Walk into a restaurant as an early bird; not an issue.
Walk into a restaurant in the dinner hours; be prepared to execute a Singaporeans’ favourite – QUEUE.
Despite having planned a dinner at SPRIGS, a 2-month
old young European restaurant, at 6.45pm, I was inclined to be safe than sorry. I have always been one who needs confirmation and security. I will almost always make an advanced reservation at a restaurant. I like to settle and put it behind me, fuss-free.
While I was at SPRIGS, I chanced upon a brilliant someone who chope-d his seats with a, well, sprig. How apt. Another act of uniquely Singaporean.
Okay, I kid. I was the culprit. I love word plays.
No, but really, making a swift and easy online reservation makes me feel accomplished, somehow. It is as though in a snap, your reservation at a restaurant is confirmed. This time round, I made the reservation through www.chope.com.sg.
Not only can you make a direct booking for any of its participating merchants, if you are unsure of where to eat and are just simply exploring, you can sort by:
- Available Promotions
- Price Range
- Type of Meal
After selecting your desired timing, your reservation will be instantly confirmed with 3 clicks!
I also have the Chope Mobile App on my phone. I like its straightforward and clean interface. You can either search directly for the restaurant, or scroll through all participating ones from A-Z. You can totally play the speed-scroll-and-stop game to randomly pick a restaurant.
Now on to my experience at SPRIGS.
Bread Basket came with the restaurant’s compliments. Seeing that it is increasingly a norm, they ensured that the first impression was set on the right track by complementing it with French Butter with Sea Salt & Truffle Oil. The basket was later emptied, effortlessly.
Starters :: With a joint named SPRIGS, any hunch of the menu be filled with greens is only reasonable. Browse through the menu and you will find it to be satisfied. It could be said particularly so for its starters menu, where the greens in most dishes are the focus. The Cauliflower Velouté ($12++) and the Crab Salad in Chilled Pea Soup ($15++) are examples of such. The former was a velouté infused with cauliflower, scattered with parmesan cheese and bacon prepared with chopped parsley, garlic and grated lemon zest. It had quite a velvety texture, and while the bacon strips lend a good twist of events in the palate, die-hard cauliflower fans will not be happy to find that it is not as richly-cauliflower. The latter was a refreshing switch, to the chilled pea soup with a centered blue swimming crab meat salad. A mixture of the contents gives a much grainy texture, and personally, it lies somewhere in the middle of the scale.
Grilled Langoustine (Norway Lobster) ($26++) was my favourite starter of the night, partially because I am prejudice towards meat. My past experiences with langoustines were usually in a salad of sorts form, thus I was thrilled to have it in its base form, prepared with tarragon (herb), garlic and olive oil. It was sweet and felt fleshy despite the size.
Mains :: Sitting on a bed of parsnip puree and accompanied by pearl onions and bacon ragout, the Pan-Seared Snapper ($24++) was good by itself. Delicate meat with no signs of chunky dried-up insides. However, I found myself digging in to the bacon ragout more often than the snapper, as it appeared better paired with the rich and savoury sauce. The Grilled Australian Pork Tenderloin ($28++) fell a little short. While the grain mustard sauce was fairly good, I thought the pork could be done more tender and consequently giving a better bite as a whole.
I was most impressed with the unassuming Joe, the Oven-Roasted Corn-Fed Poussin (Chicken) ($24++). It is not easy for a classic chicken to go wrong, but neither is it easy to conjure one that exceeds the standard expectation. Not only does it come in a sizable portion (pictured is only about a third of the actual size), the meat is most tender and lean, and goes ideally with the tarragon jus.
Desserts :: Both the desserts were executed pretty decently. Crispy Chocolate & Caramel Crumble ($12++) can never go wrong, with the right balance of sweetness and savoury, and smoothness (chocolate toffee mousse) and crispiness (sea salt hazelnut crumble). A (sour) break of monotonous is encouraged with slices of a variation of berries. For a milder end, the Mango & Passionfruit Panna Cotta ($12++) may just do the job. It is not overly sour, and the cubes of aloe vera topped that complete the creamed-textured panna cotta, make the dessert multidimensional.
It is a pleasure to end off the meal with a cup of coffee / tea. In instances where caffeine works wonders for you, it is notable that the restaurant holds a selection of 12 different Gryphon tea leaves, of which 7 of them are decaffeinated. You also get to engage your sense of smell (on the loose leaves) before deciding on your cup.
The restaurant has only been around for about 2 months. Sure, there are hits and misses, but for a budding establishment, I see potential. If you are making your way down, and are intending to make your very own 3-course meal, I say go with Grilled Langoustine + Oven-Roasted Corn- Fed Poussin + Crispy Chocolate & Caramel Crumble. Fret not, no CHOPE-ing of seats required (not with a sprig, not with tissue paper). Just e-CHOPE at www.chope.com.sg.
What’s worth paying for:
Oven-roasted Corn-fed Poussin.
Crispy Chocolate & Caramel Crumble.