Friday, May 30, 2008

Figs & Olive: Sign of Peace

Almond Milk

Close-up of the almond milk

Having heard some raves about the simple good food at Figs & Olive, I decided to check out the VivoCity branch. The atmosphere there during late afternoon hours on a weekday was simply perfect. After avoiding the noise and cramp from the busy lunch hour crowds, I felt totally at ease with the good food and sea view to enjoy.

If you are the sort that likes to try everything but do not want to end up over-ordering or overeating, Figs & Olives have the perfect solution for you. I am that sort so I was delighted to find a combination dish that will allow me to try two dishes in smaller portions with a side salad. Don't think that Figs & Olive model themselves on the French, reliving the miniature petit portions phase. They don't. The portions were only smaller portions of what would be served if you ordered each dish seperately as a main. I ordered the dory fish with creamy mushroom sauce and tomato pasta with a side salad. The food was simple with good flavours that were not too complex. Think simple good food. Presentation was pleasant and clean. Dory with creamy mushroom sauce(white) on one side, red tomato based pasta on the other side and the side salad adorning one corner of the big white plate.

The dory fish was very fresh and well-seasoned with herbs. It was well-cooked too. I tried the fish on its own and was very happy with the smooth texture and flavours of the fish. The natural flavour of the fish was enhanced by the herbs. The creamy mushroom sauce served atop it was delicious as well. It had the herby aromas and chunky pieces of mushroom that I loved. The mushroom provided bite to give the contrast in textures with the smooth taste of cream sauce and texture of fish. It was quite light and not overwhelmingly creamy that I could eat the sauce on its own! My only fault with the dish: I felt that the creamy mushroom sauce and its overload of black pepper overwhelmed the delicate natural flavour of the fish. Only stronger flavour meats like red meats will be able withstand the dominating creamy mushroom sauce. However, both the fish and sauce were tasty enough that no one would mind this method of serving fish unless you like your fish al naturale.

The tomato based pasta was good too. The spaghetti had a good bite and had a flavourful olive oil taste. There was something else that made this pasta delicious but I can't seem to put my finger to it. Praise goes out to the sauce. This Mediterranean pasta sauce met the basic requirement of a pasta sauce. Unlike many places serving pasta in Singapore which tend to serve soupy pastas, the chef had the sense to keep the tomato base to a SAUCE and not a SOUP. Soupy sauces do not give pastas much flavour as they are normally too watered down or thin that you will need to gulp down spoonfuls of the sauce for the pasta to have flavour. However, at Figs & Olive, the sauce was thick enough to coat the pasta properly to give the pasta the intense tomato flavour. Two thumbs up! I am proud to say that you will only need a fork to eat this pasta.

The salad was a disappointment as it was just a bed of salad greens with rings of onion flavoured simply by olive oil sitting at the bottom of the greens. The salad greens also had a bitter aftertaste that I did not relish. I had higher expectations of the salad. Perhaps a dash of balsamic vinegar would add the punch that is desperately lacking in this bland salad.

For drinks, I ordered almond milk. Something that is not quite expected of a Mediterranean Western restaurant. It was not extraordinary but nevertheless, still good. It reminded me of those sold in bottles at the Gilman Village Coffeeshop.

Service was good once I forgave the beginning when there wasn't any wait staff around to show me to a table. Had to stand at the entrance for quite awhile. After that, it was OOH-LA-LA. The service was so good that I had ice water served without asking and even before asking. Though I had the almond milk, my glass of water was also refilled frequently that I never had to ask for water. Figs & Olive is a casual restaurant serving simple and good food. Definitely a place for a relaxing, casual and nice meal with friends or family. Good food, good service and good view. What else can anyone ask for?

Food: 3.5/5
Ambience: 4/5
Service: 4/5
Price: Approximately $30 including taxes for a main and drink. Reasonable.

1 HarbourFront Walk
VivoCity #02-116
Singapore 098585

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