It’s my favorite gay’s birthday. Happy birthday, Mr NGFL! May your butt remain perky, may you never need botox, and may you find your true love soon. May whatever Mr NGFL wants, Mr NGFL gets. (get it? Whatever Lola wants since we were at Lolla?)
As a birthday treat, we went to Lolla, not to be confused with Loola’s by Awfully Chocolate. For dyslexics, just remember, Lolla is LOL good! In fact, Lolla is among the best food we ate this year.
The industrial-chic decor is rather common these days: cement floor, clean lines and terribly good lighting. A small place, it is best for dates or two persons. Mr NGFL’s butt was too full to fit into uncomfortable bar stool but isn’t it the point of tapas places? For a high turnover rate. Clientele: When we were there on a weekday evening, the place was swarmed with gay men. As we know, gay men are the indicators of good taste. Let the gastrojourney begin!
Barring the breads and cold cuts, there are only 5 sections of the menu: eggs, vegetables, meat and seafood, and dessert. Each section only has 3-4 items to choose.
We started with the seafood and the sea urchin on black squid ink pudding was mouth-blowing and complex: it was almost dense, and almost smelly, and almost bad that it was so good. It was like a dare on who drives nearer to the edge and this dish won at the edge, without going over to the edge. Definitely a must order.
Not to be missed too was the bamboo clams with chorizo. Equally daring, the spongy clam and the heavy wafer-like, not-at-all-brittle chorizo were so kickass salty that the dish was delicious, having an umami feel. Another must order.
Because of our great expectations after the first two dishes, we were let down by the next two dishes. I didn’t think it was worth paying $22 for scrambled eggs topped with “poor man’s cavier,” which, frankly speaking, tasted like a less salty, more malleable, more shreddable version of the Chinese salted fish. The lamb shortribs were tough although the taste was wonderful.
The desserts were very nice, very accomplished but lacked a certain creativity.
Service: At most times, it was rather difficult to get the attention of the service staff although there were 4 wait staff for 13 customers. This situation can be frustrating for the hungry. Since it’s an open kitchen, why don’t the cooks take order and eradicate the wait staff?
Helmed by Chef Ming, a 26 year-old graduate from NUS Political Science, I was at first skeptical. I always believe that no matter how talented you are, experience in kitchen matters. Even a diamond needs to be polished: many chefs have sweated in kitchens their teens and only dare to open a restaurant in their 40s. You need to pay your dues. But Ming has proven me wrong. His talent is immense. The food was daring and dangerous, fierce even. This kid has a bright future ahead of him.
A hilarious incident happened with Ming. The waiter said to him, “Someone’s birthday today. She wants you to sing her a birthday song.” (Not Mr. NGFL, obviously.)
Ming said, “We can give her a free dessert but we DON’T sing. We DON’T do that here.” Haha. Ming’s cute.
With two sherries–I had Solear ($15, a white sherry, too sharp) and Mr NGFL, La Cilla ($17, very sweet)–we paid $182 for two. This price is way above Foodbar Dada, another tapas bar we went but haven’t reviewed (about $60/pax), and is even more expensive than Esquina ($80/pax), opened by Michelin-starred chef. Point-by-point comparison with Esquina, both Mr NGFL and I agreed that Esquina wins in terms of atmosphere, service and creativity of food. But the comparison is unfair since the Esquina management is a giant and naturally, the more powerful the company is, the better results you should produce. Actually, Lolla is good on its own rights and, under Ming’s leadership, will get to Esquina’s standards eventually. In fact, this is the best food we had since Esquina. We left Lolla happy.
22 Ann Siang Rd
T: 6423 1228 (No reservations)
Rating: 4.019/5 stars