Spruce – Not Just for Brunch

19 06 2012

I drove past Bukit Timah Fire Station a couple of times in the past month and noticed a large banner screaming that a new branch of Spruce was about to open there. Deeply excited, I went over to their facebook page, hoping to catch a glimpse of how the new outlet was going to look like and wow, I was impressed. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in operation yet so I found myself back at Phoenix Park.

The New Spruce@Fire Station

Spruce is better known for their brunch, which extends all the way till 4pm, perfect for late risers like me. The last time I was there, I had their version of the Crab Cake Benny ($25++) which left a lasting impression. Today however, I was here for dinner and surprisingly, it wasn’t too crowded despite it being a Sunday. I guess many of the more informed diners are flocking to the newly opened eateries around Singapore. I have been trying to make reservations (as much as 2 weeks in advance) at some of these newer eateries and have been denied of a reservation too many times to keep count. Sigh.

For the love of air-con, I initially made reservations for indoor seating but since the al fresco area was pretty breezy and gave off such homely vibes, I requested to sit outdoors on arrival. Despite the surrounding greenery, there was no sign of mosquitoes. Lucky!

Sharing of mains is a trait frowned upon in most of Europe. I’m just happy this is something Singaporeans have not yet assimilated into our cultures. My party of 4 had 4 mains to share and while such an arrangement usually results in each person taking just a measly spoonful of 3 dishes and having the bulk of the single dish directly in front of him or her, on this occasion we made sure to split each dish into 4 roughly equal portions, which I later found to be an appropriate portion size to take in the full experience of each dish while still being able to enjoy the variety.

We first tucked into theCarnaroli Risotto served with Porcini Mushrooms and Truffled Hen Egg ($24++). Also known as the “King of Rice”, Carnaroli is one of the 3 common types of Italian rice traditionally used to make risottos. The other 2 types are Arborio and Vialone Nano. Carnaroli and Vialone Nano are considered to be the better and more expensive varieties compared to the more commonly used Arborio. Unlike the long grain rice varieties that we usually consume in Chinese cuisine, these short grain varieties of rice have a greater ability to absorb liquids and it’s higher starch content results in a sticky creamy texture on cooking, suitable for making risottos. As for the risotto here, I enjoyed it much. Very hearty with its cooking timed perfectly, the risotto retained a nice mildly chewy texture.

One of the Chef’s recommendations is the Spruce Burger with Homemade Pickles, Cheddar Cheese & Herbed Fries ($18++, add-on Bacon for $2 which we did). The mayo was extra rich, with a noticeable aftertaste that gave an extra kick. The fries are tasty as well after being given a gentle tossing in paprika and other spices.

At the very top of my list, what I would definitely recommend is the Beef Short Ribs served with Spinach & Mushroom in aged Port Wine Sauce topped with Fried Egg ($29++), a combination of foods I hold dear. Beef ribs in western joints are just plain awesome. It’s not the same as those in Korean restaurants, which comes grilled in thin slices and are still stuck to the bone. Beef ribs in western joints come as a slab, something most men would love. K mentioned that the flavours of the saccharine port sauce was overpowering and might get too gelat after a while but I thought it was perfect and would have found no trouble licking the plate clean had my friends and I not decided on sharing our mains.

My least favourite dish was the Baby Back Ribs marinated in Homemade BBQ Sauce served with Tomato & Corn Bread ($33++).  It’s by no means terrible, in fact I would still consider the ribs pretty decent but there was just nothing to wow me with and the meat was a little too lean for my liking.

They weren’t too heavy on the ginger and date flavours for the Baked Ginger Date Pudding ($12++). I thought the Vanilla Ice Cream was superfluous though as the chocolate sauce was a much better accompaniment to the pudding. Plus points for the presentation!

We also shared a Spruce Strawberry Cheesecake ($12++). Nothing to throw your hands up in the air and shout about, but nonetheless a fitting ending to the meal. Anyway random thought, I tried the blueberry cheesecake from Checker’s Deli @ Hilton Hotel the other day and I don’t think it is in the running for best cheesecake in Singapore.

For my other 3 friends, this was their first visit to Spruce and we all left with positive warm and fuzzy feelings.

I’d say Spruce is an ideal place to bring dates; peaceful but not eerily quiet such that it accentuates any awkward silences, with a reasonable booze list to get your date sexy drunk in a conversational mood to talk about important adult affairs.

Spruce

320 Tanglin Road,  Phoenix Park

Tel: +65 6836 5528

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3 responses

23 06 2012
PAOtotheLO

I love spruce and their risotto.. 🙂 its one of my favorite dinner places, actually. 🙂

24 06 2012
drpiggy

yea super chill vibes man. need more of these places around

24 06 2012
PAOtotheLO

same vibes as La Villa! 🙂

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