I’ve been spending quite a bit of time around City Hall, only because it’s really near everywhere I need to be. Dinner at Tess Bar, at Thirty Eight Seah Street, seems almost inevitable, viewed in that way. They have just overhauled their menu, and have introduced a couple of new options.
For starters, we shared roasted brussel sprouts and baby octopus – liking the former much more. The sprouts provided a great crunch, their char pairing well with the cheese and nut dressing, whereas the baby octopi turned out a tad too chewy and underseasoned.
While the braised pork with apples sounded really appetizing on the menu, it ended up tasting like a half-hearted attempt at westernizing a Chinese soup. Or the other way around. Either way, it was mediocre in flavour and overly tough in texture. Quite disappointing. What stood out most was the potato gratin, despite one or two slices being undercooked. That bechamel sauce was pretty delectable.
Faring much better was A’s seabass, baked en papillote, recommended by the staff. Flaky, delicate white fish enhanced by a generous bed of garlic, herbs, chorizo and clams, that produced a very mop-able sauce. It wasn’t quite revelationary, but more comforting instead.
Drinks are the standout at Tess – I thoroughly enjoyed my Lychee cocktail – whereas the food is often overpriced but underdelivers. Hailing themselves as a “drink-centric but food-centered concept”…If only they could just make the food taste as good as it sounds.
Tess Bar & Kitchen
38 Seah Street