Pub Grub

Pub Grub

Pub grub has evolved. It has gone from being a suspicious looking pile on your plate that you'd down with a pint and pray to God that you wouldn't die afterwards, to becoming tasty fare that wouldn't be out of place in a decent restaurant. Here's a list of the pubs with grub so good it convinced me to put my pint down and take a picture.
Russell Leong
Russell Leong

I like how @meatsmith_sg Little India outpost does a different, distinctly Indian menu as opposed to the Western menu at Telok Ayer, because it means that we get zingers like the stellar Crispy Madras Pork Cheeks ($8++). Four colossal chunks of pork cheeks are deep fried (citation needed) till a crunchy crust fully envelops the exterior, dusted with Indian spices, and mounted on skewers with pickles.⠀

Needless to say, these are perfection as pub grub. These cheeks are considerably less fatty & a lot more meaty than pork belly, but they are no less juicy. Sure, the meat on the perimeter is dry due to it getting deep fried, but that’s a small price to pay for crispiness. The rest of the meat is moist & succulent, and well marinated with the indulgent Indian spices.⠀

The dusting of extra spices over these pork cheeks truly heightens the thrill of these tasty cuts of pork. The sour, zesty pickles are the hard counter to the heavy, spicy flavours that abound with these cheeks, and both spice & sour combine to deliver a massive wallop of wonderful flavours. The house made Madras Mustard Sauce is a dead ringer for butter chicken, from the comely creaminess down to the tasteful tanginess in the sauce. The creaminess smoothed out the rough textures of the crackling pork, and layered an extra dimension of lusciousness over the flavourful cuts of cheek.⠀

I love how absolutely cheeky Meatsmith got with the menu at Little India, and I would definitely clap these succulent cheeks again.

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The onion rings are insanely irresistible, thanks to the excellent batter, but the side that stole the show is most definitely the chicken nuggets. It’s only been on Ordinary Burgers’ menu for about a month, but it might just be the best nuggies in Singapore. These freshly fried mother cluckers are full of flavour, and the batter is absolutely stunning. All that’s missing is a tub of curry sauce, but these are so good you probably don’t need ‘em.

But yes, I do need more of Ordinary Burger’s extraordinary sides. And burgers.

Kushiboy’s nibbles are stunningly scrumptious. Their chicken nuggets, which may or may not be made in house, are absolutely transcendent. They are first sous vide to cook the chicken inside, then they are deep fried to palate pleasing perfection. The chicken meat inside is layered, almost like a meaty mille feuille, giving a unique texture & bite to the Kush’s nugs.⠀

Another improvement they could’ve done to the chicky nuggies was to serve it with generous globs of flavoured mayonnaise, such as curry mayo or yuzu mayo to really make these nugs lit af. Still, @kushiboysg is a very young restaurant with some time to make improvements to reach peak potential. For that reason, and for the $10 pints of beer, I’ll be back.

Fortunately, @izakayaniningashi salvages their reputation as a decent izakaya via their stellar skewers & gloriously grilled dishes. There ain’t nothing better than smoky, grilled meats & seafood to pair with free flow booze, and I know this fact well from years of firsthand experience.⠀

The colossal chicken tsukune ($3.50++ with an egg yolk for dipping) was delightfully delish, with a tantalising teriyaki glaze seasoning the freshly grilled poultry exceptionally. The slightly more diminutive yet no less delicious yakitori ($3++ a stick) was generously glazed with more of the same sapid sauce as the chicken was grilled to perfection. Juicy, tender chicken coated in a scintillating sweet & salty sauce? Yes please, more please.⠀

At $3.50++ a stick, the Kurobuta pork belly was simple yet sumptuous. The competence of the chef on the grill station was the only thing (other than a sufficient seasoning of salt) carrying this fabulously fatty pork belly, and boy was that chef a pro. The meat was tremendously tender with just a hint of char all over, and the fat simply melted in my mouth. The pork belly was gone in sixty nanoseconds, straight down into the churning cauldron of alcohol that was my stomach.⠀

Last but not least, the whole grilled Japanese squid was as every bit as irresistible as its landlubber-y colleagues. Fresh, bouncy, snappy & charmingly chewy, all this smoky cephalopod required was a liberal sprinkle of salt, or perhaps a judicious brushing of soy sauce.⠀

Come for the drinks, stay for the grills kids.

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Once you’ve tried @littlepart1cafe, there’ll be part 2, part 3, and countless other parts. The drinks are decent, the grub is greatly gratifying, and even though the space really puts the ‘Little’ in Little Part 1, it’s an alluring ambience to partake in.⠀

Of course, the dishes are delish, and the Sausage Platter ($38 nett, I believe) is simply stunning. The mash is T H I C C, rich and superbly scrumptious, but even that is just a sideshow for those stellar snags. It’s purportedly a seasonal sausage selection, and the four I got were a couple of pork franks, and chicken chipolata(?), and a chicken cheese sausage. ⠀

The sausages are most definitely bought from a supplier, but that supplier is definitely a sausage specialist. Each & every snag was utterly unctuous, with a terrific texture to every bite. Of course, there’s a scintillating selection of craft beers on tap & a wonderful wine list, so use those to chase down these stellar snags. It’s a smashing sausage party, and everyone’s invited!

Weekends are not just for getting drunk, they’re also pretty much the only time I get to explore new bars & restaurants like @theparlourmirage. A fresh new bar that slings out Japanese dishes like yakitori platters & rice bowls alongside a bevy of beers straight from the tap, it’s my kinda place.⠀

The Chef’s Choice 1 yakitori platter ($15 nett) is categorised under ‘Grand Opening Special’, but I hope it’s a permanent menu fixture. It even comes with two sides, and I selected the very odd options of one deep fried mantou & some guacamole. As for the grilled goods themselves, they’re gloriously gratifying.⠀

The meats are all glazed in a titillating teriyaki sauce, and the pork belly (the duo of skewers at the front of the plate) was utterly unctuous. Felicitously fatty & marvellously meaty, each tender bite of porcine was positively pleasurable thanks to the addictively sticky sweet & salty flavours that were accentuated by the smokiness of the grill. The tsukune (chicken meatballs) behind it were kind of disappointing as they were dry & powdery in texture when I bit into it. Still, the teriyaki sauce was faultless, and I really appreciated the little bits of sweet onion that were thoroughly incorporated into the meatballs.⠀

As expected, the chicken thighs behind the tsukune were juicy, satisfyingly meaty, and sensationally sumptuous, thanks to the dynamic duo of teriyaki sauce & the charcoal grill. I usually hate eggplants/aubergines with a passion, but Mirage’s eggplant skewers might just help me to see the light. Seasoned with salt & yuzu, these gloriously grilled veggies were satisfyingly savoury with a sweet tang thanks to the yuzu that’s been applied. Y’know what, eggplant? Perhaps I judged you too harshly.⠀

As for the guac & fried mantou, they performed as expected. I was a little annoyed at the meagre amount of guacamole given, but it’s a free side dish after all. ⠀

So, what else can I say about Chef’s Choice 1? Well, when a chef makes choices this excellent, you’re in for a fabulously flavoursome fun time, and your enjoyment is no delusion.

But time and chance happen to them all. This is especially true when you’ve got a pandemic that comes straight outta nowhere and shuts down entire countries. It’s especially bad if you’ve just sunk an enormous amount of capital into starting up a swanky new place, such as in the case of @wearehopstationsg.⠀

When I visited last month, the Hop Fish & Chips ($18++) were screaming my name and it wouldn’t stop until I chose it. ‘Twas a commendable choice, as one rarely ever goes wrong with two flaky fish fillets coated with a crunchy beer batter and deep fried to glorious golden perfection. While I detest peas, the mashed peas on the side were sumptuous & zesty enough to make me tolerate it.

It definitely needs more of that tantalising tartar sauce, and both the fish & chips do need some salt and vinegar shaken (not stirred) over it. Still, it’s a fabulous fix of fish & chips, and if they manage to maintain their standards, I would definitely return for it once the lockdown is over.

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At $19.90 nett, @birdienumnumgastrobar pork knuckle is one of the cheapest, messiest and most delicious pork knuckles round town. The meat within is moist and flavourful, while the pork rind that’s been cut in pieces beforehand is ultra crispy & stunningly satisfying. Wash that down with a $11 pint of beer at happy hour, and all is well with the world for just a little while.⠀

Birdie’s got islandwide delivery going on right now, with a minimum order of $55 and a small $5 delivery fee. It’s a little trickier than usual to hit $55, as none of Birdie’s mains, pastas or even pizzas breach the $20 mark. So get in there and support these birds, ASAP. #savefnbsg isn’t just about supporting famous cafes & restaurants during this coronavirus shenanigan. It’s also about supporting your humble neighbourhood watering holes. Beat the beer virus with more beer. It works, trust me bro.

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Freehouse has been there for a few years now, but Taco Mantra’s invasion & occupation of their kitchen happened about a year or so ago. Taco Mantra updated their menu quite recently, which is why I was there. Besides the beer, of course.⠀

Run by Elijah & his fiancée Esh, Taco Mantra tout themselves as an Indian Mexican pub grub concept. Their Grilled Cheese Naanwich ($15++) is most definitely Indian inspired, as it’s really just a grilled cheese sanga with the bread substituted with some light, fluffy as fuck naan.⠀

It’s nigh impossible to go wrong with grilled cheese between two slices of carbs, and the Naanwich does hit the spot. I do wish that there was more cheese in those naan pockets, but it’s positively piquant. It’s a straightforwardly savoury sponge that soaks up all of those beers you’ve been chugging down from Freehouse’s big, beautiful wall quite excellently.⠀

I know we live in a society, and society’s pretty afraid to go out right now. Can’t blame ‘em, the ‘rona is back stronger than ever like the Undertaker. However, if you can brave it for a pint or two of liquid courage, please #savefnbsg, as pubs & bars in the CBD have been absolutely bodied by the virus.⠀

The bars & pubs were there for us when we needed ‘em, now it’s time to prove to these fountains of life that the streets don’t forget.

Thanks for generously hosting us Taco Mantra, and thanks for organising Burpple!

2 Likes

Oh for shucks sakes why is it shucking Monday again? On the bright side, @theoysterbank is here to alleviate the shellacking your spirits have taken from Monday at $2++ per oyster during their Happy Shucking Hours (1700-2000 on weekdays). I have no idea if the oysters are Canadian or NZ mollusks, but all I know is that they’re fresher than the Prince of Bel-Air. Oh, and they’re larger than life as well.

With every alcoholic drink purchased, you get to order half a dozen yuge ocean fresh oysters. Theoretically speaking, you could just eat nothing but oysters if you keep the alcohol flowing. I see this as an absolute win! Yeah, you can take that to the bank.

It’s pretty out of the norm for a fish market to serve up smoky, stellar skewers of chicken, but Fish Mart Sakuraya does. Nobody expects it, just like how NOBODY EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISITION!

The chicken thigh fillets were superbly grilled to glorious perfection before being utterly drowned in a delicious deluge of teriyaki sauce. It may not look like much, but these cocks were plenty meaty.

Better yet, a pair of these delicious cocks comes with a half pint of Suntory Premium Malt for just $10.70 (GST included). Not a bad way to alleviate the Monday blues, really.

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I must say, the guy who dreamed up this dish needs to be given a raise, ASAP. This bowl of California Maki Dip is priced at $12++, but most of the ingredients that go into it is pretty cheap. That’s one helluva profit margin right there. So, why would anyone fork out $12++ for a dish that costs relatively little to make?

It’s quite possibly the most addictive snack to ever cross your lips, and once you start eating it, you can’t stop. Yes, it’s just crabstick, cucumber, tamago (egg) & possibly avocado tossed in mayonnaise, but it’s inexplicably addictive. It’s creamy yet light, and sweet yet sufficiently savoury at the same time. Just like revenge & sake, it’s best served cold. The rice crisps on the side are pure brilliance, as they add more saltiness & a very charming crunch to the whole affair.

Yeah, it’s $12++ for the filling in a California roll, but there’s no bullcrab going on here. It’s all legitimately delicious business.

Alcohol may not be good for my body, but my body is good for alcohol.

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