You know you’re getting older when you get together with a girlfriend you haven’t seen in ages, and you find yourself talking about…houses. Weird, isn’t it, when you find yourself suddenly all grown up and not even resisting the idea! Even the setting’s grown up – we ate at a swanky new gastropub in Singapore – Slake.
Located in Swan Lake Avenue in Singapore, Slake – which I’m sure is comes from an abbreviation of Swan Lake – is home to groups of professionals who drop by for a pint of Guinness and a nice dinner, executed by owner and chef Jeremy Cheok.
A contributor to the first two Miele guides, Jeremy has also penned a cookbook in collaboration with Nanyang Technological University and has travelled the world learning about cooking, food, and beer brewing. Slake is his second outlet, after OKB – and you can clearly see the passion that he has for food in the items on his menu.
We start off with a simple dish of Sweet Potato Fries, $8. Sweet potatoes are cut into shoestring fries – as a Singaporean, I still don’t completely understand the Australian fascination with thick cut fries. Probably because we are a nation of shoe string fries – and we elected to have it doused in truffle oil. Simple, and elegantly moreish, it was a great way to whet our appetite for the meal to come.
The next dish up was the Magherita Waffles, $17. To be honest I skimmed past it the first time I was reading the menu, but when the waitress explained to me what it was I just had to have it. Tomato, basil and mozzarella waffles are topped with bacon ice cream. BACON ICE CREAM.
They had me at bacon.
The result lived up to our lofty expectations as well! The waffles themselves – which you would expect to be relegated to a supporting role because, well, bacon – actually stood up for themselves, with a savoury hit in every crispy-on-the-outside-fluffy-on-the-inside bite. The waffle pattern – as opposed to a flat pancake that this could’ve been – were perfect for pooling the rivulets of rapidly melting bacon ice cream, contributing a great ice cream to waffle ratio in every bite. The bacon ice cream was everything it was advertised to be, and I found myself looking forward to the mix of hot melted mozzarella and cold ice cream.
A must-try for every sweet/savoury hot/cold lover!
The Slow Cooked US Angus Beef, $26, came highly recommended, so it was ordered as a main. The beef is cooked sous vide – the meat is first vacuum sealed and cooked to a specific temperature in a water bath – to medium rare, and served with a sweet potato mash and baby corn on the side.
To be really honest, after the creative ingenuity of the Magherita Waffles, I did find myself underwhelmed by this particular dish. Sure, the beef is cooked perfectly, and it was nice, but there was nothing that stood out to be, besides that the serving dish was very pretty. To be fair, cooking sous vide is not quite a thing in Singapore and isn’t as well known as it is in Australia, so points for effort. But otherwise, it was a bit of an average dish to me.
While waiting for our dessert, the chef kindly sent out a couple of small plates. The first was a dish of grilled haloumi, house pickled jambu – also commonly known as Water Apple – salsa and rocket. Jambus have always had a crisp, delicate flavour to them, and the light pickling augmented a tartness that set off the haloumi really well.
The second was a Kaffir Lime and Tamarind Meringue Tart, which I was told was still a work in progress, and so wasn’t quite on the menu. On first bite, the tanginess was the first thing to hit me in a scrunch-up-your-face-but-it’s-so-good sort of way, A great conceptual take on the ol’ lemon meringue tart, and a fantastic palate cleanser, the only critique I would have to give is that if I didn’t know that it had tamarind in it, I would’ve thought it was just another lemon meringue tart. A very good tart, but the execution in this case doesn’t seem to match up to the concept, for me.
And finally, dessert. Sticky Date Pudding, $8, sits in a pool of caramel sauce, and topped with salted caramel ice cream. Comforting, warm, and classic. The pudding itself was very nicely executed – sometimes it isn’t moist enough, or is more cake than dates, but this had a nice balance, and made you want to sink into the soft pillowy pudding with the same sentiment as sinking into a particularly comfortable couch.
In all, it was fantastic to see Singapore getting a gastropub scene – Singapore has always been great at taking food trends from around the world and putting our own spin on it, and Slake is no different. The staff are friendly, and more importantly, they know the ins and outs of the menu, and I can see Slake maturing into a force to be reckoned with.
15 Swan Lake Avenue
(+65) 6243 6220