decent south-american near boat quay – and I mean decent in that the food was rather pleasant and accessible for a virgin eater-of-that-region. this cuisine is going through a renaissance in the singapore food scene – it’s safe to say it’s never been nearly as popular as it is now, and so a good time to educate myself.
it was a meal of ceviche, arepita and grilled meats – and though the food didn’t wow us, the flavors were agreeable and uncommon enough to be interesting.
I can’t vouch for the authenticity of this place – but I don’t think that really matters unless you fancy yourself such a purist
(which is a kinder word for obsessed, sometimes). the restaurant is narrow and small, so reservations are recommended, and the place straddles a rustic-industrial feel – what with its concrete furnishings and shelves adorned with indigenous produce.
we started off with an arepita – a tiny, tiny, tiny slider of shredded beef and cheese sandwiched between two cornmeal buns. it was so tiny – we thought it was actually a complimentary dish of some sort – it was dwarfed by my hand. I can’t remember now how it tasted – we split this so it was a bare bite, really – but I guess it was alright. clearly forgettable though.
a trio of ceviche was much better – we had the catch of the day in a clásico, tuna with watermelon in a sandia and with avocado in a nikkei. it was all pretty alright – firm fish in a sour vinaigrette with bits of greenage. the best was the clásico – and the pickled red onion gave good crunch.
served with fried plaintain chips, these went down easily enough, but I couldn’t help but think about sashimi salads and how those have stronger fish flavors and a brighter profile. the tuna cubes seemed to have been lost in the pickle here.
the grilled meats were decent – but quite a bit on the greasy side. the skirt steak was beefy and flavorful, the chicken breast moist, but the pork a tad dry and tough. we also got a half each of a pork and a blood sausage – the latter less intimidating than it sounds, and not too livery. the fried yucca (= tapioca) chips on top were also quite moreish, though they suffered from the same greasiness.
the dips on the side were good though, with a sharpness that helped cut through the richness of the meat. they also had a barbecue sauce that was white like mayonnaise, but with all the flavour of a dark american-style bbq. any idea what this is?
prices are rather high, as you’d expect, and the restaurant got raucous as we inched toward the weekend on a friday night. decent food and a nice enough place for dinner: it’s a lukewarm recommendation, but I can’t quite figure if my slight mehness is a result of this place not being truly impressive, or if I’m just too much of a novice to appreciate it fully.
SUR Nuevo Latino Kitchen
13 North Canal Road
tel +65 6222 2897
$$$: one arepita + two mains = eighty (for two)
this is my contribution to the monthly link party, our growing edge, which connects food bloggers and inspires us to try new things. this month’s party is hosted by chandler at the chef with the red shoes – and if you’ve had any new food experiences this month, come and join us!