Sunrise Bistro & Bar: Sous-vide for practicality
One of the first things Chef Vincent said to us was "Almost all our mains are sous vide." That got us really curious: isn't sous vide a technique more often employed in fine-dining (read: pretentious) establishments?
But no, not at Sunrise Bistro & Bar at least. Chef Vincent uses this French cooking technique for very practical purposes, like ensuring consistency in his dishes, maximising storage life and maintaining impeccable food hygiene. This method is not novel to Sunrise Bistro & Bar: in fact the same technique was employed in Skyve Wine Bistro that Chef Vincent co-owned.
After leaving Skyve, Chef Vincent had a short stay at Mei i Sushi of The Scarlet Hotel before leaving to start up Sunrise Bistro & Bar. This little eatery in the Big Splash at East Coast Park is thus the culmination of his experiences and expertise, bringing together refined restaurant techniques, flavours and inspirations from Chef Vincent's culinary career.
We began dinner with a round of drinks. Sunrise offers a handful of spirits, beers and ciders; but it's their extensive list of interesting cocktails that one would pay attention to. A higher mixer to alcohol ratio, Sunrise's cocktails are less tipsy than they are fun and palatable.
The Black Swan (S$20++), Sunrise's take on the Spanish Sangria, was fruitty and refreshing. The red wine is interestingly vacuum packed with the accompanying spices and sous vide for 10 minutes, allowing the flavours to infuse and meld together better. Other fruitty light drinks include the Lady in Pink (S$20++) made with rose syrup, prosecco, cranberry juice; and the Gentlemen's Club (S$18++), a citrusy Old Fashioned with salted caramel and torched spices. My favourite was the Nutty Colada (S$18++) that's essentiallly a pina colada with salted caramel and peanut butter. It tasted like a deliciously spiked peanut butter milkshake - perfect for adults.
Of the mocktails, we had the Peach Cottage (S$11++) made with peach syrup, orange juice, fresh cream, milk, and soda: a tad too fruitty for our preference.
Note that dishes pictured here are customized tasting portions and are not reflective of actual servings.
To start, Sunrise offers a variety of appetizers spanning the traditional salads and soups, to more novel fusion creations. The classic European Seared Foie Gras (S$19++) Sunrise does well, pairing the buttery goose liver with a berry compote, citrus jam, slice of mango, and a pan-fried brioche. What most impressed however was the Seafood Chowder Soup (S$12++) that boasts a delectable medley of fresh sweet seafoods. Unlike the usual white-based chowders, Sunrise's has some tomatoes to help introduce a little acidity, cutting through the creaminess and keeping the dish light and palatable. It's simple, yet undoubtedly delicious.
We also tried their highly recommended Luncheon Chips (S$9++). Essentially fried mandolined spam, the bar bite was served with an accompanying dill and paprika mayo dip. It was a pleasant and decent side dish; though I'd pick Curious Palette's spam fries over these any day.
As enticing as other fusion starters like the Chilled Japanese Noodle & Salmon Sashimi (S$14) may sound, it is Sunrise's mains that really showcase Chef Vincent's unique culinary style of combining European cooking techniques with Asian ingredients and flavours.
Where most restaurants feature only a handful of mains, Sunrise boasts an extensive selection of seafoods, poultry, and meats. Live Boston lobsters, spring chicken, hearty burgers, to beef tenderloin: there's definitely something to please even the pickiest of diners.
If you're a seafood fan, be sure to try the Cereal Crusted Cod Fish (S$28++). The delicate baked fish is coated with a delicious zi char style cereal topping, and served with some ginger shoyu broth. The clever melding of Asian flavours in a classic contemporary European dish was ingenius, resulting in a stellar dish that won the hearts of us all. The Sunrise "Fish & Chips" (S$26++) however less impressed. Paired with a mediocre mango salsa, the Thai influenced crispy fried red snapper was bland and a tad overcooked.
Carnivores would enjoy the variety of meats available. Of those we tried, my favourite was the Marmite Canadian Pork Shoulder (S$26++). The tricky cut was first sous vide to ensure the meat remained tender, then lightly roasted and torched to achieve a wonderful char and crisp on top. Mixed with honey and glucose, the marmite marinade was a pleasant mix of sweet and savoury that was shockingly addictive. Skip the Asian Five Spice Duck Leg Confit (S$28++) which, though decent, was average yet pricey. I'd head to The Betterfield for my duck confit fix instead. Also sous vide, the BBQ Beef Short Ribs (S$32++) retained a pink hue despite being well done. While that kept the pork shoulder tender, sous vide did not allow the fat in the ribs to be rendered off, resulting in unpleasant chewy bits of fat studding the otherwise decent meat.
Dinner ended with several promising desserts. Essentially a deconstructed tiramisu, the Tiramisu Semi Freddo (S$12++) saw semi frozen mascarpone cheese layered with coffee liqueur jelly sponge, then topped with milo crunch, rum-soaked raisins and a sugar tuile. Take a bit of everything and you'll get a delightful burst of flavours that, though bold, keep the dessert light and refreshing. I was most excited for the Salted Egg Yolk Custard Molten Chocolate Cake (S$14++) - so imagine my disappointment when it did not meet expectations. The individual components tasted amazing: the salted egg yolk custard was luscious and assertive, the chocolate cake was moist and intense, the ice cream was light and smooth. However eaten together, the strong flavours clashed instead of complementing one another, resulting in an oddly confused dessert. If I were to return, I'd probably try the Chendol Panna Cotta (S$10++) or the Chocolate Hazelnut Praline (S$12++).
With nearly as many hits as misses, Sunrise Bistro & Bar is far from the perfect dining spot. It is nonetheless worth a visit, considering the promising fusion dishes and unique innovative ideas behind them. The prices may be a little steep, but for fantastic East-meets-West dishes like their Cereal Cod I'd gladly fork out the premium.
Sunrise Bistro & Bar
902 East Coast Parkway
Big Splash, Block B #01-05