Since the reopening of Suntec City after a year-long (felt like forever, though) refurbishment in 2013, the crowds seem to have diverted from rat-plagued Marina Square to the newly renovated mall (have you been there yet? It’s massive). While a small part of Suntec City is still preparing to open to shoppers, most of the shops have already started operating. with some located at the inner part of the mall opening as late as this month.
And one of them is District 10, a rather cozy-chic restaurant serving modern European cuisine in a casual yet sophisticated al fresco and indoor setting. Formed in 2009 and headed by Chef Luca Pezzera, District 10 has 3 other outlets in Singapore and one in Medan, each bearing a different theme. While these outlets offer the usual pub fare like burgers and fish and chips, the latest addition at Suntec City – which had only started on the second week of September – specialises in dry aged meat and provides a more upmarket choice of food and wine.
Just to sidetrack a little, the name District 10 brings me back to those days when I worked as an assistant to an estate agent who dealt primarily in private properties in prime areas like this district (or D10, one of the 28 districts in this city-state), which encompasses affluent neighbourhoods such as Bukit Timah, Holland Road, Orchard Road and Tanglin Road. Although I have no idea how the name of this restaurant came about, I think it’s highly possible that it was inspired by the real district 10 in Singapore, thus explaining the overall classy look and tone of the branding direction.
A considerable area of the 1,800 square-foot restaurant is devoted to the outdoor dining area as seen above. Designed and built by A D Lab’s leading architect, Warren Liu, the al fresco bar is the one and only with synchronised tole featuring logs in Suntec City and a series of movable and scalable cabana-like broad-seat open houses – a first in the mall.
Getting to District 10 was a bit of a hassle for me because it’s quite a distance from the MRT exit and since it was tucked right behind a long stretch of unopened shops, I nearly missed it. I wanted to take a shortcut but it was during the week of the F1 Singapore Grand Prix so almost every corner of Temasek Boulevard was sealed off – gah! I’m sure getting there would be a lot easier now, though.
Upon arrival, I was served the Zonin Prosecco, a sparkling wine which takes its name from a little hill-side town near Trieste, in Friuli Venezia Giulia (Italy). The must is obtained from gently pressed grapes and it has a pale, straw yellow colour with subtle green hues with a persistent perlage (the chains of bubbles that ascend towards the surface of the wine) and rich mousse. It was pleasantly tannic with a fruity fragrant, all while revealing an abundance of almonds and fresh citrus notes. One of the milder wines I had that evening, it was surprisingly gentle on the palate and easy to drink for wine beginners.
This wine is best paired with caprese salad, crab cakes, pan-seared salmon with lemon and basil, chicken pesto with angel hair pasta or all your fine desserts.. or this near-impeccable canapé right here:
This fancy-looking tartlet is a French specialty. Tender and well-salted, the shredded duck meat had a great consistency of fat and meat. Without a robust flavour on its own, it allowed the sweetness of the fig jam to stand out more. Further, the crostini added some crunch to the soft and moist texture of the duck confit and also gave it a bit more depth. However, I’d prefer the crostini to be slightly smaller so that the entire thing could sit comfortably in my mouth (since canapes are supposed to be eaten in one mouthful).
Following that, the guests were ushered to the indoor dining area. Gracing our table top was a bread basket featuring a few slices of crumbly sun-dried tomato bread. They were more dense and chewier in texture as compared to most sourdough bread I had, and hence were relatively easy to pry apart. Tomato puree was also pulped into the corners of every slice, giving it a deliciously tart finish which sort of opened up my appetite.
To further enhance the flavours of each course, savoury wines were served alongside the food. The finest selection from the Zonin family, these wines were the highlights of that evening and were carefully paired with a customised menu from the restaurant. Each dish came with 2 wine accompaniments.
Like Prosecco, Aquilis was named after the village it originated and is made only once every 2-3 years. It has a golden straw-yellow colour with green hues and its smell renders a wonderful balance of citrus fruit and minerals with subtle savoury notes and white rose. On the palate, the wine was dry, medium-bodied and discernibly piquant. Having said that, it kinda grew on me and I later found myself sipping quite a bit of it.
The Sicilian name of the commonly known as “ansonica” in Italy, Insolia has straw-yellow shade with verdant hues. The wine is described to have a tropical aroma of minerals, apples, tangerine, creamsicle and flowers but somehow what I got was a rather sharp and pungent smell, almost likened to ammonia. It is dry with a syrupy texture and had refreshing citrus flavour reminiscent of tangerine combined with almond and stone minerals, leading to a long and crisp finish.
The prosciutto was quite a rousing start and it actually went well with the sun-dried bread. In paper-thin slices, the dry-cured ham was soft with an incredible melt-in-your-mouth texture. It was salted but not too overwhelmingly because the tomatoes had helped to offset a bit of it.
Not being familiar with San Marzino tomatoes, I had initially mistaken it for apricot jam because of its sweet and hint of tart flavours. These tomatoes are, in fact, naturally sweet with low acidity because they are grown in the rich volcanic soil at the base of Mount Vesuvius. But despite how differently they taste from normal tomatoes, they, too, share similar cancer-fighting properties! Wow, pretty sure fussy eaters wouldn’t mind having them on their plates!
Elegant and refined, the Chianti Classico is a feminine style of red wine. It has a brilliant ruby red colour that tends towards garnet. Delivering a rich aroma of berries with underlying notes of sage, spice cake and earth on the nose, the palate is enlivened with cherry and exotic spices by this vibrant and medium-bodied wine that offers a delicate and polished tannins finish. It is a lot sweeter than Riserva below.
Presenting a lovely ruby-red colour with orange hues, the nose is pronounced with subtle red fruits and clear notes of violet, wood, spice and earth. It is rich and medium to full-bodied (definitely more velvety than Classico above), complete with hints of berries, herbs, spice and minerals on the palate that finishes with robust tannins.
Topped with deliciously chalky Parmesan cheese flakes and tender shredded duck meat tossed in tangy tomato gravy, the Pappardelle was like an elevated version of the Fettuccine served in entrée portion size. The flat pasta noodles were cooked perfectly as they were dense and firm to the bite. However, we felt that there wasn’t much flair to the plating because the abundant of oil at the side wasn’t very aesthetically pleasing.
This wine offers a dark ruby and purple colour and delivers rich leather notes, spice, dark chocolates and spicy tobacco on the palate. Medium bodied with a long and velvety soft finish, the nose displays black cherry and rich ruby red plum notes with strong zesty orange.
A top-grade wine that was last made in 2011, I was lucky enough to try Alturio Refosco as it is relatively uncommon with limited quantity available in the world today. Assuming a dark ruby-purple and nearly opaque appearance, a delightful combination of plum and dark cherries with hints of rich milk chocolate, jasmine and spiced herbs greet the nose while the juicy cranberry, roasted coffee and big chewy tannins tickle the palate. Very flavourful, indeed! It was undoubtedly the best wine of the evening. You could tell the quality of the wine just by the taste of it. It is divine, smooth and supple with medium-bodied weight that leads to a long and mineral-driven finish.
Of course, with great wine comes great food, so we were not a bit surprised by the choice of food pairing for Alturio Refosco.
Visually appealing with taste to boot, the grilled black angus OP ribs was the star of the menu and the best protein dish I had in years. Neatly sliced to reveal the glistening rare-done rosy-red center, it had the optimal balance of the fat and meat to give a buttery, sashimi-like texture. The steak was seasoned perfectly and crispy on the edge, displaying great finesse. It was so succulent and on its own, you could eat it without the Rosemary glaze! Seriously, one of, if not the best, I’ve tasted in my life. This dish took me to the heaven and back, I kid you not.
As a prelude to our desserts (well, not really), we nibbled on some crispy beef skin which tasted really salty. This was probably some impromptu snack whipped up by the chef to tease our taste buds because it wasn’t on the menu.
And finally, a dessert wine to match with the final course. Light straw-yellow with golden reflections and a delicate mousse, the Moscato has a typical fresh and intense scents of peaches and exotic fruit. It is luscious and light-bodied with a lingering fresh, fruity and aromatic flavours that reveal its varietal characteristic.
The dessert wine was a fantastic accompaniment to the tart which was unbearably sour on its own. But the wine managed to tone its acidity down a lot when consumed consecutively, and instantly transform this acetic dessert into an even more indulgent dish. Sprinkled with gold leaf, it was served in a generous portion with its cross-section of savoury berries visible on both sides. The vanilla ice cream added a satisfying flavour dimension to counteract the tartness. But of course, it wouldn’t be enough to mask substantially, thus I’d suggest you get a bottle of Moscato to go with it.
Apart from alcoholic beverages (all sorts! Beer, vodka, champagne… you name it, they have it), I believe they do serve tea as well but you may have to enquire about it since only alcoholic drinks are listed on the beverage menu.
On the overall, the food was top-notch, albeit pricey. But if you’re looking to unwind after a hectic week, District 10 serves as a magnificent getaway place for an intimate date with your beau, or a gathering spot for you and your pals!
Have you been to any of the District 10 outlets in Singapore? Let me know your thoughts! 🙂
Thanks for reading!
District 10 @ Suntec City
3 Temasek Boulevard, North Wing
#01-514/515 (near Fountain of Wealth, outside Tower 2 office lobby)
Monday to Sunday: 11.30am – 11.00pm
Lunch: 11.30am – 3.00pm (last order at 2.30pm)
Dinner: 6.00pm – 10.30pm (last order at 10pm)
Tel: 6822 2886
Click here to view other outlets
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