Sugarhall Bar & Grill (Singapore)

A communal table at Sugarhall
Rising in tandem with the renaissance in cocktail culture, Singapore is witnessing a flood of new eateries where the food on the plate is as compelling as the concoctions that go with it.
No, we are not referring to bite size snacks but gourmet fare fielded by chefs with credible resumes.
Catalunya has done it, as have The Black Swan and Bacchanalia. And now, joining these glorious restaurant-bars is a raft of indie operators with decidedly cozy digs but oversized ambition buoyed by the culinary capital’s newfound love affair with cocktails.
The latest to hit the ground running is rum and grill bar, Sugarhall, by the enterprising couple – Indra Kantono and Gan Guo Yi – behind one of Singapore’s hottest cocktail joints, Jigger & Pony, on the same street.
Unlike its loungy next-door big sister, Sugarhall downplays the bar vibes with a contemporary-rustic setting of sleek wood panels, mason jar hanging lamps and log-like feature walls for the idyllic barnyard feel. But make no mistake, the booming soundtrack of vintage Latin, old-school ska and Jamaican reggae is a vivid reminder of the grill bar’s lineage, as is the drink list of 18 cocktails (50% of which are infused with rums, all priced at S$22) categorized as “clear spirits”, “dark spirits” and “tropical” by bar manager, Aki Eguchi.
For Kantono and Guo Yi’s first restaurant foray, they have enlisted the services of Polo Seah, former sous chef of Skirt, to put together an enticing menu of Parilla grill-cooked meats and vegetables as well as starters and desserts.
Pork chop from the Parilla grill is a tad tough
Free-range chicken from the Parilla grill is all succulent
Maori Lakes grass fed rib eye steak
Leveraging on Seah’s grill chops at Skirt, the menu showcases a clutch of seemingly straightforward Parilla grill-cooked meats that deliver simple pleasures at rather down-to-earth prices: a generous slab of – unfortunately tough – pork chop (S$28++ for 300g) brined in salt with a side of the most intoxicating orange parsley dip; succulent whole free-range chicken (S$28++) brined in rosemary served with head and feet alongside a refreshing cucumber-flecked yoghurt that could well double-up as a dessert; and Maori Lakes grass fed rib eye steak (S$32 for 240g), best served blood rare but was a tad overcooked during our visit, flanked by a chimichurri dip that could do with a boost of garlic.
Rainbow trout
Cauliflower with bacon, capers, hazelnuts and creme fraische
Grilled Tiger prawn with Szechuan peppers
Roasted beetroot, crispy kale and mascarpone cheese

 

While the meats could do with minor tweaks, the starters and vegetables dazzle.

Rainbow trout (S$16++) conjures up bursts of flavours with the marriage of the most unlikely ingredients – a rectangle of watermelon, folds of thinly sliced fennel and a blob of ethereal passionfruit foam. Squares of lipstick-red roasted beetroot (S$10++) with crispy sheets of deep-fried kale on a blanket of mascarpone cheese have a winning depth of flavours matched by textures that are fun to eat. And the grilled tender florets of cauliflower (S$12++) mingle beautifully with flavourful house made bacon, capers and hazelnut with a dollop of crème fraische for an invigorating zing. Grilled Tiger prawns (S$18), also a standout, boasts surprisingly not-so-spicy Szechuan peppers in a simple but stunning preparation of herbed butter and lime.

Chocolate-laced yoghurt ice cream
At the moment, only 2 desserts are available on the menu: a classic tiramisu (S$12) and a white chocolate-laced yoghurt ice cream (S$12); they are not mind blowing but better than middling.
We reckon desserts are not Sugarhall’s strongest suits but with an alluring menu of Eguchi’s rum-based digestifs, there are heaps of liquid alternatives to fall back on.
Besides the cocktail menu, Sugarhall also showcases more than 60 types of sugar cane spirits – think English-style rums, Spanish-style rums, French Rum Agricoles as well as spiced and flavoured rums – available in 45ml jiggers (S$15-$53) or bottles (S$160 – $640).
Now, we’re talking.
102 Amoy Street, Singapore 069 922 | +65- 6222 9102 | sugarhall.sg
© Evelyn Chen 2013
Please note that the reviews published on this blog are sometimes hosted. I am under no obligation to review every restaurant I’ve visited. If I do, the reviews are 100% my own.

 

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