immensely satisfying – and one would say incredibly surprising – brunch at this tapas bar under the luke mangan group at raffles city.
truth be told, I’ve walked past this place a million times, but it just looked too tourist-y to bother (I may have been easily misled by its location right outside a hotel and the scores of Caucasians who enjoy dining al fresco) – and that’s stupid, because the food here is well-thought out, well-balanced, and well, very good.
egg berentine with bonito flakes
spanish omelette with spicy sauce
scrambled egg with ratatouille, sauteed zucchini and toast
if you’ve been here – the brunch menu is new – and if you haven’t, there’s plenty to eat and drink. it’s an excellent selection that covers both Spanish classics and otherwise reimagined versions of classic brunch-type dishes – which makes it acceptable even to persnickety parents like mine.
you can almost smell the rustic Spanish town of your dreams – the place is classy but not at all fussy, the sunlight streams over you like you’re a yummy mummy with nought but champagne in hand, and the rather seamless transition from patio to dining room could only be designed for/ by Europeans.
chilli salt and pepper squid, yuzu mayo
taco of tempura soft shell crab, pineapple salsa, wasabi mayo
grilled sirloin with mash, watercress salad, poached egg and madeira dressing
what with the multitude of dishes we had – I’ve resorted to using captions (incidentally, do you like this format?). but can I say how excellent the whole meal was? the flavours were all Mediterranean-style clean and simple, the seasoning was just so, and it was just that balance of rich and not-so-rich that truly hit the spot (I mean, you want to feel/ fill like you’ve indulged, but you’re not getting any younger are you?).
my favorite dishes are (in no particular order): 1) the tortilla of tender potatoes encased in egg, with a pool of tomato sauce that I could have used more of; 2) the very beefy beef, seared till pink and juicy; and 3) the pork ribs, which were omgawd-good, doused in a piquant, savory sauce and served atop a smooth mash that my sister couldn’t stop eating.
oysters served au naturel, nam jim dressing
pork belly sliders, bbq pulled pork, pickled cucumber & chilli
did I think anything could be better executed? yes, of course, but I did eat plenty of the dishes in their already above-average state. for example, the soft-shell crab and ikura tortilla was quite a spectacular mix of Japanese flavours, but its wrap was a little too floury and brittle – can I suggest further toasting and a softer tortilla?
the salt and chilli squid were a rift off the classic Chinese salt-and-pepper flavours, and the strips were very moreish, but the batter could have been much crisper.
halloumi, eggplant, chickpea, dried tomatoes, herbs, tahini dressing
sumac-spiced veal & pork meatballs, mash fontina
BBQ pork ribs, mash, pickled onion, sautéed pea, edamame
and of course one must finish with dessert – here, a single slice of excellent French toast. this was quite mindblowingly excellent, with a crisp exterior and soft, custardy insides. excellent.
french toast, Okinawa ice cream, clotted cream, jam
I think, one of the best brunch places I’ve had recently – and there has been a long drought of these. the proof is in the fantastic pudding – and if you too, suffer from what I’d like to call middle-ageness and require more than a cup of hipster jo’ (there’s a good drink selection, too!) and paltry dishes to get along, then this is the place for you.
Salt Tapas & Bar
#01-22A, Raffles City Shopping Centre
252 North Bridge Road
tel +65 6837 0995
$$.5: 25-40 per person (depending on gluttony)