Good British cuisine is remarkably not a frequent sight on the local food scene in Singapore. The more common cuisine types tend to dive straight into the ubiquitous Japanese, Italian, French, and American to name a few. As such I was quite intrigued to head over to The Ascot where word of mouth promises some of the most scrumptious British food available on this island. Located at The Grandstand (formerly Turf City), The Ascot is a restaurant serving traditionally English “gastrogrub”. With a menu of classic English favourites and an extensive selection of alcoholic drinks from the UK, guests can look forward for a taste of Britain right here in Singapore.
Travelling to The Grandstand is best done by the internal shuttle buses provided at the Botanic Gardens, Newton or Toa Payoh MRT stations. The only qualm is that the shuttle service comes at hourly intervals so if you do miss the bus, hail a cab in. Brian tried to walk in from the public bus stop nearest to The Grandstand but suffered tremendously under the Singapore heat with ponies along the way. At The Grandstand itself, I noted quite a few interesting concept restaurants and food outlets. Places like Omakase burger are quite on the scene these days, and they have a fresh Japanese fish market at the far end of the mall as well. The entire mall is still progressively developing, so do expect some changes as the months go by.
I started off lunch with the Strawberry spinach salad with crumbled blue cheese, pistachios, bacon & avocado ($18). Admittedly, this is one of the finest salads I’ve had for this year. Light and fragrant with a good thorough combination of dressing and ingredients, the slightly bitter sweet spinach leaves complemented the tangy blue cheese nicely. The strawberry were a good visual appeal and provided that added texture every so often. And the vinaigrette was wholesome with sour notes tinged with scents of sweetness.
The table then moved on to the Cold Cut Platter ($18) where a board of meats was served up right for the picking. For the day, there was ham, parma ham and salami served alongside silver onions, gherkins, scotch eggs and homemade bread. Meats aside, I thoroughly enjoyed my portion of scotch egg. It’s my first time enjoying the creation, and it’s really a sight to see a wonderfully poached runny egg coated with sausage and then deep fried to a crisp. Delish!
Pair the scotch eggs with the original HP sauce for the savoury tangy flavour!
If you are up for it, go for some of Badgers England’s Own (UK) beer [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][$15] right in the middle of the day. Described as touched with flavours of white grape and elderflower, this is one beer that is not too accented or bitter with a mild complexity enough to froth a chilly experience in the mouth. Pair it with the food, bar snacks or simply enjoy it all on its own.
I quite enjoyed the Smoked Tomato Soup ($8) that was served up. Musky, roasted sweet tangy aromatics of tomato make up the base that with each sip, leaves one heaving a sigh of relief. Enjoy the touch of sweetness first, subsequently followed by savoury notes that appear at the edge of the tongue. Finish it off with some crisp toasted bread by the side for a substantial dip, and you have yourself a perfect dish for the cold rainy day or chilly night.
Moving on to the mains, I saw A bunch of bangers ($20) being served right up. 3 broiled sausages of veal, pork, and cumberland, served on top a pile of bubble and squeak – bubble and squeak being yesterday’s vegetables freshly prepared for today’s meal. Good, wholesome and meaty, with hearty portions enough to make you feel satisfied for all your meat cravings. Gawd, I’m craving for another portion of it right now. Maybe, the next time I’ll try it with the side of truffle mash drizzled with onion gravy.
Cottage Pie ($22) is almost a classic that needs to be served at the table. Hailed as a hot pie dish of minced beef topped with mash potatoes, breadcrumbs and toasted to a beautiful golden brown, this is simply more tempting visually. A very decent dish, though I would love a more thorough meat base that as one digs into the pie, a beautiful imbalance is shown. More meat than potatoes I always say. Still, good savoury flavours in hearty combinations make this a must order when you don’t know what else to eat.
Or, you could just have the classic choice of Traditional Fish & Chips ($20). I simply had to try it as this is probably the next thing well known about Britain, apart from Her Majesty. Battered fish, deep fried and served with fries come with a side of mushy peas and tartae sauce. The excellent batter leaves the fish pieces whole and crisp on the outside, yet tender and bursting with juiciness within. Pair it slightly with the tartae sauce for that complete experience. Although, I must say the complete experience is really just trying to enjoy the mushy peas. Excellent with beer.
Popular British food has also its hands into a bridge of Indian cuisine. The Chicken Tikka Masala ($18) comes served with the restaurant’s own naan. As Singaporeans know about curry that is usually fiery and hot, this dish is instead deceptively hot because of its redness and expresses more sweetness than anything else. The chicken pieces are definitely tender and enjoyable, but to pass off a curry dish that is not hot in Singapore requires a bit of a challenge for some guests.
Wash down all that grub with another serving of Brothers Pear Cider ($15/$18). Available in both the original Pear Cider and Festival Cider versions, this is one drink that is fizzy and sweet that will leave you bubbly and happy for the night to come. Although one supposedly carries a slightly higher alcoholic content, I don’t really noted much difference except for a slightly rounded flavour in the Original.
Desserts of the day saw me having the Classic Bread and Butter Pudding with Choice of Ice Cream ($9). Warm, fluffy, not too sweet and yet chunky in texture, this is probably one of the few times I’m having bread and butter pudding. Quite enjoyable though I strongly prefer the next dessert to come.
Ok, I admit, this is my first time having Deep fried Mars Bars ($8). I’m impressed for what it tasted like, felt like, and the combination of crispy surface with caramelized sticky interior makes this dish go up notches on the tasty scale. I’m not a strict fan for desserts, but this hit the spot nicely because of a slightly savoury start developing into the sweetness within. Excellent. This being said, I’ve yet to try the Deep Fried Mars Bars available at Chippy’s. Maybe I’ll try it soon and experience the difference.
The dining experience at The Ascot is on a whole a very well executed affair. From start to finish, I enjoyed most of the dishes with accolades going straight to the starters. Do remember to order the Strawberry salad, scotch eggs and fish and chips, not forgetting the deep fried mars bars, and a couple rounds of beer along the way. For a place that is quite out of the way, it makes the entire journey well worth it. The Ascot is probably my first foray into British cuisine, and hopefully I’ll be able to experience more exciting dishes along the way. It is definitely good grub that goes excellently well with great company.
Thank you The Ascot for the invitation
200 Turf Club Road
Tel : 6462 0881
Reservations RecommendedOpens From :
Mon-Thu 11.30am to 11pm
Fri 11.30am to 1am
Sat 10.30am to 1am
Sun 10.30am to 11pm