Fusion food experiments for the open minded to wrap their tongues around familiar flavours in unusual environments. Is it enough to hold on to the business crowd? By S. Sakthivel
The CBD empties out at the stroke of 6pm — the well dressed undo their ties and let down their hair as they escape the doldrums of work. As the largely unoccupied eateries vie for a piece of the dwindling dinner crowd, Plentyfull has bravely thrown its hat in the ring with an ambitious dinner menu.
The fusion style immediately comes through with a cool plate of Tofu Caprese ($14) topped with the house speciality plum tomatoes. Brined and tart, the tomatoes, together with shallots and seeds, gave a flavourful twist to the plain silken tofu. A delicate start to the meal, but those looking for a bit more flavour might want to turn to the other starter options like the Little Farms’ Vegetable Dip ($16). The chargrilled vegetables — carrots, purple carrots, radish, and cauliflower — came with sides of hummus, carrot dip, and black garlic dip. The hummus was passable, while the carrot was a touch too heavily spiced. The black garlic is an acquired taste but it did delight with a tangy and pungent flavour.
Their ‘made from scratch’ ethos is showcased in the House-Smoked Mussels on Toast ($24). The in-house baked and toasted bread is topped with yoghurt, kimchi tomatoes and smoked mussels. The use of yoghurt was a little too heavy handed; seemingly masking the flavours of the mussels and tomatoes but its velvety creaminess was undeniable.
The Thai Roasted Chicken with Garlic and Cilantro ($24) was a surprise, still juicy and tender on the inside with a slight hint of char on the outside. While the chicken was commendably done, the sweet chilli jam (served as a condiment) was underwhelming. It could have used a little more oomph to complement the white meat. The Pure Black Natural Angus Strip Steak ($36) also deserves a mention — grilled to perfection.
The highlight, however, was the Pumpkin Pillow Gnocchi ($24), once again hand made from scratch, really captures the comforting, home-cooked feel that Plentyfull is going for. Stuffed with greens and pecorino cheese and bathed in luscious a brown butter and sage sauce, it would be great to tuck into in front of the TV or from a large bowl with the whole family.
Keeping with the vibe of its up-market locale in Millenia Walk, Plentyfull is a gorgeous space. Cosy booths, rustic wooden tables and chairs, a private dining room and dessert counter stacked full of sweet treats are definitely a welcoming sight. The music is also top notch; we are spared the usual Top 40 bilge in favour of Nina Simone and Tracy Chapman. But it’s a shame that no one will hear it, with only a scattering of patrons taking up some of the booths and not much else.
Plentyfull did impress with the steak and the gnocchi, but it is unlikely to warrant a visit for just those dishes. While their adherence to the ‘homemade’ ethos is admirable, it needs to be showcased more on the dinner menu. It is new, has an abundance of vegetarian and gluten free offerings, and rides the healthy and wholesome food wave but their fusion cuisine doesn’t really excite. The food offers some curious elements, but does not feel much different from those from many other similarly styled restaurants. It is worth a try if you are in the area, but the “star” dishes really need to shine if they hope to grab a piece of the elusive dinner crowd.
9 Raffles Boulevard