The next two tapas dishes fared considerably better. The upturned Baby Portobello Mushroom brimmed with black-speckled mushroom puree spilling over the cap, the latter imbued with a sweet hint of ricotta cheese. The Baby Pork Ribs bore us swiftly to elation, slicked with a barbecue sauce of a bewitching red. The sauce, moreish with a tangy-tomato undertone. The ribs, superbly tender and came apart at the slightest prick. Could we upgrade this appetiser to a main course, thought I.
Our excitement deflated with the Paella (S$20): upon arrival, the rice did little to inspire confidence. Scissors Paper Stove uses bomba rice for its paella, a strain of rice imported from Spain, the birthplace of the dish. Supposedly, bomba rice can absorb liquid up to three times its size and still retain its firmness and texture; this was not the case for Scissors Paper Stove’s rendition, swollen and soggy the grains were. The entire dish soaked up the saffron bisque, which had a metallic pungency and was missing its yang that balanced the flavours. The accompanying ingredients provided redemption: prawns and mussels were huge; there was also a generous medley of squid, clams and chorizo chunks.
The next course, Beef Cheek (S$18), uplifted us from disappointment. It was as if Scissors Paper Stove were playing fast and loose with our feelings, tempering soaring bliss with chagrin, then reviving the bliss again (and in so doing paying tribute to the luck-dependent game that inspired its moniker: unbridled joy from a victory; festering anger from consecutive losses). The beef cheek, braised with red wine, was incredibly tender like the pork ribs. The gravy was piquant too. The heap of creamy mashed potatoes hid the treasure of tuber chunks, so there were delightful crunchy bites amidst the velvety enjoyment.
A showstopper, the sea bass featured in the Cartafata (S$28) was first seared then baked alongside a line-up of prawns, mussels and squid in a sealed bag. Fun fact: the dish’s name is the name of the transparent cooking foil, though the latter is spelt two words with a trademark symbol. We scooped up many spoonsful of the tomato-based sauce to drench the fish, fresh, firm and clean tasting. The dish also came with a side of Thai-style fried rice, fragrant and topped with pork floss.
Overall, Scissors Paper Stove had more hits than misses; it seemingly excels when it gets to work with tomatoes. On a weekday afternoon, only a few tables were occupied, and by 2pm, my friend and I were the only guests left, making it a great dining spot for meaningful conversations.
nedla does not receive any compensation for its food reviews; all visits made are incognito.
Scissors Paper Stove
Address: 9 Teck Chye Terrace, Singapore 545720
Telephone: +65 6242 0021
Opening Hours: 12pm – 12am (Daily)