Whether the Spot is Just the Spot to Hit the Spot (of the Stomach)
Ever wondered if there is a spot where you could have all of breakfast, lunch, coffee, dinner and drinks – within the central business district? Wonder no more with the discovery of “The Spot”. The Spot is a dining and drinking multi-concept spot located in Marina One just minutes away from the Downtown Station, which not only comprises an all-day café, restaurant and bar, but even has its own cigar lounge.
Venue – Spotting the Concept within the Set up
The Spot was created based on a strong conceptualisation of providing a spot where people may experience a flawless, holistic, all-in-one “day to night” experience. Operating hours on weekdays start at 7:30am, where one may get breakfast on the go, with a decent selection of mainstream choices such as granola and sandwiches paired with specialty coffee from Toby’s Estate or juice. This is followed by the availability of lunch and bar snacks up until dinner is served from 5:30pm, where one may chill until closing time at 11:00pm. On a separate note, The Spot would make a wonderful location to work over coffee and snacks, as power-point sockets are actually available at certain seats.
The interior of The Spot was carefully and beautifully designed with the overarching concept in mind, specifically to create an ambience appropriate for each different time of day. As my friend and I visited the place in the evening, we can attest to the elegance and lushness of the set up for drinks. That said, the round tables for two, though quaint and fitting well in the entire setting, are slightly small – fitting in all the dishes may be tricky for slow eaters or people who like to have a vast array of food for sharing at the same time.
We had the good fortune of being shown around the entire place. This included the a cigar lounge that is hidden behind a display shelf, which is a comfortably furnished and intimate space, coupled with a display of cigars and a wall of lockers for whisky storage that may be reserved. It is also worth mentioning that our tour also comprised a short visit to the spaces occupied by The Spot’s strategic partners, namely, the wine retailer 1855 The Bottle Shop as well as the whisky marque The Macallan, both of which operate closely with The Spot as part of its unique, holistic concept.
Drinks – The Craft of Carefully Crafted Cocktails
Before the dining experience began, Drazen, the in-house mixologist, came by to explain the various available crafted cocktails, offering suggestions based on our preferences for drinks. I went ahead with a Curry Oh (SGD20.00), which was made from Japanese single malt whisky with Gula Melaka syrup, as well as a mix of curry, cherry, orange and Peychaud’s bitters, and served with fresh orange peel and kaffir lime leaf. The mix was smoothly concocted as the curry was not overpowering, and the fruits not too sweet. My friend got herself a Tagay (SGD20.00), which had Don Papa rum as its base, mixed with a bit of sauvignon blanc, and juices of pineapple, calamansi and lemon, and topped with foam made from egg white. As with the Curry Oh, this cocktail was also well balanced and easy to drink, was refreshing and only mildly sweetened, but with a creamy layer. We were so impressed with the cocktails that we later made further orders – an Undress Me (SGD20.00) and a Betty’s Choice (SGD20.00). The Undress Me is made of Bourbon shaken with a syrup made from King’s ginger liqueur, cloves, star anise as well as cinnamon, together with some mangosteen syrup and lychee juice, then topped with egg white foam. The Betty’s Choice is a mix of Fords Gin and elderflower liqueur, combined with some lemon, lychee and beetroot. It may have been because we already had a good mix of alcohol in between, but the Undress Me and the Betty’s Choice were to our minds not as outstanding as the earlier two cocktails, although definitely still good cocktails easy on the tongue, and relatively more photogenic. Overall, the cocktails are definitely worth a try, although this is hardly surprising given that Drazen has won awards, including the National Cocktail Competition organised by the Association of Bartenders and Sommeliers Singapore.
Food – The Experience of Expecting the Unexpected when East Meets West
The food at The Spot is meticulously created and prepared under executive Chef Lee Boon Seng, who has an impressive resume of accolades including Rising Chef of the Year at the World Gourmet Summit of 2013 and is known for his food that is created with European techniques but paired with South East Asian ingredients, in particular with respect of the sauces used. Whilst there is a five-course dinner set available, we went for ala carte as there was simply too much that we wanted to try, which included certain items in the bar snack menu as well.
For appetizers, we had the Warmed Baby Squid (SGD15.00), the Hand-chopped Beef Tartare (SGD25.00) and the Chard-Grilled Octopus (SGD25.00). Our favourite of the three was the Warm Baby Squid, which consists of pan-fried whole baby squid served with three variants of soy: a sauce made with light soy sauce, tamarind and spring onion oil; a soy curd; and a soy mayonnaise made with a blend of soy beans and grapeseed oil. The surprising coupling of squid with soy turned out to be excellent, and the baby squid was prepared just nicely with caramelized crust and a drizzle of nice smokiness. The Charred Grilled Octopus was a close second noting how it was an entire tentacle cold marinated in oil infused with an aromatic mix of kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, garlic and shallots, then nicely grilled to have a springy, chewy texture and served with a unique preserved green papaya slaw, mint, and peanut miso emulsion.
For our mains, we had the Pan-fried Red Snapper (SGD28.00) and the Beef Short Ribs (SGD40.00). The Pan-fried Red Snapper was served with eggplant and green curry emulsion, which was a fragrant blend of various herbs and spices including lemongrass, blue ginger, kaffir lime leaves and Thai belachan fried until fragrant, then simmered with classic Thai ingredients such as coconut cream and Thai palm sugar. The Beef Short Ribs were tender as the Australian beef was seasoned, pan-seared, marinated, cooked sous-vide before being grilled and served with Java long pepper sauce, aerated Japanese porridge and pickled oyster mushroom.
For desserts, we got the Licorice Root Ice Cream (SGD15.00), made up of in-house licorice root ice cream, caramelized parsnip and malt molasses, served on a bed of coffee crumble. We also ordered the Sea Coconut Brulee (SGD14.00), which was traditional crème brulee with chunks of sea coconut at the base, served with house made sour cream ice cream, kaffir lime foam and zest. Whilst the abovementioned mixes may sound unconventional, the desserts were very enjoyable, and would, to our minds, be in line with mainstream taste of the public.
From the Bar Snacks, we tried the Éclair Sandwich, which is a dish carefully prepared from scratch – from the choux pastry to the smoked Norwegian salmon, salted egg yolk emulsion, curry leaf powder and mentaiko. Whilst the individual components were well crafted, put together, it was slightly too complex to be properly appreciated as the dish ought to have been.
Finally, it is definitely worth mentioning that the mind-blowing dishes of The Spot were surprisingly the following dishes, despite their underwhelming names, namely the Roasted Carrot Soup (SGD18.00) and the Fried Cauliflower with Gruyere Cheese and Longan (SGD8.00). We tried asking Chef Lee for his secret behind these dishes, and it appears that the sheer addictiveness of the soup was likely from a mix of orange juice, coupled with lemongrass chorizo prawn salsa and rye crumb, whilst the wondrous flavours of the cauliflower dish must have resulted from the meticulous selection of the original ingredients.
Service – Spot on
The service we experienced during our visit was absolutely spot on. We were not only given proper recommendations and offered drinks at timely intervals, but also had our dishes promptly served in succession and cleared in a timely manner and only with our consent. All the staff were well-mannered, friendly and responsive. As such, our entire experience at The Spot was undeniably a wonderful one, and we could not be happier to recommend The Spot to anyone looking to have a holistic dining and drinking experience, although at a notable price –but partially because there’s just so much worth trying.
5 Straits View
Marine One The Heart
Tel: +65 6284 2637
Monday to Friday: 7.30am to 11.00pm
Saturday: 5.30pm to 11.00pm