Don’t you feel like a frog in a well whenever you discover exceptionally good food? I do. Whenever my mouth tastes something extraordinary, I always think: where has this been my entire life before?! Why didn’t I discover this earlier? Last night at gastropub Slake Bar + Kitchen, I felt this way. In particular these dishes shone: Hae Bee Hiam Gnocchi, Beef Rendang Nachos, Black Rice Stuffed Squid and the Slow Cooked Roast Beef. The flavour combination and execution set Slake apart from just an average eatery.
My colleague, an Eastie, insisted we visit Slake located in Opera Estate for our team bonding dinner after our 5k run at Bedok Reservoir. After I made the reservation, it turned out one of my colleagues knows the Chef and we managed to a great deal for dinner. Even though it was discounted (note not free, IRAS), the deliciousness of the nine dishes were undeniable. Dishes at Slake contained western ingredients but Peranakan and Vietnamese flavours. My objectivity cannot be doubted here.
We began with Chilli Crab Rillettes served with piping hot crispy and fluffy Man Tou. While this sounded like it could have been a successful twist on Singapore’s much loved Chilli Crabs, I was disappointed with the strong Hae Bee-flavour and lack of crab flavour or the usual sweet tanginess one expects from a chilli crab sauce. However the consistency – thick and pliable – was spot-on.
The Beef Rendang Nachos, one of Slake’s most popular dishes, was a triumphant one with its fork-tender beef and and thick rendang sauce. Even better was the large, seemingly-homemade as it did not resemble the ones from the supermarket, nacho chips (perfect for balancing the heavy beef cubes) and tons of cheesy goodness.
Our first carbohydrate came in the form of another Slake favourite: Vietnamese Pesto Chicken Noodles. The noodles may have been a tad overcooked but the stellar juicy chicken with its crispy skin more than made up for it. An utterly addictive dish.
Protein came in two forms: Kichap Manis BBQ Pork Ribs – unfortunately I picked a bony end part that didn’t contain much of the fork-tender pork but the hummus spread below, pickled red cabbage and mint sauce got us to scrap the wooden plate clean.
Second protein of the evening: Slow Cooked Roast Beef. Damn this was good! Medium-rare slices of, again, fork-tender meat accompanied with sweet potato mash and grilled corn. I may have had one or three slices of this last night. So good. Don’t ask me what that brown paste on top is though.
Man, I was in love this Black Rice Stuffed Squid! That gorgeous, springy squid was not in the least bit rubbery yet retained a slight bite – a clear mark of the Chef’s cooking skills.
Our second carb and my favourite of the evening was this Hae Bee Hiam Gnocchi. I threw my low-carb diet out the window with this one. In what has got to be the most triumphant East-meets-West pairing I have ever come across, the gnocchi was coated with a thick and strong-flavoured dried shrimp paste sauce. A random but perfectly cooked poached egg and rocket leaves adorned this plate. Totally Asian yet the Italian carb will throw you off. I don’t like Gnocchi but I am in love with this one. We took away leftovers and when I brought home for my Mum, she couldn’t stop picking at it too.
While the savouries were mostly a triumph. The desserts were starkly flawed which is surprising considering the Chef apparently started off as a dessert chef. This St Paddy’s Day special, Mug Pie, was an ice cream parfait served up in a tall beer glass. Layers of cranberry sponge, homemade Guinness ice cream, ginger cream and almond crumbles, sound like this could potentially be a hit was sadly, just homely with muted flavours. Nothing spectacular.
Upon request, Slake was extremely kind to customize a platter of all three of their desserts plus two scoops of homemade ice cream. Unfortunately one out of the five elements was good: Apple and Waterchestnut Pie. The crispy flakey puff pastry pie were both textually and flavour-wise, good. On the other hand, the ice cream were icy, the brownie and sticky pudding tasted home-ly/ normal. It just did not shine like the savouries.
Despite the disappointing ending, the savouries at Slake were unforgettable. Surprising combinations of Western ingredients with strong Asian flavours, I can’t wait to return soon and try out the rest of the menu especially when the Truffle Sweet Potato Fries sound so good.
Address : 15 Swan Lake Avenue, 455711
Website : https://www.slake.sg/
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/slake.sg
Instagram : @slakesingapore
Tel : 6243 6220
Operating Hour : 11:30am – 2:30pm, 6:00pm – 11:00pm (Mon – Fri), 6:00pm – Late (Sat)