crunchy. The meat was luscious but the breast portion bore just the slightest hint of game. The sauce, a thick concoction of duck jus and truffle bits, was pure heaven. We couldn't get enough of that.
A signature, the Mitzo Special Barbecued Pork ($18) was indeed fantastic. Burnished with blackened charred edges, this was beautifully caramelised and sumptuously honeyed. One of the best renditions around.
Another superb dish was the Oven Baked Chilean Seabass ($36), glazed with a lemongrass and chilli-ed spice. This was fatty and flaky and had a restrained nuance to it.
The Homemade Egg Tofu ($26), topped with crabmeat and shimeiji, and set in a pool of spinach sauce, was a miss. The crabmeat looked like it was of the frozen variety, a big no-no in my book; and to exacerbate matters, the spinach sauce was just weird. Sometimes, a modern twist on the classics fares winningly, but other times, it's better to stick to the traditional, and this was one of those times. I would have preferred poached spinach draped in an oyster sauce gravy.
Ditto for the Braised Vermicelli ($28) with scallops, prawns, and cod fish. It was an awfully confused dish. The braising collagen broth was far too milky, and the flavours of leek, dried chilli, roasted garlic, and ginger clashed terribly; there were too many conflicting flavours, at least 2 of those seasonings needed to stay out of this dish.
The Braised Crabmeat Soup ($14) with dried scallops, fish maw and bamboo pith, was disappointing as well. There was this artificial, alkaline element that was off-putting, and again, the crabmeat tasted frozen.
The spiced nuts ($5), dressed in a seaweed pepper, was delightful.
Mitzo Restaurant & Bar
Grand Park Orchard Level 4
270 Orchard Road
Tel: 6603 8888
Open daily from 12noon to 2.30pm for lunch; 6.30pm to 10.30pm for dinner