Noa Lounge is a new Mediterranean concept that opened in the commercial lots of the Mondrian Singapore Duxton facing Neil Road. Part of the Barmuteary Group, the same group behind nearby Olivia Restaurant, Noa Lounge has a wider scope in terms of its culinary offerings in the sense that it has ambitiously taken on the whole Mediterranean region.
With a menu spanning as far east as the Levant and as far west as Spain and Morocco, one can indulge in mezze for starters, fresh seafood for mains and French-inspired desserts to end the meal. The kitchen is helmed by Chef Alan Devahive who is also from Olivia and also had a 10-year tenure at Michelin-starred elBulli in Spain. Supporting him in the kitchen is Chef Victor Sia who is the head chef in Noa.
Entering the restaurant, one gets smitten right away by the beautiful interiors. I was invited to dine at the restaurant during their 5th day of operations and was given a quick tour by the restaurant manager, Catalin Firanescu. Although essentially possessing one dining hall, each corner of the restaurant is a nod to different parts of the Mediterranean. At the far back is a small Moroccan room with small tables perfect for chilling and drinks, while the main bar area is a tribute to Spain’s bar culture. At the far corner, the wall alternates between mirrors and green grills as homage to French terraces.
While the menu is not particularly wide, the carefully curated selection brings together some similarities from the region. One example is the use of pickled vegetables in salads.
We started off with some mezze. Noa has a number of dips for starters including the Mediterranean Mezze Platter (S$62) which showcases 4 different dips but as there were only 2 of us, we opted instead for the more modest Muhamarra with Mint and Pine Nuts ($9) which is made of bell peppers. A selection of Pita Bread (S$12) is ordered separately.
An appetizer I wholeheartedly recommend is the Noa Bomba Crispy Meatball with Harissa and Allioli ($16). With the founders’ Spanish roots, one can expect the Spanish dishes to be executed very well. The bombas came crispy and I could not help but slather the accompanying harissa and creamy alioli sauce which were quite addictive.
The seafood dishes are also not to be missed. Top of the list is the the Roasted Black Cod with Green Mojo and Leeks (S$48). The soft and delectable morsel was literally swimming in the green mojo sauce which reminded me a bit of chimichurri – but a wetter version of it. Pictured above is a half portion.
Alternatively, there is also the Charcoal Grilled Salmon with Chraimeh Sauce (S$37). At first glance, you wouldn’t think that the fish is actually grilled as the meat fibers easily fell off with the strike of a fork and it was heavily drenched in the sauce. I’m more used to eating salmon dry so the chraimeh sauce, which originates from North Africa, was a new thing for me. It added a tangy and slicy element to the fish.
Red meat lovers can choose from lamb, beef and pork dishes. The Iberico Pork Cheek Skewer ‘Marraquesh‘ (S$36) came recommended. While I appreciated the tender nature of the Iberico pork, I found the meat a bit over-seasoned. The skewer also came with a small bowl of couscous on the side which was deliciously flavorful.
Anothe Spanish dish in the menu is the Barbecue Rice Scampi Spanish Style (S$65). The dish reminds me of one of Olivia’s iconic dishes, the Black Rice with Carabineros. In Noa, they use river prawns instead. But the underlying rice is cooked in a similar manner – Spanish style so some grains still retain that undercooked texture.
We ended the meal with a delectable Black Lime and Grapefruit Tart (S$14). While tarts are a common European creation, I rarely see it topped with grapefruit, or in this case, with pomelo pulp. It made for quite a refreshing end to the meal especially with the underlying black lime filling lending an extra zest to the already zesty grapefruit.
It is still early days for Noa Lounge but I imagine this to be an all-day dining / drinks destination. While they are open for both lunch and dinner, they also open well until midnight with a resident DJ dishing out tunes from a booth high above the restaurant.
83 Neil Rd
Open Wednesday to Sunday, 12PM to 12AM