Singapore: Spathe Public House

One of my favorite pastime is to keep myself up to date with new dining spots in Hong Kong and Singapore.Then I will take note of the interesting ones and try them when I have a chance. Our (newly married) friend F will be based in China for the next two years, so N and I had a farewell dinner with him at Spathe Public House. Located at Mohammed Sultan, Spathe is a relatively new restaurant and emphasizes on communal dining. They have a list of dishes for sharing, as well as some individual ones. The sharing dishes can also be ordered as an individual size. Sounds confusing? Not really. You can figure this out easily when you come.

We started off with a pitcher of Sangria (white), which was very bland. Could hardly taste the alcohol in it. Then came the garlic fries, which was in a medium size souffle cup. The skinny fries were good, but be sure you like garlic, as they were generous with the fried garlic bits. When the server explained that the sharing plates are of different sizes and portions, she wasn’t kidding. We ordered an individual portion of duck puff, and were presented with two minuscule duck encased pastries that were about 2/3 size of an iPhone. $18 for that?  The cantonese term “搵笨” came to mind immediately when I saw that. I was being ripped off. After taxes, that’s $10 per puff. Paired with caramelized onions, I thought the duck puff was nothing to write home about. Having said that, I felt like hurling my remains of duck puff in their face to calm myself down.

Individual portion of Chicken and the Sea (ie chicken and seafood paella) came in the same medium sized souffle cup. We came to the conclusion that the portions here are not big to begin with. So if you are healthy eaters, you can ignore the scary warnings on the menu that indicate that the large portions feed 4 – 6 people. More like 2 – 4 people, depending on what you order. The paella was quite nice, the rice was well cooked. I am no experts in paella so I can only say it tasted decent, but didn’t leave a lasting impression. The highlight of the night must be the metre long hot dog. We understood from the server that if we can scuff down the hot dog in 6 minutes (it used to be 10 minutes, I figured too many people got away with free hot dogs), we can get it for free. For $55, that was quite tempting. F declared he could do it in 3 minutes. We demanded a performance. He chickened out last minute, saying he wasn’t not feeling well. The 1 metre long hot dog was impressive, and comes with a bed of salad. We quite enjoyed it, and carved out 5 portions. Still feeling a little peckish, we order the calamari. Total waste of money. What came was a plate of 9 (F counted) skinny and dry squid rings (of different sizes) served with “tunisian pepper sauce”. Sounds exotic, but tastes yukky. The pepper sauce had a distinctive flavor which doesn’t agree with me and the squid rings definitely seen better days. Looked as though they dug it out from the back of the freezer and have been left there for god knows how long. I think I can get better squid from the frozen section of Cold Storage.

The prices here are pretty steep for the sharing dishes. For example, the large portion of duck puffs was $38. I suspect they won’t give me more than 6. The full size mussels cost a whopping $98 (???!!!). The large portion of mussels at BrusselsSprouts cost $40 with free refills of fries. That’s enough to feed at least 2 people without ordering other things. Clearly they encourage you to share food here so 1 pot of mussels is not gonna fill you up here. Granted that the mussels (we were ogling at what other tables ordered) were served in a pot, but judging from the amount of shells the diners had (which wasn’t a lot), I don’t think that pot is worth the $98 price tag. N commented helpfully that perhaps they gave a lot of garlic bread along with the mussels. Better make that 3 loaves at least then.

The dessert was a disappointment as well. We got a poached pear charlotte with chocolate sauce. It looked pretty, with the pear perched on top of vanilla pudding (some vanilla custard thingy) with bits of lady fingers around it. For one thing, I don’t think the chocolate sauce goes well with this dessert. Perhaps salted caramel would be better. Another thing is, I did not expect the dessert to be served cold. The vanilla pudding (or what ever it is) at the bottom was hard and so were the lady fingers. N took a bite and pushed it towards me. I didn’t finish it. There were more misses than hits in this meal, and with so many restaurants sprouting up every month, we agreed that we would rather try out other new establishments than come back again.

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