Housed in a heritage-rich space, the Asian dining concept packs a punch with local dishes
Before one steps foot into Po, one is first greeted by the majestic sight of matte black wheels hanging off high ceilings, illuminated by dangling bulbs.
The heritage-rich yet undeniably hip Warehouse Hotel is an elegant interpretation of the area’s seedy past — a hotbed of secret societies, underground activity and liquor distilleries along the Straits of Malacca trade route.
Po is the marquee restaurant of Warehouse Hotel.
Modern Asian with a local heart
As such, its not hard to imagine what its marquee restaurant Po might serve.
Asian cuisine with an impeccably local flavour is what one can expect, along with a beverage programme that nicely reflects the key eras of the property’s past, such as the old spice trade and its reputation as the ‘Spirits Distillery Street’.
I nursed my thirst with the Kaya Lumpur ($19), a fun cocktail that turned out to be one of the best kaya-inspired drinks I’ve had.
There was neither heavy coconut cream nor overwhelmingly sweet kaya. Instead, each sip was a refreshing blend of pineapple rum and citrus, with a lingering kaya aroma at the end.
Po, as you’ll soon realise, is the pinyin (transliteration) of the Chinese word for grandmother. Although in all honesty, the dishes aren’t exactly your simple home cooked fare.
Their signature menu item is the humble Popiah, which comes in elevated variations.
Their signature menu item is the humble Popiah (from $28), which comes in elevated variations including tiger prawns ($38) and fresh flower crab meat ($58).
A tiny instruction card accompanies the popiah platter as it is served — for tourists presumably, and guests assemble the popiah according to their preferences.
While various components like stewed vegetable filling and crispy flatfish were flavourful, the prices were a little steep for a DIY popiah party.
Unless you’ve never assembled your own popiah and are looking for that novelty factor, we recommend going for their other dishes.
The Carabinero Prawns & Konbu Mee is a stellar interpretation of the Hokkien Mee.
The Carabinero Prawns & Konbu Mee ($32) is a stellar interpretation of the Hokkien Mee, offering bits of pork belly and crunchy sakura ebi in every mouthful.
The umami-packed flavours of the rather wet egg noodles is made even more intense with the accompanying carabinero prawns.
I found myself favouring the Ngoh Hiang ($15), which features handmade bean curd skin wrapped with five spice pork filling.
Unlike the usual ngoh hiang served in a roll, their version comes in wonton-sized morsels, which means more crispy edges to munch on. For the best experience, dip them in the accompanying sambal sauce.
For those dining in groups, the Paper Spring Chicken ($49) is a good dish to order.
The classic Cantonese dish is remade with a whole spring chicken marinated with Shaoxing wine and sesame oil marinade, then stuffed with glutinous rice, conpoy, Chinese sausage and mushrooms.
On the whole, Po hits the right notes with its modernised hawker dishes, even though some creations don’t quite leave an impression.
320 Havelock Road