Of Whim and Wine

Jimmy Jacob        Print Edition: Mar 16, 2014
Of Whim and Wine
Asian Goddess with Corn and Tofu Cakes.

The sparkling new Liquid Hour Menu at Diva Kitsch could have been spun out of thin air by creatures dabbling in gossamer wings, honeysuckle and dewdrops.

That's not to say there's no meat to sink your teeth into, but the dainty bites -meant to go with an eclectic set of cocktails - do have the restaurant's signature fresh and flirty feel. A smattering of blues and pink over the predominantly white decor throws a glow over alcoves arrayed with a variety of seemingly random knick knacks.

Diva Kitsch is quaintly decorated with colouful bottles and exotic picture frames moss.
Take a closer look and you will be charmed by the care that has gone into picking the brightly painted milk bottles and delicate perfume vials. The one element that adds a touch of tongue-in-cheek bling to the serene harmony of the decor is an extravagantly lit up bicycle.   

Indeed, with a name like Diva Kitsch, the restaurant has pulled off a quirkily refreshing twist on the done-to-death concept of kitsch.

I can be trusted to make a beeline for red meat at any given joint, but here I would have chosen to spend the entire evening with the Panko crusted Asian-style Arancini. The crisp shell of the Arancini, perched on mayonnaise dusted with sesame seeds, has a sticky filling of ricotta cheese and rice. I'll let your imagination do the rest, picturing the gentle surge of the chilli garlic flavour on your palate. If you're just feeling peckish, try the fox nuts and cashew tossed in the special kitsch rub.

I emptied out the entire bowl while sipping on the Asian Goddess - a divine concoction of prosecco, lemongrass, kaffir lime and litchi. Though its sharp tang did hit the spot, I would have liked the litchi flavour to be more pronounced. The mildly spiced burnt garlic and soya chilli prawns, well paired with the almond and chilli paste, are sure to be quite the crowd pleaser.

Bloody Beer with Lemongrass Chicken Sliders.
The lemongrass and Thai red chilli scented chicken sliders with peanut mayonnaise did not boast of robust Oriental flavours, but was a fun addition to the menu. I would wolf down a few any day just for the lovely peanut mayonnaise. The pork and beef sausages in a thick jus had a hearty homemade flavour accentuated by caramelised onions. Halfway through the meal, I realised that I had eased into the feel of the place - it envelops you unobtrusively and seeps comfortably into your veins.

Zen martini with Tartlets filled with greens in coconut-peanut dressing moss.
The next libation was the spunky zen martini, with heavy doses of wasabi and pineapple - a brave combination that works well. This we washed down with chips - an interesting mix of potato, lotus stems and glass noodles. The super-soft corn and tofu cakes were accompanied with a creamy mango chutney that lent an unusual edge of sharpness to its flavour. The tartlets, studded with greens tossed in coconut and peanut dressing, happened to be my second favourite; these had an eminently crunchable base and a creamy filling.

Rummy Monsoon with home-made pork and beef sausages-moss.
The only rustic Indian element in the menu was a surprise - flaky Malabar parantha with delectable Asian-style beef cooked to perfection. The accompanying mustard leaf slaw with hints of green apple beautifully offset the spiciness of the beef, and proved to be the perfect companion to the bloody beer. What's that, you ask? Well, it is an interesting take on the Bloody Mary - complete with tomato juice, tobasco and the mandatory dash of worcestershire- that I will definitely add to my list of favourite cocktails.  

All good things come to an end, but I'm not complaining because the final flourish was a chocolate marquise, a quenelle of melt-in-the-mouth chocolatey gooeyness!

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