I was never impressed when they were at Palais Renaissance. Competent but not wow! And certainly not at those prices for what I consider to be fairly ordinary deli/cafe food. I've always had a weakness for their nutella cupcake though... Also, it is a nice and comfy place to wile away over a leisurely lunch. So OK, ION is a new outlet so why not give it a shot. I think it is for lack of competition that they still do well. PS Cafe's new outlet at Palais gives them a run for their money but face it, it is still a pretty choiceless market in this space so it looks to continue to do well - at least it was a very decent crowd at lunch today.
I was happy with my order of the Capellini with Sakura Ebi and White Radish. Al dente pasta well coated with the garlic infused olive oil, tossed with Japanese dried shrimps. A tasty combination although there was a tad too much oil so the bottom was not well coated but there was a shallow pool of oil, so I left the last bit untouched. I liked the addition of the crunchy white radish which was sweet and added another dimension to the dish. I would give this high marks for creating the combination but discount it just a little on execution.
The Pantry Club sandwich was my second choice so I was happy that someone else ordered it so I pinched a deck. The ham and egg section was yummy - especially since they used a fluffy omelette, but the chicken section was a let down since the mayo was too sweet for me. Of course, this went well with the separate order of fries, which was pretty decent (although the garlic aioli fries at PS Cafe wins hands down).
Other staples like the Crab Caesar and Crab Linguini are still popular choices, which M and C still dig. But I'm a little over them to be honest.
The Sticky Date and Toffee Pudding never disappoints if you like your puddings. Of course it's going to be sweet - it is dessert! But if you order an espresso, you're all set.
The Old Fashioned Chocolate Fudge Cake was decent enough but with slow service, and coupled with just being a tad too dry, was not inviting enough to be finished and we left a fair bit of it untouched.
All in all, a nice place to chat over a competent meal but don't be expecting the moon here.