pasarbella, turf city

it could almost be tsukiji market right, but it isn’t. it’s a tiny japanese corner hidden in the depths of pasarbella, the new gourmet marketplace that’s taken singapore (and its expat/ hipster/ moneyed population, especially) by storm.

pasarbella suffered a lot of flak from loads of unappreciative dissers who couldn’t reconcile this plastic, covered sprawl to the european food markets it supposedly took reference from. but it’s an unfair comparison – I don’t think this was meant to be the sort of down-to-earth daily-marketing style you see in places like d’aligre; it reminds me instead of that tiny market I used to visit in london’s duke of york square. a little posh, more-than-slightly wallet-emptying, but satisfying both gastronomically and as a worthy day out.


actually, you’ll recognize the like if you’ve been to borough market. a mix of specialty delis and quality butchers (esoteric spice mixes for your marinating your wagyu, perhaps?) mixed in among eateries doling out myriad cuisines (perhaps some british quiche before your american ribs all washed down with russian cake?), it’s a feast for the senses and confusion to the brain.

exactly what do you start with first?

I suggest taking a walk around the entire compound just so you don’t suffer buyer’s regret – glutton’s regret being almost definite – and then finding a place to sit. there are some proper eateries that are almost mini restaurants, but we skipped those this time in favor of more variety on our maiden trip here and had to go with the random seating strewn about the place.

chope it somehow – though I’m not sure tissue paper packets have any power here – and leave to assemble your very own picnic.

we started with a couple of salads, a roast pumpkin and a roast sweet potato one with sundried tomatoes and loads of delicious things – I believe these were from the nibbles by rabbit carrot gun store, with its display of quiches and sweets next to the shelves of colorful salad.

then a couple of tender, moist ribs for starting so virtuously, courtesy (I mean execution, not cost-wise) of bistro botintin. served alongside a slightly too-mayoed red cabbage slaw, the ribs were a tiny bit fatty but really rather delicious.

as well a mix of three meats – pulled pork, roast chicken and a smoked duck – from the sea salt caribbean deli. one must have protein, right? these were the least impressive of the day, with too much salt for us to enjoy the otherwise good flavors.

still finished it all though, so there you go.

the most famous dish of all at the market must be le patio‘s paella, cooked rather impressively in a large, traditional paella pan. you’ve got to admit it’s got style, and that tiny bit of showmanship of them scraping up the slightly stuck on rice from the bottom makes it even more attractive.

this apparently runs out early in the day, so grab this before you buy anything else – I expected it to be all hype, but it actually is decent cooking. a good mix of tender rice and slightly crusty bottom-bits, and a not-too-measly throw of seafood inside, it goes down super quickly with a squeeze o’ lime.

round off the day with some (expensive) grocery shopping if you’re so inclined – they’ve got wine and apples and onions (and more, of course), but this is occasion shopping. or very pleasant – and envy-inducing – window-shopping, if you’re so inclined.

we ended up spending nearly 50-60 a person for this meal, together with a bottle of good apple cider from the great beer experiment, which certainly meant we could have gone to a restaurant and had a decent meal instead. no regrets at all though, since we had quite a tasty meal (and I’d say it’s almost worth the travel it took to this ulu-est of places).

it’s a yummy mummy with their cute kids kind of place, or a foodies with no qualms about cost kind of place – or a teenagers into the hype sort of place – or a.. well. come if you like good food and don’t mind paying for it.

200 Turf Club Rd
Singapore 287994
tel +65 6887 0077
$$.5: averagely, 40-60ish for a decent (satisfying) meal

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