Ash & Char – Blue Wine, Comfort Fusion Food, Chic Gastrobar in the CBD!

There’s a new place to get food and drink in the Central Business District: Ash & Char. Once a café, it has recently been relaunched as a gastrobar — where you expect not just good alcohol, but also inventive accompanying nosh. To that end, Ash & Char fulfils that promise by presenting a wide menu of treats to go along with your cocktail or beer.

Ash & Char’s signature offering is their blue wine: the Santa Cruz de Alpera Blue Frizzante. Blue is not a colour commonly found in nature or food, so to see it illuminate the wine like this should be a nice novelty for first-time guests to Ash & Char. Its bouquet was lightly intoxicating, and the taste sharply sweet.

What I would go for is the Mixed Berry Bramble! A refreshing, icy, and fruity cocktail with a light gin finish. Iif you’re after something more alcoholic, a good choice would be the Whisky Sour.

Fried and savoury bar staples are also available at Ash & Char. The Crispy Kalemari, which as its name suggests, were lightly breaded calamari rings; gently fried and, to my relief, not rubbery at all.

Another bar staple is the Classic Fish And Chips – crispy thin batter encasing the chunky fish meat served with a creamy tartar dip by the side, and of course, french fries portioned warm and crisp. Basically, a good ol’ fish and chips dish.

No bar would be complete if it did not serve fried chicken wings. Ash & Char has six flavours, although I only got to try three of them: Buffalo, Teriyaki, and Har Cheong Kai. The buffalo wings are a great choice for those who want some spice, while the teriyaki wings will appeal to diners who want their wings coated with a sticky sweet and salty sauce and bonito flakes to top. The har cheong kai version is as well-executed as those you’ll find at other zhi char restaurants, with a generous but not-overwhelming shrimp flavour in the crispy skin.

You can also get really great-tasting (and great-looking) burgers here. We got to try the AC Char-Grilled Wagyu. The aioli carried a strong truffle aroma, and the wagyu patty was done just right, juicy to the bite. The colour of the bun was more of a novelty; it’s still a well-toasted bun with a thin-crisp surface coupled with wholesomeness in each bite.

If you need more meat in your meal, Ash & Char has you covered with their Signature Char Siu and Mayura Choco Wagyu. The char siu comes glazed with a sweet sauce accented with soy and honey over each piece of meat that is layered with a generous sliver of fat.

Comparatively, the wagyu, wasn’t as thrilling. The cubes were mildly sweet but still lacking in taste. I also expected each portion of wagyu to be smoother and more marbled, but each bite was chewy. That said, there was just the slightest hint of chocolate to make the beef a bit more interesting.

Now, for the more unconventional tapas on the menu. The Crispy Cauliflower is a creative choice for a vegetable dish. The name is a bit of a misnomer as the cauliflower itself is roasted, and hence not crispy; any crispiness comes from the addition of breadcrumbs, which is still texturally appealing. But the roasting the cauliflower does add a lot of umami along with the garlic and soy sauce, and so it is a very pleasing dish.

The Chijeu-Buldak, or as it is known in English, ‘fire chicken with cheese’ is another tapas item to look out for. Think cheese and chicken cooked together with Korean culinary spices, forming a savoury morsel that hints just ever so slightly of kimchi.

If you looking for more filling dishes, you can choose between pasta and rice bowls. For noodles, the Tom Yum Seafood has linguine soaking up a laksa-inspired broth with an intense coconut milk flavour amidst the sour and salty notes. The prawns and mussels are succulent.

I have to be honest about the Mentaiko Salmon Aburi bowl though: the taste of the rice and salmon did not match the quality of most of the other dishes here. The mentaiko is a reliably delicious topping for the salmon. However, perhaps due the provenance of the meat, the salmon itself did not taste as good as I’d hoped. Maybe it would have tasted better if the ‘aburi’ in the name did not simply mean that the mentaiko was torched, but also the salmon itself.

Messy Rocker

Creamy Smoked Duck Pasta

In general, Ash & Char has fantastic, well-presented dishes. In addition to the ones I’ve already mentioned, I got to see the yummy-looking Messy Rocker burger and the Creamy Smoked Duck Pasta. Unfortunately, they weren’t available for tasting that evening, so I could only take pictures.

All in all, with very few exceptions, you can’t go wrong with most of the food at Ash & Char. However, there are some issues with the acoustics; I had difficulty hearing the conversation I was having with my plus one over the din of the crowd. I hope they resolve it eventually, because as a space for hosting clients, enjoying the company of friends, or going on a date over tasty food and blue wine, it’s a pretty good spot.

Thank you Ash & Char for the invitation. 

Ash & Char Gastrobar
21 McCallum Street
Singapore 069047

Enquiries: 8341 1951

Opening Hours:
Mon to Thu  – 11am to Midnight
Fri – 11am to 1am
Sat – 5pm to 1am
Closed on Sundays

Myo Restobar – Relish Traditional Kia Hiang Delicacies Besides Contemporary Dishes!

Fans of 40 year-old Kia Hiang Cantonese Restaurant at International Plaza would be pleased to know that there is now one more place nearer the Central Business District where one can get that famous Claypot Chicken! Myo restobar is the group’s latest venture in bringing both familiar favourites and delectable dim sum in addition to contemporary dishes that demonstrate attempts at innovating beyond the traditional. The best part of Myo restobar, however,  are its affordable prices within the city. With set lunches starting from $16++ and the a-la-carte menu being reasonably priced throughout, this could very well be one more dining option for either lunch or dinner.

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Rejoice the Lunar New Year with Stunning Dim Sum, Cocktails, and Gorgeous Scenery!

With Lunar New Year 2018 set upon us in approximately three weeks time, this is perhaps the time for many to decide upon that  ideal reunion setting. While traditional sets that include Yu Sheng and Pen Cai will be a highlight for many, some may opt for something a little lighter, delicate, and yet full of impressive qualities.

Step in Si Chuan Dou Hua’s Tian Fu Tea Room’s Reunion Imperial High Tea where guests, for $38++, get to indulge in a simple, yet lavish assortment of bite-sized savoury and sweet dim sum delights, complete with tea. Choose to dine at the UOB Plaza outlet on the 60th floor, and for an additional $10++, the oriental high tea comes complete with a specially crafted cocktail for the festive season! Available from 1 February to 4 March 2018, and with UOB Cardmembers enjoying one free diner with every three paying adults, this is one reunion event not to be missed!

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A Luxurious Afternoon Affair with The Westin Singapore’s Seafood & Champagne Tea!

When your heart desires for a short mid-day getaway, or a weekend afternoon spent simply chilling in the luxurious comforts of a five-star hotel lobby bar, The Westin Singapore’s Seafood and Afternoon Champagne Tea at the Lobby Lounge is one escapade to go for.

Priced at an attractive $85++ for two (and an additional 10% off for the month of October), guests can tuck in to a three-course Afternoon Tea set which includes a whole Lobster Thermidor to share over a glass of champagne. Seafood features strongly on the menu with highlights including the Lobster and Mushroom Torchoon, Trio of Sashimi, Crab Salad sandwiches, and the fiery and peppery Black pepper and Sesame Crust Tuna.

Without a doubt, the Lobster Thermidor was the highlight on the menu. Nothing but short gasps ensued around our table. Elegantly plated, the lobster and the gorgeous topping of melted torched cheese was simply a visual spectacle. In addition to the Lobster, each diner will enjoy (unfortunately) 1 oyster each served with a choice of three sauces – champagne dressing, lychee bourbon, and lime and shallot vinaigrette. With three dressings, you would have expected three oysters per person. Wouldn’t want to let that beautiful sauces go to waste, would you?

To wrap up the afternoon of decadent delights, indulge in an assortment of sweet treats. I was particularly struck by the Truffle Cupcakes. Aromatic and with truffle bits scattered throughout, this would have been a delight if the cupcake didn’t stick so much to the wrapping. I thoroughly enjoyed the other options of Pistachio Cherry Cheesecake, Tiramisu Shooters, Baked Chocolate and Walnut Brownie and the Duo of Chocolate Dipped Strawberries. Needless to say, the Blueberry Lime-Scented Mango Tart was a particular favourite for tart-loving me.

My guest and I enjoyed the Seafood and Champagne Afternoon Tea. It was a decadent afternoon, and the very comfortable ambience was perfect to catch up with old friends. $85++ for two is a worthy amount to pay considering that one would get quite a lavish spread. That said, the deal would probably be sweetened further if complimentary tea/coffee was also part of the afternoon tea set. Guests do have the option, however, of swapping out their choice of champagne for tea or coffee. In all, a delightful afternoon, with delicious tidbits to heartily keep one satiated along the way.

Thank you The Westin Singapore for the invitation.

The Westin Singapore
Level 32

12 Marina View, Asia Square Tower 2
Singapore 018961

Reservations: 6922 6988

Seafood Afternoon Champagne Tea
$85++ for two persons, inclusive of a glass of champagne each

$130++ for two persons, inclusive of a bottle of champagne

Available Mon to Fri 2.30pm to 5pm
Weekends 2pm to 4pm; 4.30pm to 6.30pm

Reservations required

10% off on weekdays till 31st October 2017

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