At the corner of Beach Road and Tan Quee Lan St, on the ground floor of the Marrison Hotel, sits the small and cozy fusion establishment Gastrosmiths. It's not easily spotted if one's not looking out for it; but that's no problem for the peeps at Gastrosmiths.
I remember Gastrosmiths back when they were still The Humble Loaf at the basement of old and dilapidated Katong Shopping Centre. Then, the young café was already commanding crowds over simple yet delicious sandwiches, cakes and coffee. The previous space later proved too small to accomodate their rising popularity; thus the expansion to Gastrosmiths.
This larger outfit is a collaboration between Chef Dillon Ng and an unlikely loyal-customer-turned-business partner Heng Tong Jin. It is built on the same food philosophy as its predecessor, promising fresh ingredients, innovative dishes, and quality produce. The food is heavily influenced by the chef's gastronomic experiences across the globe, so expect an eclectic mix of European and Asian concoctions.
Long Black (S$3.50++)
Joes at Gastrosmiths are brewed using blends from Highlander Coffee. I enjoyed my long black, which was bold and nutty, yet still light and very palatable. For the adventurous, the Shoyu Caramel Latte (S$5++) may prove an interesting choice.
Truffled Chopped Eggs Bruschetta (S$12++) - Truffled eggs, scallions, smoked caviar
We started our meal with the highly-recommended truffled eggs bruschetta. Featuring their signature house-made bread, this heavily-scented appetizer would please truffle fans. 12 bucks for a fancy egg mayo sounds a tad too steep however; I would much rather try the other toppings like the Caramelized French Brie (S$11++).
Foie Gras Ngoh Hiong (S$16++) - Foie gras, pork, beancurd skin, sherry plum reduction
An interesting preparation for foie gras, the minced meat and beancurd skin - though delicious - overpowered the star of the dish, reducing it to a mere lingering aftertaste. Eaten with the tangy and delightful sherry plum reduction, this makes for a delicious local bite - just not a great foie gras dish.
Roasted Mushroom Soup (S$7++) - Grilled toast, extra virgin olive oil
Piping hot, rich, and packed with puréed shrooms, this earthy soup was a pleasant surprise. I loved how there wasn't too much cream, allowing the fragrant roasted mushrooms to shine. It was simple and delicious.
Not-so-humble Eggs (S$8.50++) - Jamon serrano, pickled onion, onion soubise
Possibly the dish that catapulted The Humble Loaf to fame, Gastrosmiths continue to offer their much-raved about 63° eggs, expanding to include two new flavour combinations. The classic Not-so-humble eggs was a stunning medley of flavours. Creamy yolks, salty cured ham, crunchy pickled onions - every component worked together perfectly.
Sea-ly Eggs (S$9.50++) - Scottish smoked salmon, marinated nori, chilli oil
We also tried one of the newer creations. A refreshing take on the usual eggs royale, the addition of marinated nori gave it a Japanese spin and brought this dish to a whole new level. Kick the spice up a notch and it'd be perfect.
Halibut Confit (S$25++) - Dashi-braised mushrooms, leeks, daikon
Flavourful mushrooms; sweet Japanese daikon radish; an umami broth; and a stunning smooth, buttery halibut. This was the most spectacular dish of the meal. The fish was amazing, the broth delicious, there's nothing remotely worth criticising. I'm running out of adequate adjectives for this - it's that good.
Pork Collar Ragu (S$21.50++) - Red wine tomato cream, braised pork collar
Gastrosmiths is probably the only restaurant that'll serve more meat than pasta. Together with the al dente linguine and touch of shredded parmesan, each juicy bite was packed full with succulent braised pork, resulting in a wonderful burst of flavours. Absolutely delightful.
A huge skeptic to the concept of affordable fine dining, I never expected much of Gastrosmiths what with their fancy 63° eggs and all. This first visit proved the opposite: that the food's stellar, Gastrosmiths can deliver the quality promised, and the people behind Gastrosmiths are nothing short of culinary geniuses. Gastrosmiths has made a fan of me, and I can't wait return for more!
103 Beach Road #01-02/03