We were at S.wine in Publika some weeks back, seeing that Publika seems to be the “in” place to chill-out and dine these days. What with the The BIG B.I.G Weekend happening there these 2 days, I’m sure many foodies are heading there.
So, let’s see what S.wine has to offer.
Housed in a corner inside Ben’s Independent Grocer, you will be greeted by one hunk of a black swine at the doorway and then a row of pink piggies line the top of a counter inside, with a solitary black one somewhere in the middle. I think these must be one of the most photographed group of piggies around!
We were there pretty early, because we heard that the place can be really packed. Looking through the menu, and because we were famished, I was tempted to order almost everything there! But then, the cheerful wait staff told us, one after another, the dishes we wanted to order, were not available! Bummer! We wanted to try the Warm Pork Confit, Watermelon & Lychee Salad but was told the pork confit was not available. So we had to settle for the Parma Ham, Arugula and Peach Salad (RM19.90). We wanted to order a slab of pork ribs but was told that would take another 45 minutes to be ready. So we had the Pan-roasted Pork Chop (RM26.90) instead.
The Parma Ham Salad … well, I wished the ham portion could have been a bit more generous and perhaps arranged a bit neater on the plate. I can’t recall the taste of the dressing – I think it was just balsamic vinegar and olive oil … so it was a bunch of arugula, pieces of canned peaches and the thin parma ham put together on a plate. Tastes and textures were contrasting but it’s a good start to the meal.
Having heard so much about the momofuku-inspired Pork Buns, we just had to order it. It came in a bamboo basket, two pieces of sinfully fatty lardy pork belly which had been braised tungpo-style. This is one dish only for the absolute piggy-lovers … those who love swallowing soft melting porky fats down their throats straight into their arteries. I took only one bite of this and that was really enough for me. The boys liked it though.
Unfazed by the porky onslaught, we braced ourselves for the next 2 pork chop dishes: Hainanese-style Pork Chop and Pan-roasted Pork Chop. Pan-fried pork and slathered with a thick sweet-sour sauce with frozen green peas and corn – it’s not my preferred choice of pork chop but again, the boys seemed to like it. The pan-roasted pork chop was served with a thick creamy sauce and sauerkraut by the side. The sauce was a bit too rich for my liking but the pork was tasty and well-flavoured and the tangy sauerkraut kinda offset the richness somewhat.
Spicy Bacon & Mushrooms Pasta (RM26) – I liked the flavours of this pasta dish… it’s done aglio olio style with smokey bacon pieces, chunky mushrooms and chilli flakes. But I wished they had gone easier on the olive oil (it’s still oil!) – there was way too much oil in it…. There was practically a small pool of oil at the bottom of the plate after we have finished the pasta!
Chunky Pork Meatballs (RM15.90) – We decided to try one more dish since we couldn’t have the pork ribs. And wished we didn’t. The Chunky Pork Meatballs were just mediocre and didn’t spring any spark anywhere.
We’ll go back and try to order that elusive slab of pork ribs some day… after the crazy crowds have dispersed from the BIG Weekend!
S.wine @ Publika Cafe Deli @ Ben’s Independent Grocer
Publika, Solaris Dutamas
Open daily: 11.00am-10.00pm (weekdays)