Thursday, September 10, 2009

Review: District 10

I've noticed an interesting trend lately: old schools that have been sitting idle are being revamped and transformed into offices, usually with a flagship restaurant displayed prominently out front. La Villa where River Valley High used to be, Chalk at Old School, and the latest is District 10, which is located at (or in) the old Monk's Hill Secondary School.

Despite the lack of publicity (though there has been a review in the papers since I wrote this), District 10 is enjoying booming business, due mainly to a combination of location (near Newton Circus, ample carpark), cost (affordable food), and food (large portions and hearty food).

I suppose it doesn't hurt that they also have a large expanse of space in which to accommodate their patrons, both indoors and out. The outdoor area is actually quite a nice place to sit and enjoy a post-dinner prandial - the multiple standing fans ensure that you're never too warm, though I suppose that also depends on your circulatory system.

The mussels are not a regularly starter, or at least they weren't at the time. Sweet and tender, I thought they could have done with a little more white wine, but otherwise a very forgiving dish that usually goes down well.

The salmon pate is surprisingly delicious, given that I'm not usually a fan of fish. But the pate is served cold, and the refreshing, creamy, briny paste, is irresistible when paired with a crunchy, bite-sized croute.

The duck spring rolls tasted like spring rolls, and what caught my attention was not so much the spring roll but the salad, which featured sliced starfruit, not an ingredient one often sees in salads, but one which I think has much potential. Clean, juicy and slightly acidic, perfect.

District 10's menu consists mainly of straightforward, simple dishes like burgers, and pastas. The ribs are apparently a house specialty, slathered with grain mustard and enormous: rustic, "stick to your guts" food. Tender and filling, the ribs can easily be shared by two people, making them even more affordable.

My sister had the lasagne, which she said was quite enjoyable, though I did not attempt to verify this. It was probably a good thing she did not order her original choice, the duck confit, which, when a friend ordered it, turned out to be somewhat flaccid, lacking the crispy skin I am more accustomed to.

Desserts are a bit disappointing, though District 10 is not really a dessert place. Each time I've been here I've tended to order a chocolate gelato, which is not bad, but isn't spectacular either.

District 10 is a pleasant, laidback bistro that is affordable and large enough to accommodate big groups, with simple comfort food that should appeal to everyone. The menu is not particularly extensive, however, though it has been reported that they are planning on expanding their menu.

District 10
#01-17, 10 Winstedt Road
Tel: +65 6738 4788