IT feels like I’m doing the Singapore culinary scene a huge disservice by raving about an Orchard Road eatery rather than a fancy Michelin-starred restaurant or a zany cafe doing radical Blumenthal-like creations.
But The Provedore, perched above the busy Orchard Road footpath in Mandarin Gallery, is one of my favourite places to eat in Singapore and a location I try to visit every time in I’m the Lion City because it serves the fresh food I crave after being stuck on an international flight.
There are five branches of The Provedore in Singapore – with Raffles Place and Tangs two other handy addresses for tourists – but the fact the spot is a chain doesn’t detract from the appeal with the destination placing equal importance on the quality of food and aesthetics of the space.
The look is modern industrial meets country cottage with stadium-style lights hanging from ceilings left naked to show the bones of the building, white walls to make it feel light and bright, and tables and chairs made from unfinished wood to bestow a rustic feel.
The cafe is divided into three spaces with a deli counter to buy takeaway cheese and charcuterie, the dining room, and an alfresco area with high tables arranged around the edge of the balcony to let diners take in the Orchard Road bustle while eating and drinking.
While there are communal tables for big groups, smaller positions for couples and families, and a counter across the window that provides the perfect position for those dining solo I always find a seat on the balcony outside to enjoy the steamy equatorial climate.
The “main menu”, offered between noon and 10.30pm in this Singapore shopping mecca that’s always open late, is divided into categories starting with tapas and salads and continuing with pasta and rice.
There are also meat and seafood options – the day I visit coq au vin, roasted black cod, and grass-fed burger are the choices for carnivores – with a selection of sides that include grilled back bacon, breads with Providore olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and chips with chipotle mayonnaise.
I never make it past the pasta menu and while the pappardelle pasta, crab linguini pasta, and paella sound delicious I order the lobster mac and cheese which is the greatest version of this old favourite I’ve tasted on my travels.The drinks menu is just as attractive with The Providore’s own coffee blends, cold drinks including the cold-brewed iced tea that’s my favourite, smoothies, and freshly-squeezed juices.
“Here at The Providore we don’t just love food, we adore it,” a blackboard in the deli explains.
“The pleasure of discovering, creating and sharing food is what inspired us to develop The Providore food in all its forms – wholesome, traditional, innovative, nurturing and nourishing is what drives us.
“We aim to bring to the Singapore market the best of global and local produce.”