Before there was Park Bench Deli, I doggy-bagged sandwiches from Sarnies for lunch. They made one of the best sandwiches around. And when they spread out into a dinner service, I made a mental note to see their dinner offerings. That note got lost in the fray of new restaurant launches in the Telok Ayer conservation area, and I never got around to having dinner at Sarnies. Until recently when a girlfriend suggested it when we met up for a late post-work dinner.

While Sarnies does fantastic sandwiches, their dinner options were terribly mediocre. The concept was great, and the menu sounded real tempting, but the execution was found wanting.

The Bacon Bomb ($13) stuffed with truffle mash and oozing with melty mozzarella, was delicious. For the first ball. After which got cloying fast. This needed a bit of a spicy heat to lift things up.

The Pulled Pork Taco ($8) with red cabbage, chili and lime, was half-and-half. Flavours were punchy and bold, but the pork was stringy and dry. 

The Cajun Prawns Taco ($8) with mango salsa and homemade coleslaw was overwhelmingly creamy, which detracted from the delicate sweetness of the prawns.

The Skirt Steak Taco ($8) with guacamole, chimichuri and lime was a dud. The beef was gamey and overdone to a too-chewy consistency.

The Vegan Zoodle Pad Thai ($15) of spiralized zucchini and carrot noodles, chopped red cabbage, bean sprouts, julienned red bell peppers, edamame, sesame seeds, and cashews, was topped in a nutty, mildly creamy sesame dressing. I liked this, mostly because of the awesome dressing, but it needed waaaay more dressing and loads more Thai basil for kick.

The Roast Chicken Salad ($15.50) with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, red radish, black olives, and pine nuts tossed in a pesto dressing was let down by the dried out tough chicken. The pesto was superb though.

The Truffle Porcini Mushroom Risotto ($23) with grana padano, crispy mushrooms and dill was generous with the mushrooms but thrown off by the addition of dill.

The Salted Egg Tagliatelle ($20.50) with crab meat and crispy curry leaves tasted as heavy as it was cholesterol-laden. I struggled to finish it as it got cloying halfway through.

The Coffee Kahlua Barbecue Pork Ribs ($28) was served with truffle mash and coleslaw. The sous vide method had ensured a fall-off-the-bone lusciousness, but the marinade was unbalanced; there was some kind of Chinese spice blended in there with the coffee and kahlua that was uneven.

136 Telok Ayer St
Tel: 6224 6091
Open Mondays & Tuesdays from 7.30am to 10.30pm;
Wednesdays to Fridays from 7.30am to 12midnight;
Saturdays & Sundays from 8.30am to 4pm
Website: sarniescafe.com

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