Singapore's Chinatown is getting a lot more interesting these recent years! With the explosion of boutique hotels, art galleries, offices and new restaurants especially along Keong Saik Road, it is no longer just an area which many visit only once a year to soak in some Chinese New Year atmosphere. There are now more reasons to be here, the best and most frequent reason for me has to be - food. I'm feeling very blessed to have friends (Thanks Joey & Alex!) who are always easy to accept my suggestions for eating places, one of which is Table 24, a newly opened restaurant set in a historical pre-war art deco shophouse along Temple Street, serving contemporary American food.
We did not make a reservation but went straight down to Table 24 last Friday evening at risk of not getting a table. (Reminder to guys: if you're out on dates, it's always safer to reserve okie :p). Into the restaurant we went, took a look at the decoration, browsed through the menu and decided that what we saw pleased us enough to make us wanna go ahead with dinner here.
The restaurant interior spots a timelessly modern industrial chic look of raw finishes, combined with an abundance of natural tones. Chairs are deliberately mismatched, but kept to the the same range of colors (wood, orange, yellows, brown), to create an interest factor. Walls are quaintly decorated with bowls arranged in a sine sound wave, strengthening the metaphor of the bowls being vessels for food. One of the oldest boomboxes on display is from 1979! Does the younger generation even know how a cassette player look like?
On Sundays when the restaurant is closed, it's intended for the space to be used for music showcases and workshops. With their ethos of promoting independent music, playlists at Table 24 are curated with care, featuring independent music by artistes in Singapore and the region.
The man behind the kitchen of Table 24 is head chef Richard Lee who recently returned to Singapore after 4 years of traveling around America and working in various fine dining establishments. With a focus on contemporary American cuisine coupled with some Asian influence, what we can expect is a seasonally-inspired menu that changes regularly and reflects a blend of cultures and flavors. Dishes are created with an aim to make it healthy and affordable, using only ethical and sustainable ingredients. What you wouldn't find here is burgers, fries and foie gras.
We decided to go ahead with the 3-course Prix Fixe Menu ($45 per person) and selected our choices from a list of appetizers, entreés and desserts. While waiting for our orders to be ready, we were served complimentary warm Focaccia Bread and an amuse bouche of Salmon Gravlax to tease up our appetite for the food ahead.
The Seafood Stew was the first to be brought to the table. We all thought it was rather salty at initial taste, but soon closed one eye to that as the seafood-beer broth is actually quite delish with a nice tang from the tomatoes. Soaked some bread in the stew, and it became quite an enjoyment with the medley of fresh seafood. Delighting our palates next is the Octopus Salad in chive oil and sake dressing. Presented in a dainty cylindrical tower together with fire-roasted peppers, cukes, leeks and cucumbers, its taste was as delicate and refreshing as it looked. I find Baharat-spiced Lamb Chop a tad gamey but it was adored by Alex tremendously for the same reason. "Lamb should have a smell of lamb!", he said. We agreed the lamb took to the heavier seasoning of baharat very well. The sides of chickpeas with cous cous was equally strongly flavored with the distinct aroma of cumin.
Titillating our tastebuds greatly is the tender and flavorful Grilled Grain-fed Angus Hangar Steak paired with chimichurri sauce. I was impressed by asparagus which was meticulously shredded into exquisite thin ribbons, such details even for an accompaniment! Shrimp and Grits stood out for its shrimps that were incredibly fresh, plump and crunchy! The shimeiji, button mushrooms and bits of bacon texturally contrasted and enhanced the soft buttery grits, with the yummy sage butter sauce pulling everything together beautifully. Most adventurous dish of the evening went to the Coffee-crusted Pork Chop. The pork loin was slow-roasted for 45 minutes, resulting in meat that was soft and moisture still retained. The cut was too lean for me though, please give me some fats lol. While the idea of giving the pork chop a coffee crust is interesting, the blackened look was not the most instagrammable or exciting. Texture wise, the hard grinded coffee beans doesn't really appeal to us, but its slightly bitter taste enhanced the red eye barbeque, a savory-sweet sauce made with key ingredients of tomatoes and coffee, rather well.
For desserts, we went for Flourless Chocolate Cake with blueberry compote, chantilly cream and crunchy almond crumble, Bailey Cheesecake with graham crust, bitter chocolate and strawberry gelee, as well as Coffee Panna Cotta with champagne gelee, sugar cookie and chocolate-cayenne ganache. The desserts were all well executed and prettily plated. I forgot to take a photo of the panna cotta because... we were all distracted by the...
... Birthday cake for Joey! Thanks to the staff who helped to put a candle on the cheesecake and brought it out as a surprise! Blessed birthday, Joey!
Table 24 is still very new and I'm keen to see how they will evolved eventually. The sincerity and effort in wanting to bring to us great flavor, quality ingredients and good value was undoubtedly felt in their food. I would recommend this place for a relaxing night out with friends and for casual dates.
Address: 24 Temple Street,, Singapore 058569
Contact: +65 62259925
Opening Hours: Mon - Thu 5pm - 11pm / Fri - Sat 5pm - 12am / Closed on Sun
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