East siders should rejoice because Spruce has opened up its second outlet in Katong Square! Serving up modern American food, [email protected] has definitely proven itself to be a real contender in the Singapore restaurant scene.
For this tasting session, we were given split portions of several dishes off the menu and I was truly impressed, having minimal negative comments about the dishes.
Starters n’ Sides
We were served the SPRUCE Signature Salad to start, and by the gods, if you order this dish please share–or prepare not to eat anything else, the portion size is just massive!
The salad itself was great, and you definitely don’t get shortchanged. It’s a party in your mouth, with the more delectable ingredients like avocados and oh-so-sweet tomatoes. The dressing was delicious as well, though I’d recommend asking for a tad more because of the gargantuan portion size.
These Wings, Though
To continue, we were distributed four different signature house wings, all of which definitely possessed their own charm.
The Black Sweet Wings had a distinct sweetness to them. There was almost definitely some kicap manis in play. The Sassy Wings and Spruce Hot Wings were great too, boasting a tantalising blend of sweetness and spice.
To top it all off, we indulged in their signature Devil Wings, which is the spiciest of the range. It had flavours that resembled raw sambal (or sambal belacan), keeping the spice on a tasty, blazing edge. It wasn’t just forced onto the wings for the sake of fulfilment or a challenge, and I personally would go for seconds, albeit the excruciating spice.
The SPRUCE Burger
Up next was The SPRUCE Burger, made with a homemade beef patty, stuffed with your usual burger ingredients and served with a side of their signature fries. Though somewhat generic tasting, the burger was a delectable and juicy one.
The fries, however, were stunning. I personally am a thin cut fry man, but those fries were seasoned beautifully (salt and a light cheese powder). They had such fluffy insides–I couldn’t just stop at one.
Pasta & Pizza
Spruce has a well-spread variety of pasta and risotto on their menu. For the tasting, they highlighted two main pasta dishes: the SPRUCE Prawn Pasta and the ‘Katong’ Chicken Laksa Pasta.
The prawn pasta was creamy, remnant of a cheesy base. The sea prawns were a definite highlight, crunchy and flavourful. It was a pleasant surprise finding out that the pasta utilised a base made of zucchini, spinach and garlic cream. What a way to make me eat my vegetables.
Fusion food is always generally a hit or miss, but Spruce seems to have gotten it right. The ‘Katong’ Chicken Laska Pasta is a loving ode to Katong, where Spruce’s new outlet is located. I enjoyed the take on laksa dish as it wasn’t excessively creamy, which is rare for a ‘laksa pasta’ dish.
The ingredients (even the chicken) themselves worked in perfect harmony and did not overpower each other.
SPRUCE @ Katong has five pizzas on their menu, some of which sound especially interesting – there’s a Lahmacun Spiced Beef pizza. We got to try the Signature Spicy Chicken Balado pizza, which was very nice, but not particularly outstanding.
Spicy and sweet, this pizza is priced well for sharing over a drink, or as a meal-starter.
Sweet, Sweet Meat
Their Chimichurri Lamb Chops were next, and this is probably one of the weaker dishes in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, the elements and taste of the dish were great, but as with every order of lamb chops you’re practically at risk of buying more bone than meat which was one problem we had, the other being that their knives provided to cut the meat were dull and did no better than the normal dinner knives.
The final main we were given was probably the highlight of the whole tasting for me. The Chilli Beef Ribs dish was a real treat to eat. The meat was very easily separable from the bone, incredibly juicy, and came in pretty generous portions.
Va va voom! At $26, served with those delightful fluffy fries and salad? Yes, please.
Lastly, we were served three different cakes, the Hazelnut Chocolate Cheesecake, the Sea Salt Caramel Chocolate Cake and the American Carrot Cake. [email protected] makes these in-house.
In all honesty, don’t expect too much. The cakes were somewhat lacklustre, and I personally did not enjoy the carrot cake or the sea salt caramel very much. I liked the cheesecake because I’m a real sucker for cheesecakes. As mentioned previously, the portion sizes are pretty huge, but at a $12 price point, it isn’t really worth it.
Overall, I had a very enjoyable experience at [email protected], and I’d definitely go back for the majority of the dishes, save for dessert. If you decide to head to [email protected], tune your schedules to their Beer O’Clock promotions, where half pints of Guiness and Tiger are priced according to the hour, from 3 pm – 6 pm.