Standout Sandwiches

Standout Sandwiches

Here are the ones that have left an impression on me, and for which I will return.
Veronica Phua
Veronica Phua

@burgerlabo’s latest creation goes by the name of #BagaSando. Christened by @foodiebouba, it’s a hybrid of the Wasei-eigo (which means "Japanese-made English") version of the words: “burger”and “sandwich”. And the product is exactly that, on top of being buttery soft madness.
A construct of genuine cleverness, it has A5 Toriyama Wagyu Tenderloin cut into slices of even thickness, so there’s more surface area that gets to hit the grill, which translates to multi-fold oomph between those pillowy soft buns by @bakerybrera. This also gives Chef @markerpenn plenty of space to slather on his 3-month-old housemade beef garum with vinegar and fermented mustard seeds, and red wine jus. Interspersing the perfectly-cooked Wagyu with all these is brilliant because although the cut of beef isn’t the fatty sort, the tang and crunch from the additions create more excitement on the palate.
At $88 before tax, the Bagasando is not exactly cheap but you do get what you pay for.

Note: I wolfed this down in the car right outside Naked Finn, immediately after picking it up because I believe that is when it tastes the best.

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The legendary Sanger ($21.40 nett) from @burntends_sg isn’t diminished by travel time. Its smart construct allows this slow-cooked pulled pork sandwich to hold up really well even as a takeaway. Those cheddar cheese-embellished brioche buns are soft yet they can withstand the onslaught of tender meat lavished in plenty of chipotle aioli, pickled jalapeños and purple cabbage slaw, and let me assure you, those come together as a mighty force of tastiness.
Bought a few for lunch today and my parents who tried it for the first time, loved it too.

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Because he is a fan of burrata himself, @thebrewingground’s Head Chef @sebastiansjl’s is particularly proud of their “Burrata and Tomatoes Tartine” ($18). Having tried it this morning, I must say I love it too.
Served on a thick slice of sourdough is a generous amount of the creamy cheese. The brilliance is in how it is deliciously balanced by sweetness from caramelised onions and marinated cherry tomatoes, as well as the complex tang of balsamic glaze, fragrance from basil and a fun bit of crunch from toasted almond flakes.
As it is not served hot, there is a heightened sense of freshness and lightness about this open-faced sandwich. Yet, it is really filling. The accompanying mesclun salad isn’t an afterthought either. It tastes exceptionally perky and is no doubt, one of the better ones I’ve had.

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As pretty as the food appeared, it’s the a-cut-above-the-standard flavours I found most memorable. Everything we ordered, tasted fresh and delicious. For eg. my Avocado Smash ($18) was not basic like in many other places. Instead, they heap their sourdough with pieces of avocado, guacamole, two poached eggs, feta cheese, roasted baby tomatoes, pomegranate, sunflower seeds, sprouts and a drizzle of light lemon vinaigrette. So there was great texture at play in that appealing mix as well.

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Quite a few people I know have a fetish for the “Dirty Ronin”, a sandwich that has outlasted the cafe it was created at. And why not? Every aspect of it is faultless - the bread (a slightly thicker looking but still very light thing nowadays) is toasted to a crunch, the ratio of the savoury, spicy chorizo to cheese, soft-boiled egg, avocado, crisp lettuce, miso and mayo - exacting.
From the first bite, eyelids flutter and a sense of satisfaction spreads through the body. This pleasurable sensation doesn’t abate until the “Dirty Ronin” is but a memory and perhaps, a few crumbs to dust off.

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M E D I A P R E V I E W
Did you know that all of the seafood supplied to @lukeslobstersg in Singapore is exactly the same as those for @lukeslobster’s 22 full service restaurants across America and their 10 locations in Japan? Traceable every step of the way right to the source, these suppliers were selected for their practice of sustainable production.

The best way to enjoy the different seafood is to order the “Luke’s Trio”. So it’s especially perfect when you’re visiting for the first time, or if you want to have the best of three worlds. Priced at $33.50, it comes with a half serving each of the Shrimp, Crab and Lobster Rolls.

Their signature Maine-style Lobster Roll is every bit as good as it’s reputed to be. From between the super light and fluffy buttered split-top bun (a thing of beauty in itself, squiggled with just the right amount of mayo at its base), sweet and juicy chunks of lobster meat spill forth. It is so sublime every bite has a tendency to trigger X-rated sounds.

We might be use to seeing more vivid coloured prawns in Singapore and hence, may mistake the paler specimen used in the Shrimp Roll as lacking in flavour but that is not true. Those bouncy babies are really sweet and with Luke’s Lobster’s secret recipe seasoning and buttered buns, taste delicious as well.

If you adore crab, you’ll find their Crab Roll very satisfying because the split buttered bun is abundantly packed with the sweet, juicy delicate thready flesh of crabs from Maine, U.S.A.

Since @lukeslobstersg offers Pre-order online right now, you can actually tap on their link-in-bio on Instagram to do that too.

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M E D I A T A S T I N G
The famous @lukeslobster that originated in New York and is known for attracting long queues at all its outlets including those in Japan, is officially opening in Singapore this Wednesday, 23rd September at 1pm.
Located on the street level of Isetan Scotts, @lukeslobstersg can be easily found as it’s right by the entrance of the department store.
I had the opportunity to visit today for a preview. Besides catching the making-of action of the brand’s iconic Maine-style #lobsterroll, I got to try most of the items on their menu too. As sweet and juicy as those generous chunks of lobster meat are, the buttered split-top bun deserves equal credit for the overall magnificence. It is ridiculously light and fluffy, and oh-so-fragrant with butter, youll be tempted to bury your nose in there. Worth every cent of the $25.50 price tag if you ask me.

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M E D I A D R O P
Popeye’s NEW Chicken Sandwich has a piece of chicken thigh marinated for no less than 12 hours, and coated in a secret recipe batter. It is fried till really crunchy and placed between soft, light yellow, slightly sweetish buns.
On the whole, I found the flavours really appetising (love the pickles!) but I do wish the ratio of chicken meat to battered coating was more favourable. Not sure if it was only for the one I got but it felt like there was more crunch than meat.

If you have been following me on Instagram since earlier last year, you should know how much I enjoy dining at Esora restaurant. So when I learned Chef Shigeru Koizumi was back with a special takeaway menu of assorted Sando (Japanese-style sandwiches), I was overjoyed! Of course, you can trust Chef Shigeru to elevate his childhood favourite food to sophisticated heights with his “one degree cooking” philosophy.
Exquisite in appearance, his is an “adult” version of the popular Sando that stays true to the understated elegance of the Esora brand. So don’t expect an in-your-face machismo popularised by a certain famous Wagyu specialist restaurant. Instead, it’s a nuanced thing, flawlessly balanced in complexity, that sets his collection of pristine looking Sandos apart.
For example, the Black Angus Sando ($38) has the thick piece of buttery-soft beef encrusted in thin batter and layered with coriander, an egg mayo concocted with Japanese horseradish and oba (also known as shiso) leaf between thin slices of bread.
In the equally marvelous Japanese Pork Sando ($28) with its slightly sweeter taste profile, it’s celery and a hint of lemon that are the elements joining the juicy, fat-laced breaded and fried pork, as well as the aforementioned Japanese horseradish egg mayo and oba leaf.
Although the temptation is to wolf everything down, I implore you, if you manage to get your hands on these Sandos, please take your time to relish every bite, and appreciate the luscious creaminess and bright herbaceous notes that have been thoughtfully woven into them.

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Aside from the slight mishap of undercooking my beef patty (blame it on my fear of overcooking it), everything else about assembling my delivered dinner from @winervlt was a breeze. Yup, after being closed for two months, Ian and his team are back with a vengeance and off to a running start with a tight little menu of their most popular noshes and naturally, to be paired with bottles of the natural wines they famously stock.
My white cheddar-topped “Patty Melt” tasted divine despite turning out slightly beef tartare-ish. Love how light and soft the buttered Japanese milk bread was. Plus for the first time ever, I could dictate exactly how much of the gribiche sauce and ketchup I wanted in my #sandwich. Now that’s very cool.

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H O S T E D
This new bar speaks in a quieter, more modulated tone than its sister bar - Jigger & Pony. She exudes a low-key yet unmissable worldly confidence. In terms of aesthetics, she oozes eyeball-grabbing mid-century Western-meets-Japanese style, mixing handpicked vintage pieces with admirable nonchalance.
Knowing our moods, Live Twice is versatile, offering different seating arrangements to suit. Her cocktails, crafted in the Japanese spirit of shokunin by Group Beverage Director @bartenderaki and female Head Bartender @woofyinying are meant to satisfy the two sides we are known to have: the life we live for ourselves, and the one for our dreams. So there’s a list of the classics (but done with a twist) and another featuring concoctions inspired by fantasy and here’s a fascinating fact, named after geishas.
Although the cocktails are the stars at Live Twice, the compact food menu boasts gems like Wasabi Cheese Terrine (this is fantastic with the “Vesper” cocktail it seems) and Tuna Katsu ($22++). My number one pick though has to be the extremely tasty Ebi & Corn Sando ($22++) shown above. The thick prawn and corn cutlet was outrageously sweet, juicy and crunchy. Definitely the munchie to get when you’re feeling peckish.

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Although they are called “pies”, these Melbourne-inspired pitas are made with sourdough flour, and come stuffed with three kinds of cheese, spinach plus my chosen add-on of beef brisket.
The dough of the pita has a slightly coarse texture and satisfying chewiness which I found to work well with the flavourful fillings.
To my surprise, the beef brisket was subtly sweet but it was very tasty. If you prefer other meats, they do offer a savoury pulled pork and lamb as well.

Price: $12 for 4 pieces of the Triple Cheese and Spinach Pie.
Add-ons available at $6 for pulled pork and $8 for beef brisket or lamb.

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