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When a restaurant dedicates more tables to its outdoor chill out patio than its main dining space, you wonder if the food is just an accessory. District 10, at UE Square Mall, is all fine food indoors, and bar grub outdoors (still under shelter). Closer to the kitchen is a stowaway den with an outdoor antechamber, meant for private dining. The centre of the restaurant is the culinary middle, where modern European furnishing in rich red timbre dominates after having undergone a recent renovation.
District 10 fancies itself a bar at the forefront, and its food seems neglected more by patrons than the kitchen. Chances are that you will succumb to joining the convivial crowd lounging in the outdoor patio – separated as tables and chairs and high stools typical of bars – an obvious affiliation to its Clarke Quay branch. While the latter probably sees a younger crowd, the UE outpost is more frequented by expatriates from the Mohamed Sultan area, which explains the football screenings. On Sundays, a reasonably large bouncing castle is set up for brunching parents with kids in tow. The heart of the restaurant is equally bent on alcohol, with wine glasses at hand. The tone though, still careens dainty. Portions are not for the romantic starving date nights but are more suited to married couples that want to be fed well, with pizzas and pastas as the focus. Already, the house bread tells you that. For something complimentary – the crackly sundried tomato bread is cup-sized, stuffed with feta, and comes with minced anchovies on the side – is over and beyond its duty. And it was one of the best things out of District 10’s kitchen. Appetizers are notably Italian, a natural inflection of head chef Luca Pezzera. Buffalo mozzarella cheese in a fist-sized mount with sundried tomato puree, perfumed by blades of shredded fresh basil. Along with peas, and good EVOO, this is an option that beats salads any time. It is slightly repetitive then, to see the deep fried basil as the garnish for a dish of spaghettini in a tomato-based sauce with lobster chunks. But it is how Italian food is – safe but good. The slippery angel pasta was a little wet, although the robust flavors more than made up for it.
After Work, Alfresco/Outdoor Dining, Anniversary, Birthdays, Business Breakfast, Business Dining, Chillout, Dinner, Girls Night Out, Lunch, Nice Deco, Night Out, People Watching, Romance/First Dates, Vibrant/Noisy
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