The newly opened COMMUNAL along North Canal Road brings to us an American diner experience right in the heart of our Singapore central business district. Mention American food, one would easily conjure up images of burgers, sandwiches, mac and cheese, fried chicken. Communal serves up all these, and much more!
With its location just a stone's throw away from the neighbouring UOB Tower and OCBC Centre, it was quite of a surprise when Charleen and I found that it wasn't crowded when we visited for lunch on a weekday. I was expecting us to brave the infamous Raffles Place office crowd. Perhaps they have yet to discover the value set lunch which comes with a choice of sandwich + soup/salad + ice tea/lemonade for only $15.
The first thing I noticed upon entering the casual eatery is the long rustic brick counter which takes the centerstage. As it faces the open kitchen, customers can perch themselves at one of the steel bar seats and watch the chefs in action while having their meal. I prefer to relax and make myself comfortable at one of the cozy booths.
The Lobster Mac and Cheese Gratin ($20) proved to be a satisfying choice for our main course. The fresh lobster chunks adds a gourmet touch to the ordinary dish, while the sprinkles of toasted bread crumbs provides a nice little crunchy texture. Though the macaroni is smothered in a mixture of parmesan, gyuyere and white cheddar cheese, it is still very light on the palate. I would describe this dish as a cheese-based pasta, rather than a gratin, so as not to disappoint traditionalists expecting an American classic of mac and cheese with rich, thick cheesy sauce. They would probably scoff at this rendition, but if one look beyond the confining term of "classic", you'd probably enjoy this dish as much as I do.
Nothing can be faulted of the Braised Beef Cheek ($24). I love the meat which is slow-cook till so meltingly tender, and its delicious deeply flavoured gravy. Even the slightly bitter taste of the brussel sprouts is all very agreeable with me. Together with the smoked potatoe puree, this makes a very hearty dish.
I can't resist anything sourish, especially not this Lemon Tart ($7). The lemon filling is smooth with a great lemony taste. When its sharp, tangy flavour meets with the dollop of freshly whipped cream, it is an excitement to the tastebuds! The soft, crumbly crust which is made of pine nut is such a welcoming one after I had one too many tarts with hard shells recently.
The Monkey Bread ($7) is certainly something new to me. I've never heard or tried it before prior to this visit to Communal. Gosh, it was love at first bite! Little cubes of cinnamon bread are stacked together in a cylindrical mini-tower, drizzled with sweet sticky syrup and topped with vanilla ice cream. The warm, chewy cubes breaks away easily with a gentle nudge of the fork. Each pop into my mouth is a sensation of hot and cold, sweet and spicy scent of cinnamon. I enjoyed this tremendously, but would recommend it for sharing, as this is a tad too heavy as an after-meal dessert.
Overall, it was a nice meal at a nice place without breaking the wallet. I wanna come back soon to try the fried chicken! Before the place gets too crowded!
Address: 12 North Canal Road #01-01, Singapore 048825
Contact: +65 6221 7790
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 11.30am-2.30pm & 6-10pm (except Public Holidays)