Sauce, Esplanade Mall

Sauce is The Butter Factory's newest baby and first solo foray into the fickle F&B world (it previously collaborated with the Lo & Behold group to set up Overeasy at One Fullerton). It's a fun, light-hearted take on the American backyard BBQ party, which probably explains the astro-turf, white-washed patio furniture at the alfresco area and general breezy, casual vibe. It's primarily a drinking hole, and second, a food venue. Now, you may wonder why it's named "Sauce", and it's really because you get at least 3 sauces paired with every ala carte dish. All proprietory blends and specifically tailored to that dish itself.

Please bear in mind that it's just been soft-launched, so there are a number of kinks in service, food and consistency that are still being worked out by the management. I generally don't like to review an establishment that's just been opened due to the aforementioned reason, but we recently had our L.A. Drinks there so I figured the management could benefit from our critic.

Service-wise, the attitude of the staff was commendable, helpful and cheery, but efficiency level left much to be desired. The wait staff were generally a bumbling, fumbling lot, a bit "blur" and not familiar with the food or drinks. I assume this will be sorted out over time and with training.

The food, on the other hand, was generally a hit-and-miss affair. I'll deal with the nibbles menu (available till closing time) first, then the dishes from the ala carte menu (available from 5pm to 9.30pm).
The Garlic Mushrooms ($9) were a hit, mushrooms were juicy, sauteed in fragrant garlic and fresh English parsley with just the right amount of salt to be flavoursome without being overtly salty.

The Lunch Meat Chips ($8) of thinly sliced luncheon meat fried till crisp, and served alongside an orange-accented chilli made from orange zest, coriander and Thai chilli was a novelty hit and brought back memories of a simpler childhood.

We would have liked some melted cheese to go with the Nachos ($8), which was served with mango mustard, a blend of mango puree, mayonnaise and whole grain mustard. A bit pricey, seeing as this was something that one can easily whip up at home. Still, this was nice.

We all liked the Crispy Mid Wings ($10) sliced at mid section, with a distinctively Oriental influence. The sauce blend of garlic, ginger, jalepeno, cilantro, lime juice and chilli padi, with its Asian overtones, complemented the chicken wings. Please note that each wing, because it was cut into 2, may seem a little small to some.

The Waffle Fries ($11) were sinfully yummy, served with curry mayo, a blend of coriander, green curry paste & palm sugar.

The Chicken Quesadillas ($14) may not look particularly appetizing compared to the rest of the nibbles, but it was good. Chicken breast strips, diced jalapeno & shredded mozzarella cheese were wrapped in tortilla and served with a blend of maple syrup, garlic mayo and black sesame seeds.

I would have preferred the Smoked Sausage ($14) grilled as opposed to being smoked, as grilling makes the pork sausages more juicy, but it was flavoursome enough. It was served with homemade BBQ sauce made from Dijon mustard, chilli powder and pineapple juice.

The Poutine ($15), a quintessentially English snack of chunky french fries drenched in gravy and cheese sounded promising, but was seriously lacking in a lot more gravy and a lot more cheese. It's supposed to be "drenched", as stated on the menu, not just "drizzled".

Onto the ala carte dinner menu, the Rib Eye ($30) was nice enough, full bodied and meaty, with a pretty criss-crossed grill pattern. A trio of pickle & herb, mushroom orzo and rosemary roast sauce went well with the steak. The funny thing about all of the mains was the extraordinarily large plates on which the mains were plated. The too-large plate just made the 200g of grass-fed, Angus rib-eye steak look puny in comparison, but in actual fact, the portion of the steak was just right. All mains are served with a choice of potatoes or veggies.

The 'Shroom Burger ($24), with an all-veggie patty  of juicy portobello, zucchini, tomatoes and crisp lettuce between toasted burger buns, accompanied by chilli cheese, cinnamon apple and jalapeno tartar sauces, was a vegetarian dream. 

The Pork Rack ($26) of a US-flown pork rack on the bone was infused with lemon-thyme, grilled and served with cinnamon apple, coffee bourbon and apricots & almonds sauces. The pork was tender enough, but needed more flavour.

The Twin Prawns ($32) was overpriced and under-portioned. Also, this could have benefitted from a shorter time on the grill, it was a little dried out.  A set of ginger & lime, BBQ and mango saffron sauces accompanied this dish.

The Lamb Rack ($30), rubbed with garlic and rosemary, was aromatic, but needed more marination time to let all the herbs seep into the meat. This was served alongside red wine & mint, mushroom orzo and balsamic beans sauce.

The Cornish Game Hen ($24) was too dry and tasteless. Even a copious helping of the BBQ, pickle & herb and balsamic beans sauces couldn't save this.

The Salmon ($27), flavoured in Cajun spice mix of cayenne, paprika, garlic, thyme, oregano, and cumin, and accompanied by jalapeno tartar, port reduction and ginger & lime sauces, was well done. Fish was crisp on the outside but moist on the inside.

There aren't many desserts to choose from, apart from this Chocolate Vanilla Cup ($8) and 2 flavours of ice-cream. We liked this, chocolate was rich and satisfying without being saccharine, while vanilla was creamy and comforting.

8 Raffles Ave
#01-01/12 Esplanade Mall
Tel: 6837 2959
Open Sundays to Thursdays from 5pm to 1am;
Fridays and Saturdays from 5pm to 2am

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The poutine is a French Canadian invention.

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