"Why is it called Sideways?" L asked.
"Well, cause that's how you're gonna be growing after all the food we'll have."
I meant that as a joke; but after my first visit I've deduced that it's not an entirely impossible outcome, considering how crazy delicious their food is.
Of course, that wasn't what they were going for. As explained on their website, "Sideways" represents their way of doing things — a little different, that is. That's not surprising really, if you consider their first food venture in Singapore, The Hangar, that is among the pioneers to the third-wave coffee revolution here, as well as to the whole vegetarian, health-food scene, offering dishes like a cauliflower burger and halloumi salads.
With Sideways, owners Pav and Giulia go Mediterranean with a focus on wood-fired meats — which they make in-house. In fact besides their meats, they bake their own breads and have a coffee roastery for their beans as well. Everything is made fresh as well (ie prepped to order), which means they can pretty much adapt to your dietary restrictions.
I've heard of them awhile back, but never made the trip down till I heard they were gonna start lunch service. The menu's rather succinct, featuring some of their signature starters, a couple of sandwiches and grain bowls. Sounds rather plain jane, till you notice the immaculate attention paid to every element.
The grain bowls alone are offered with 4 different bases: cauliflower rice, cous cous and mixed peppers, sesame brown rice, and mixed greens. You've got 4 options of breads for their sandwiches as well, and for every dish you'll notice they've included a freshly made dip or two, as well as a myriad of grilled greens.
Sicilian Crostini (S$15+) — Sourdough, nduja, burrata
We started with their Sicilian Crostini, which has been a crowd-favourite since they opened their doors — and for very good reason. You've got a thick slice of their fabulous house-baked sourdough, nutty and chewy, lightly buttered and toasted, then topped with an extremely generous layer of nduja and some creamy burrata. The whole shebang's then finished off with some crunchy pistachios and a glug of fruity olive oil.
For the unfamiliar, nduja is a sort of spicy, spreadable sausage, with a flavour profile very similar to salami. I first had it at &Sons in a pasta, and fell head over heels in love with its punchy flavours and discernible heat. In this dish, it brought about a complex savouriness with just a touch of acidity, which went really well with the cool burrata and bread. I did however miss the characteristic spiciness nduja often has though, which would've really pushed this to the next level.
Ribeye Bowl (S$20+) with Cauliflower rice (+S$2) — Mixed grilled veggies, avo dip, padron peppers, poached egg
L doesn't take seafood, so as much as we wanted to give the Baramundi Poke a go, we ended up with the Ribeye Bowl. Not a loss, in any case, because this was downright delicious. The Australian ribeye was grilled to a perfect medium-rare, super juicy and succulent, and boasted those crisp, charred edges we (at least I) all love. The seasoning's spot on as well, and the portion was surprisingly generous.
That's not even considering the other components. The avo dip (very much like a pureed guacamole) was creamy and fresh, poached eggs had the gorgeous runny yolk, and man were those grilled aubergines tasty. Mix it all up before taking a big bite, and I promise you'll practically fall into nirvana. If anything, their cauliflower rice could do with some improvement. It was way too soft which, when just sitting in all the steam and juices, made it all the more mushy.
All that yumminess aside, I have to say I was rather confused with the actual vs menu-listed components. We definitely didn't see any padron peppers, and instead of mixed grilled veggies we got aubergine instead. Nothing wrong with that — the food was still an absolute delight — but I would've liked to taste the dish as it was described. I'm guessing the padron peppers would've been amazing.
The Big Souvlaki (S$18+) — Pulled lamb ribs, mixed salad, cucumbers, jalapeño hummus
Oddly we both found this souvlaki the weakest of everything we had. Aside from how that definitely looks like steak and not pulled lamb, as well as how we practically couldn't taste the jalapeño hummus, everything else was rather mediocre. I'm a big fan of souvlakis, having had them so often in Melbourne, so I was really looking forward to tasty-as-hell grilled meats, some fantastic, refreshing tzatziki, and really good pita. Unfortunately the meat was rather under-seasoned (we even got bits of cartilage in there), and the dollop of plain yogurt on top failed to lift it up. The un-sliced surface of the pita bread was also very floury, in a raw dusted-with-flour kinda way, which was rather unpleasant to eat.
As much as we've had 1 miss in our first experience, the 2 mega hits made our meal so memorable I'd easily brush that off — in fact I'm already making plans to return (tomorrow maybe?). With how we visited on the second day of their lunch service, there could still be teething issues here and there that I'm very much more forgiving towards. Fingers crossed they work out any issues and inconsistencies soon; I see this falling into my list of favourite lunch spots.
109 Rowell Road
Tuesday to Friday: 11.30AM-3PM, 5PM-11PM
Closed on Mondays
(Last order's 1h before closing)