The Place There is one restaurant at the back of my mind for the longest time, Lolla at Ann Siang Road. I didn’t know why it took me that long since the restaurant has been around for about 3.5 years. Located within a shophouse setting, Lolla spots an industrial chic look, one of my favourite interior design styles. The space at Lolla is intimate, with a 14-seater bar table on level one where you can watch the chefs at work, or you can walk down to the basement to be greeted by a long communal table which can accommodate about 22 diners. Yes, secret underground dining has always been my penchant.
The Food The concept of Lolla is to encourage communal dining and sharing of plates, hence the general small plates serving we get. I underestimated the small plates, thinking that it will probably not even fill half of my stomach but I daresay that the plates are generously packed and filled with ingredients for every order we tried. You won’t really feel that short-changed for the above average price tags. Afterall, this is one restaurant which takes strong pride in its fresh and seasonal ingredients.
This is the first time Lolla is introducing a Sunday Brunch menu, with a mix of some of its classic dishes and brand new dishes specially curated for brunch. We started with the Cashew nut milk (S$9) drink, something different from the usual espresso or latte. I love nuts, but I wonder why most cafes have never thought of offering a nutty drink on their menu. This drink was a great start to the meal; the nutty content wasn’t too overwhelming, which made it an easy one to down.
I wasn’t kidding when I told The Rantee that I can visit Lolla just for its toasts and butter. I was controlling myself from reaching out more of the Toasted sourdough with kombu butter (S$7), which was so rich and delicious that it rendered the sourdough redundant at some points.
The kombu butter raised the bar at the onset, without me realising that the Chargrilled sourdough with hazelnut butter, rhubarb conserve and ricotta (S$12) was on a par or even better. Hazelnut fanatics will love the rich and generous slab of the nutty cream over the bread.
For a healthier balance, the crunchy Deep fried radishes and parsley (S$11) won’t go that wrong. Otherwise, I am always game for the Grilled avocado (S$17), which is stuffed with mince bits of tiger prawns and bread crumbs.
Seafood lovers should not miss the all-time favourite dish at Lolla, the Sea Urchin pudding (S$42/full portion), whereas the half portion is available at S$22. I have heard so much about this dish, but seeing is really believing, and tasting is really convincing. The rich umami flavour of the Uni (Sea Urchin) was unmistakable and it was like an instant self-justification that the high price tag was justifiable for that occasional indulgence. Dig deep into the cup as you savour this delicacy, as you will be surprised by the black pudding at the bottom like I did. Don’t wonder what you are putting into your mouth, it is squid ink pudding mixed with egg and cream.
Other seafood options include the Stuffed squid (S$26) and Crab lasagne (S29).
You may be asking where is the eggs benedict or pancake, but you won’t be able to find these on Lolla’s brunch menu. We really ought to get over these mainstream brunch offerings and move on. The Baked Shropshire blue cheese omelette (S$19) is the best answer to satisfy those eggy cravings. I am not a blue cheese lover, but this dish was acceptable for me as it wasn’t pungent at all.
For meats, we tried the Bacon steak (S$19) and Beef tongue hash (S$28). The former was first smoked, cured then chargrilled to the slight crisp texture, while the beef tongue hash comes topped with a sunny-side up egg. Both of these dishes are rather heavy on the palate and I can’t imagine myself having it all alone, highly recommended to share amongst three or four people.
Desserts at Lolla are nothing fanciful as well, not in a bad way. The Doughnuts with lemon curd (S$12) is probably one of the sweetest option on the menu.
My personal favourite is the Smoked dark chocolate ice cream (S$9), something so simple yet unique in flavour. The supplier of the ice-cream here is by the ever-popular Creamier, where they curated this Smoked dark chocolate ice-cream flavour exclusively for Lolla after countless fine-tuning and test trials.
Chocolate lovers are in for another treat with the Steamed dark chocolate pudding (S$15), an all-so-rich combination paired with the Madagascar Vanilla ice-cream, also by Creamier.
What’s a good Sunday brunch without some booze? Lolla has an extensive wine and champagne list. In addition to the Wine Spectator awarded wine list, the beverage menu also features brunch favourites like Mimosas and freshly squeezed slow pressed juices.
Rants There’s not much of a dining privacy here if that’s what you are looking for since it’s pretty much an open concept/communal dining. That said, it’s not a big issue for me as I love the ambience here.
Will I Return Again? It is difficult for a restaurant or café to stand out for its brunch menu as it gets pretty repetitive for me after a while. It is heartening to learn that Lolla sticks to its principle of keeping its food good and simple without conforming to the current food fads, curating a brunch menu which runs strongly in theme with its current offerings. I am glad I made it to Lolla, and I can’t wait to bring my friends back.
Make your reservation instantly at Lolla here.
Taste bud: 4/5
Hole in the pocket: 4/5
Overall Experience: 4/5
22 Ann Siang Road
Tel: +65 6423 1228
Monday to Saturday: 12pm to 2.30pm; 6pm to 11pm
Sunday Brunch: 10.30am to 3pm
Ranted by The Ranter