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Dig In: Sideways

Here on Dig In, we give you the lowdown on great restaurants and cafes in the city worth checking out.

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The Rundown
Situated along Rowell Road, newly opened Sideways aims to bring life to the Jalan Besar neighbourhood. Partners Pav (who also owns The Hangar) and Giulia, decided that Mediterranean-inspired cuisine and warm hospitality are the two things that can liven up the 99-year old shophouse that Sideways calls home. Set on making their food from scratch, the duo built a wood-fired oven, with which they cook carefully thought-out dishes with a rustic and homey charm.

The Vibe
The heritage building’s unkempt walls may render Sideways unassuming from afar, but take a peek inside and you’ll find it effortlessly cool. The interior presents a stark contrast between the bygone era and modern times, where exposed brick walls and old grill windows are juxtaposed against a chic bar counter and espresso machine. The cosy space, combined with a laid-back atmosphere and Italian music playing in the background, makes this an ideal spot for date nights and chill-out sessions. Make a reservation, for the seating capacity is limited (for now).  

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Photo by Burppler Wan Ling Yeo

What’s Good
Committed to preparing most of their dishes in the oven, Sideways’ menu is simple and clear-cut. We followed Giulia’s lead and started our meal the traditional Italian way — with an aperitivo. If you’re after a bittersweet cocktail with a woody aftertone, the Bicicletta ($15) is probably the perfect tipple — it sees a citrus twist on the Aperol spritz with crunchy surprises from brown sugar bits. For something light and sweet, get the Fresh ($16) — a refreshing floral-scented cocktail made from elderflower liqueur, prosecco, soda water and fresh mint leaves. Environmentally-conscious Burpplers, you’d also be happy to hear that they serve these drinks with reusable stainless steel straws!

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Photo by Burppler Veronica Phua

Sideways is passionate about making everything from scratch, and the effort is evident right from the first dish. We had the Cucumber, Beetroot, and Cauliflower Pickles ($7 each), all painstakingly made by Giulia herself. Although the Cucumber Pickles were a tad salty, the beetroot and cauliflower versions had just the right amount of tartness to uplift the flavours. This was followed by Pav’s Sourdough Bread ($4) and three tantalising dips to complement the warm, fluffy loaf. It was hard to pick a favourite, but we highly recommend the Smoked Eggplant and Peppers Dip ($7) and the Basil and Feta Dip ($9), both of which had us mopping up every last bit. The former had a creamy texture with a sweet-earthy aftertaste, while the latter boasts crunchiness from the ground almonds and a hint of mint.

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Photo by Burppler Muriel A

Our next dish of Stuffed Baby Squid ($13) best illustrates the effects of a wood-fired oven. The squids were absolutely tender, gently giving way to the fatty goodness of the guanciale (cured pork cheek) filling — we were sold. The Garlic Shrimps ($12) were also really tasty. We love how the wood-fired oven imparted a smoky flavour to the firm-textured shrimps, leaving a gravy so addictive that we had to grab more bread to sop it all up! The last dish, and also the most indulgent one, was the Rib-eye Steak ($13). Wonderfully charred on the outside with a succulent medium-rare interior, this grilled steak is delicious on its own. What’s more, it’s priced affordably for a good 150g!  

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Photo by Burppler Dex Neo

Sideways’ selection of small bites is best enjoyed with a group of four. The options are limited for now, but they’ll soon be introducing a couple of brunch items (bring us some eggs!), as well as desserts and cheeses from Italy, Spain and France. We hope you’re as excited as we are!


Read what the Burpple community is saying about Sideways here.