I had never really heard the term ‘social dining’ used before, yet, assuming, quite rightly, that it had to do with sharing, I knew it had ‘me’ written all over it. This is precisely the term that brand new restaurant Enomod uses to describe its menu, and therefore precisely the reason I knew I must try it.
Enomod, which stands for Enoteca Moderna, is a very cool new space on lower Elgin Street. The idea of ‘social dining’ is inspired by a cultural movement that emerged in 1930s America; this concept is reflected in the décor throughout the entire space, where literally every single detail has been thoroughly considered. A single copper pipe runs from the street-level entrance and through the entire restaurant, ‘carrying’ with it people, water, electricity and, most importantly, wine.
The space is divided into five main areas – bar, deli, cellar, lounge and dining room, each area uniquely decorated and equally inviting. Enomod’s distinctive logo, made up of a plate, a spoon, a glass and a bottle, is either engraved or painted everywhere you look, reminding you of the restaurant’s principal concerns: food and wine, the latter, house wine, served only in carafes, further heightening the casual, social feel of the place.
The Mediterranean-inspired menu boasts the freshest ingredients, making it impossible to favour one plate over another. When we asked Ermanno, the owner, and Howard, the manager, to suggest some signature dishes for us to try, they said everything was a signature dish and practically brought us everything on the menu; confident, yes, but justifiably so.
The menu is broken up into ‘groceries’ and ‘social dining’, each further categorised into cheeses, cold cuts, and so on. Between four of us gluttons, we sampled no less than 18 dishes; I obviously will not bore you with descriptions of each and every one, but I will tell you that if you’re planning a meal at Enomod, go hungry. In fact, go famished, for there is little on the menu you will not want to taste. My only criticism is that a lot of dishes come at once, which can be somewhat overwhelming.
I would recommend nibbling on some cardamom-marinated feta with dried dates to begin with, balancing out the sweetness perhaps with some 12 month-aged Serrano ham, and most definitely the Parma ham and fig pizza; this is not a pizza in the strictest sense of the word, given that it has no tomato and the base is soft and doughy pita bread, yet it will melt in your mouth and it is guaranteed to put a smile on your face, even if you might wish there was just a touch more fig jam on it…
The salmon gravalax with crackers and caper relish is divine, marinated in orange zest to excite the taste buds. Equally delicious are the Spanish paprika sardines. Each little filleted morsel of fish is decorated with a slice of lemon, which, eaten whole, together with the fish, serves to bring out the fresh flavours of the sardine and transport you to the Mediterranean.
Having never been the greatest fan, while growing up, of capers, olives or anchovies, a puttanesca, naturally, was never my go-to choice of pasta. Now, however, as I know to appreciate the finer things in life, I adored Enomod’s linguini puttanesca; beautifully al dente and wonderfully flavoursome, I could eat this every day.
The ‘Social Dining’ section of the menu is split into four categories – woods, stones, coppers and ceramics, referring to the kind of dish the food is served on. From the ‘stones’ section, the charred saffron chicken with lemon, chilli and mint yoghurt was good, but would most definitely lose in a game of trumps to the pistachio-crusted lamb rump. This incredible lamb is cooked at 57 degrees over six hours, resulting in meltingly tender meat that may well leave you speechless. Just make sure you eat the lamb as soon as it’s served, as it is definitely best hot (apply the same rule to the roasted seabass).
From the ‘coppers’ section, Enomod’s polpette are pretty special too. These are not meatballs as we know and love them; but we certainly do still love them. This very traditional recipe was passed down from Ermanno’s grandmother and comes served with the creamiest of mashed potato and crunchy pine nuts.
Even more delicious, however, and perhaps my favourite (savoury) dish of the night, were the blue mussels in white wine sauce. Just make sure you ask for some fresh-from-the-oven focaccia to soak up every drop of the sauce.
On a second visit a few days later (yes, we liked it that much), we tried the wet-aged rib eye. Whilst some argued that the charred taste was not to their liking, I think this completed the dish, giving it a crisp exterior at the same time as a juicy, pink interior. Rub on some roasted garlic and you’re in heaven.
For dessert, Enomod currently offers only two options, yet both are unmissable. The tiramisu is like no other you have ever tasted, spiked with Absinthe and spicy peppercorns, yet still maintaining that comforting creaminess. My favourite was the ricotta cheesecake with pistachio, dark chocolate chips and candied orange peel. The contrast of creamy versus crunchy, sweet versus tart, is to die for and will leave you wanting to lick the adorable jar it is served in clean.
With delicious, fresh produce, good service, quirky décor and reasonable prices (the amount of food we ate would have amounted to around $350 per head!), Enomod definitely has what it takes to be a success. Still in soft opening phase, it is packed every night, so I fear the waiting lists once everyone knows about this cool new spot…
1/F, 1-5 Elgin Street
Tel: +852 2555 6065