The Place Surviving six years along the highly competitive Hong Kong Street is no easy feat, and FOC Restaurant is a strong survivor. It was full house on a weekday evening, and I immediately felt the vibrant dining atmosphere upon entering the restaurant. With a focus on Barcelona cuisine, the open kitchen is where diners can gawk at the fresh produce on display, and the bar counter seats offer the best view of the kitchen action. Otherwise, there are regular tables for bigger groups.
The Food Tapas style fun fine food is the main direction of the cuisine, with Barcelona-born Group Executive Chef, Juanjo Carrillo with over 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry, under its belt. For a start, the Smoked Cantabrico Anchovies (S$9/2 pieces) on Charcoal Brioche with Salted Caramel Butter is delish. Strong flavours here and given that I usually find the smell of anchovies too strong, this tapas version is well-balanced.
Another tapas I had was the Blue Belly Shrimp Crispy Tacos (S$10/2 pieces) with Avocado Mousse & Green Apple. The tacos element is a touch of Latin- America, and I like the crispy crispy taco shells along with the smooth flavours of the avocado mousse and fresh green apple.
One of my favourite dishes, the Manchego Cheese Churros (S$14) with Black Truffle Cappuccino is a nice twist on the conventional churros! This is a savoury version as the cheese churros is served with the delicious “cappuccino”.
Vegetarians options are not to be neglected on the menu at FOC. The Rantee loves the Roasted Leek (S$12) from Australia, served with crunchy Hazelnuts and “Romesco” sauce. It is definitely not as boring as my initial thoughts about a vegetarian dish, as I did realise at this point that the flavours of the dishes here generally come across as punchy, and I like that. The hazelnuts are a delight as a complement to the leek.
Another vegetarian dish I had, the Seasonal Tomato Salad (S$18) with Pickled Onion & Smoked Anchovies is a balancing act. This is probably the lightest dish I had for the night, and it paved the way for what lies ahead.
One tapas off the menu I managed to have was the Carabinero with caviar. Check with the team if they serve this dish on the day, and the way to enjoy it is to bite into the head of the carabinero topped with the luxe caviar, before enjoying the rest of the fresh meat.
One last starter before the carb dish, no regrets having the Japanese Tuna Tartar (S$28) with spring onion, soya caviar and avocado. It comes with slices of thin crisp bread, and the tuna tartar here is packed with much flavours. I wish it is my daily bread spread. This dish is part of the FOC Specials menu.
On to one of the main highlights of the evening, the Boston Lobster “Arroz Caldoso” (S$68) is a must try in my opinion. While the price tag looks daunting, the portion is good for 2-3 people. It is a deviation from the usual paella, as “Arroz Caldoso” literally means brothy rice and I very much prefer this to the much drier texture of paella. While the huge lobster is definitely adds to the icing on the cake, the rice on its own is actually very good as it soaked up the luscious flavours of the seafood well.
Save some space for desserts at FOC. I am typically quite neutral towards desserts, and the ones I tried here left an impression. The first dessert I had was the Lemon Pie “FOC Style” (S$12) from the FOC Specials Menu. It is somewhat a deconstructed version of lemon tart, executed brilliantly with matcha sponge, pistachio, lemon and meringue. Every element tastes good, and perfect when taken together.
The second dessert I had was the ‘Cafe con Leche’ (S$12) with Coffee Mousse, Milk Ice Cream, Butter Cream & Brownie Crotons. Another Spanish learning opportunity, ‘Cafe con Leche’ literally means coffee with milk, expect that this is presented in a deconstructed fashion.
For drinks, the Unbeli-bubble concoction surprised me with its lavender bubble that unveils herbal & floral aromas of the Manzanilla Sherry and Gin.
The wine menu will see a substantial increase in numbers and variety, presenting labels from Spain, as well as new and old world.
Rants From a diner perspective, it may be confusing as to what each FOC outlet (there is also a FOC Sentosa) is offering differently.
Will I Return Again? Overall, the dishes I had at FOC Restaurant are very good. Strong flavours in general, coupled with a vibrant dining vibe.
This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.
Make your reservations instantly at FOC Restaurant here.
Taste bud: 4/5
Hole in the pocket: 4/5
Overall Experience: 4/5
40 Hongkong Street
Tel: +65 6100 4040
Tuesday to Friday: 12pm to 10:30pm
Saturday & Sunday: 5:30m to 10:30pm
Closed on Monday
Ranted by The Ranter