Do you get excited when a new restaurant opens close to home? Do you eagerly anticipate that it will be the perfect restaurant? Where the food is good, the service is friendly and you don’t come away feeling fleeced? I do. Hence my constant feelings of disappointment in Singapore because largely a new restaurant doesn’t live up to my expectations.
SPRMRKT has been open in the CBD for a little while now. The concept is art meets food meets daily food shopping needs. The owners behind SPRMRKT are very keen on promoting art and you’ll find a constant stream of interesting shows in the space. That’s on top of the fresh and lively menus produced by the experienced chef team.
Of course the downside of a CBD location is that the weekends are generally very quiet. Enter the team’s new venture at Robertson Quay. Located in the space along the river formerly occupied by Les Bouchons there’s a mix of outdoor and indoor seating. SPRMRKT at Robertson Quay offers two dining concepts. Downstairs there’s a casual dining space offering a brunch and lunch menu. The location is indeed a perfect weekend brunch venue, but more on that later. Upstairs is a more refined affair with a menu offering a solid selection of options that include several sharing portions. We went for dinner on a Tuesday and found the service and food impressive.
The space is understated and refined. Simple furniture is offset by some rather unusual art that captures human sized photos of food. The art is quite unusual and seems a little like giant advertising billboards but I guess everyone has different tastes.
As for the food, I was eating with a pescatarian friend so the meat on the menu wasn’t an option. I loved the sound of the sharing sized steak and the ribs, but I’ll have to wait until next time. This time we went for a couple of Australian oysters to start ($6 for two). We liked the simple choices of lemon or a shallot vinegar and enjoyed the nicely sized moluscs.
Next up we went for the smoked fish pate. This home made pate was light, with a mousse like texture and was served with warmed pide bread. The combination was perfect, as was the portion size. The smokiness was obvious but not overpowering and the texture meant we didn’t feel too full after this.
For mains we both chose the hake with risotto ($26). The perfectly sized piece of fish was cooked until just beyond translucent, the flakes falling neatly from the piece on each forkful. The risotto was again a good sized portion and I didn’t feel like I’d over indulged too much after eating it. The risotto was creamy and cooked to just aldente, with a rich and full flavour. The burnt romaine lettuce added a little green and crunch, although I never really get the concept of cooked lettuce personally. This was one of my favourite fish dishes in a while.
My dining companion was in the mood for something sweet so she ordered the broken apple pie ($15). Essentially a deconstructed apple pie with apple caramel, bourbon and vanilla ice-cream that was a lovely combination of crunch, salty and sweet.
We chose a glass of Cava ($15) and a glass of white wine ($18) each with our meal. I was disappointed there was no Sauvignon Blanc and instead we chose between a Chardonnay and a Riesling.
SPRMRKT at Robertson Quay upstairs is definitley worth a try if you’re looking for something classy with good food options in a warm and welcoming space.
Now back to the kitchen and bar downstairs. As opposed to upstairs the kitchen and bar was a complete shambles on the Saturday morning we tried to visit. The queuing system was problematic, the staff rude and, in the end, we left. I hope downstairs can take some tips from their colleagues upstairs and improve in the weeks to come.
Note: Add 10% service to prices above, gst is absorbed.
SPRMRKT (pronounced supermarket)
41 Robertson Quay (on the river side of the Singapore Tyler Print Institute)
phone +65 9736 4032