GastroSmiths Bistro & Bakery at Beach Road serves excellent food. However, despite its rather swanky sounding name, it will not be the place to bring a date you want to impress; unless your date is a real foodie who does not care a bit about aesthetics or ambience. Then again, if good food is all that matters, you get much better value at the food centres.
GastroSmiths is located in the Marrison Hotel at the corner of Beach Road and Tan Quee Lan Street. The new bistro, just opened in August 2014, is small. It probably can take about 25 pax plus maybe 15 along the corridor outside. Gaps between tables are narrow, such that you may be sitting closer to the stranger beside you than your own dining partner across the table. Except for the wall mural with its name, the interior decor of GastroSmiths is frugal and unremarkable. They have a rather unexceptional looking kiosk for take-away cakes, sandwiches and coffee.
Joint owner Chef Dillon Ng used to run The Humble Loaf, a tiny bakery and cafe in the basement of Katong Shopping Centre. Maybe the success of the cramped simply decorated Humble Loaf influenced the interior design of the GastroSmiths.
Globally-inspired comfort food is how they described what they have on their menu. Bruschettas, cod fish ee fu noodles, monkfish & rice, braised pork pasta and Hokkaido scallops porridge are among the interesting items on the dinner menu. For lunch, there are a variety of enticing sandwiches, pastas, Basque seafood medley and beef bourguignon. Eggs, fries, nachos, soup, salads as well as desserts are available all day.
I ordered the Beef Short Rib Bourguignon ($19.50). The dish came beautifully presented. Bite size chunks of beef simmered in red wine sauce were served with herbal steamed potatoes, boiled carrots and lightly sauteed long beans. The dish was excellent. The beef was done perfectly, juicy and very very tender. Every bite was enjoyable. Alas, there were not many bites before I finished the dish.
I was still feeling hungry, or greedy, and asked for a recommendation for something light. Their signature dish from the Humble Loaf days was recommended – The “Not-So-Humble Eggs v2.0” at the not-so-humble price of $9.50. It was an interesting dish. It was basically 2 runny soft cooked eggs – the type you would get at the traditional coffee shop. With dry-cured Spanish ham, pickled onion, onion puree and bits of allium added, the humble eggs were transformed into a delicious dish with complex flavours and intriguing mix of textures. It was served with a slice of toasted house-baked bread, which tasted great on its own or dipped into the egg concoction.
The operations and service at this new restaurant were efficient. A glass of water was on the table within seconds of a patron being shown to the table. The staff was knowledgeable, helpful and friendly. Value is, of course, subjective but having to pay $29++ for, in effect, a 2-course lunch made me wonder if I would get better value somewhere else. There are quite a few white tablecloth restaurants offering good quality set lunch at that price range.
The food at GastroSmiths is very good and the service is excellent but if you really want to impress your date, you may have to book the whole restaurant. Otherwise, when the small place fills up, it will be impossible to carry on a private conversation, let alone whisper sweet nothings.
Food : 4
Service : 4
Value : 2
Overall Rating: 3 TOPs
Average price per person for lunch : $34
Tue : Sat 1130AM – 930PM
Sundays : 11AM – 3PM
GastroSmiths Bistro & Bakery
103 Beach Road
Tel: +65 6336 3680
Nearby Stations: Bugis
#Street fact – Beach Road, originally known as Beach Street, ran parallel to the beach until land was reclaimed in the mid-1800s. Old Chinese names for it included sio po hai ki meaning “small town’s seaside”.
The Ordinary Patrons
Singapore Food Blog by Ordinary People looking for Places to Eat