5th Quarter or Quinto Quarto in Roman showcases a menu revolving around a luscious array of cuts that are derived from all parts of an animal. And i mean all.
Elements of smoking, curing and pickling is used in a surprising array of dishes including a rum-cured Pork Belly, Salt & Pepper Tripe, and even the selection of desserts. Using classic curing techniques with the aid of modern instruments to maintain the integrity of flavours, American-Italian Chef Drew Nocente shows off his knowledge of cured meats in his extensive selection of house-made charcuterie.
We started off the gigantic meal (be prepared for a mouthwatering long post! haha) with some Apple Fennel Dough and Smoked Lardo. The lard was a wonderful change from butter and strangely had an even lighter texture with a slightly smokey aftertaste. It went beautifully with the fruity flavours of the freshly-baked bread.
Next, the Chef Selection of 5 types of Charcuterie. That day we had Oxtail Rilette, a spectacular Pâté, Duck Prosciutto, Coppa, and Lardo with Truffle Honey and Chilli. The ones that stood out for me were the Pâté which was exceptional in flavour and had bits of tender meat mixed in with the fat which gave it great texture as well as the Lardo which tasted nothing like fat and was deceptively light, smooth and firm soaked in the goodness of truffle and honey.
Next up, my personal favourite dish on the menu. And I didn’t believe anyone could make me LOVE tripe but Chef Drew worked a miracle. The Salt ‘N’ Pepper Tripe was one of the main highlights for me. And what made all the difference was the fact that he had sous vide the tripe till it was soft before deep-frying it a delicious golden brown accentuated with salt pepper and a sprinkling of Sze Chuan pepper for that extra kick. I couldn’t get enough of this.
Just as I was still reeling from how good the tripe was, this arrived — the Pork Tail, Confit Lemon and Cucumber.
Another part of a pig I never thought I’d enjoy but this proved a mouthful of crispy, chewy awesome. Really unique textures and flavours that went wonderfully with the pomegranate cream and the light crunchy radish. But i had to save my stomach for more and looked around for what came next.
The Beef Tongue, Onion and Wasabi was interesting for me. I’d had gyu tongue at Japanese grills and restaurants and the flavours here were similar but the tongues had a really soft texture. It’s not for everyone though, especially if you’re not a fan of less than firm textures on meat.
The Pastrami, Egg & Celeriac was not too bad and the egg was done perfectly but it was completely overshadowed by the Carabinero Prawn, Chorizo and Potato.
These are one of the most coveted prawns in the world and was Sean’s vote for the best dish on the menu. For a place specialising in cured and grilled meats, they sure made a splash with their seafood. We devoured the bodies and drained the heads (regarded a delicacy by the Spanish) clean. Absolutely beautiful.
Following that, the Pork Belly, Melon and Onion. The soft, melt-in-your-mouth texture of the pork belly and that sweet, cube of refreshing watermelon? A pure marriage in heaven. Another winner.
By then, we were pretty stuffed. But having spent years in W Hotel’s SKIRT well known for its steak, how could we say no to Chef Drew’s grilled meats?
But before we were introduced to the grilled selection, a palate cleanser in the form of my absolute favourite — Tomato, Burrata and Basil. The tomato consommé served with this dish was a lovely addition to a classic.
The Pork Collar, Radishes and Praline together with the Short Rib, Carrot and Pomegranate finished the mains off for us. The Pork Collar was okay, but I really enjoyed the Short Rib. Lovely texture.
And finally, the sides of Pumpkin, Buttermilk and Chickpeas and Black Mash that basically tasted like regular mash except it was black. Still, they were good accompaniments to the meats but honestly with the selection you probably won’t need any tummy fillers like these.
While waiting for dessert, I took the time to admire the decor of the place. A French designer decorated the place and I really appreciated the eclectic choices of art and the lush red interiors that despite its opulence was in no way intimidating or stuffy. We were very comfortable in the plush chairs and a trip to the washroom even surprised me with these digital ‘pictures’ with eyes that followed you. Creepy but fascinating!
And finally, it was time for desserts. We had the Chocolate Salami, Salted Caramel Ice-Cream (not an actual salami but a tongue-in-cheek attempt to make a chocolate nut bar look like one) and my favourite Cured Berries, Yogurt and Olive Oil. The berries were tart, had a slightly frozen texture and went wonderfully with the semi-sweet yogurt. It was topped with a generous selection of fresh, sweet berries which was a delightful end to the meal.
You must be wondering how on earth two of us managed to eat all that. We did too. The truth is, the tapas-style dishes were great for sharing and it’s great to come by in a group so you can get through as many dishes as possible. Prices here range from roughly $10-15 a small plate and for how unique many of these dishes are is well worth the price in my opinion.
I’d definitely bring friends back here again. Just because it’s not often I’d say a meal surprises me as much as this one, while introducing me to so many parts and styles of cooking meats that I’d never enjoyed before. For a truly exceptional, refreshing and unforgettable experience, I say 5th Quarter is really worth your while.