Keong Saik Snacks http://www.keongsaiksnacks.com/ is the new restaurant from Jason Atherton who now has restaurants in London, Hong Kong and 2 other restaurants (Pollen at Gardens by the Bay and Esquina http://esquina.com.sg/ ) here in Singapore. Billed as a British inspired snack bar it reminds me of all the quirky little bars and restaurants that have been popping up all over London in recent years, yet in an original and creative way. The menu is displayed on the wall as you enter and also on a simple laminate given to you on seating and whilst it is relatively small, you really are spoiled for choice and it took me ages to decide what I wanted to order.
Dishes include ‘Jasons Very Hot Dog’ a homemade hot dog topped with avocado, aged cheddar and jalapenos and a ‘Kimchee’ Burger as well as Bone marrow ( which I had enjoyed tremendously at esquina when I visited) BBQ pork ribs with pickled red cabbage and a fancy ‘Iberico and Manchego’ toasted sandwich which came topped with a fried egg.
In the end I decided to choose the Fish and Oysters, plump oysters and pieces of seabass and cod coated in a crunchy beer batter and deep fried as it seemed like the thing to do as a Brit in a Brit inspired restaurant. The beer batter was perfectly crunchy and held the glistening, translucent chunks of fish together beautifully and the homemade tartar sauce with pieces of egg, tangy cornichons and salty capers running through it was a great and very tasty accompaniment.
I had been tempted to order the salad of shaved asparagus and fennel with burrata as a sort of side order but as I wasn’t sure how big the portions were at this point, I decided on a side salad and some chilli garlic fries. The salad was the only thing resembling a let down to be honest, simple lollo rosso and radish slices (admittedly in a very good dressing) I would have hoped for something a little more interesting even at $6.
The fries were very good, seemingly tossed in the sort of chilli sauce thats served with Hainanese chicken and rice and therefore packed full of flavour but I would have preferred them a little hotter. Other tables seemed to be mostly choosing the hot dog and the burger from the looks of the dishes being delivered to the tables around me and I had to restrain myself from tutting at the young guy next to me who was eating his hot dog with a knife and fork whilst simultaneously being seriously impressed with the tiny young girl opposite who was devouring hers with true gusto.
I hadn’t planned on ordering dessert but at $8 for hot cinnamon doughnuts, who could resist? They came served beautifully (if not eccentrically) in a fine china tea cup with vanilla and salt caramel creams coming in dainty espresso cups on the side.
There are quirky little touches like that all over the place, my fish was served in a beautiful silver tumbler, beers come in silver tankards and I never fail to be impressed with these stylistic touches I have come to expect from Loh Lik Peng, the business brains behind here and many other beautifully designed restaurants and hotels in Singapore. With two glasses of wine, lunch cost me $80 which seemed very reasonable indeed and I cannot wait to return, now I just need to decide if I want to try the bbq pork ribs, the hot dog or the burger next!!!