VLV: Homely fare hits the spot
Multi-concept hub VLV mixes showy, expensive dishes with simple, homely ones
The latest player at Clarke Quay is VLV, an ambitious multi-concept hub.
There is an alfresco courtyard bar, a lounge and soon, a riverfront dining area.
Dining comes in the form of a modern Chinese restaurant on the top storey.
I was impressed when I first stepped in. It is a beauty: The space is elegant and expansive.
It is perfect for a romantic dinner because VLV has pockets of dimly lit private dining spaces.
The menu runs the gamut of showy, expensive impress-your-guests-type dishes to simple, almost homely ones.
Personally, I'll take homely over anything, so I was drawn to the latter and they didn't disappoint.
Although the space suggests fine dining, some of my favourites here made me feel like I was at home in my boxers, chewing with my mouth open. And of course, that is the best way to eat.
The name - sizzling romaine lettuce ($24) - is as simple as the dish. It is basically lettuce in a claypot, with white bait and a shrimp sauce, but the flavours are deep, memorable and comforting. I was drinking up the sauce when I ran out of vegetables. It may seem a little too homespun for such an elegant place, but who cares? Good is just good.
The black garlic and sea whelk soup ($18 a portion) has a sweetness that makes me wonder if the chef used rock sugar. He didn't. The nuggets of black garlic add a seductive aroma too.
The kimchi seafood fried rice ($28) is lovely. The kimchi is subtle, but that underlying tart-spicy combination is addictive. And to keep the kids happy, there is a 63-degree egg sitting on top.
The Japanese calamari ($15) is found in both the dining and bar snack menus. The seaweed in the batter makes it just salty enough, the batter is crispy and the squid is juicy inside.
The black truffle roasted duck (half for $45) does not have anything to make it stand apart from other ducks out there. The use of truffle is not new. Still, the duck is plump and the skin is appropriately crispy. But there is just no sense of discovery.
WHERE 3A, Merchant Court
WHEN Noon to 3pm, 6pm to 11pm