16 November, 2009

Spruce @ Phoenix Park, Tanglin Road

Spruce is about simplicity and quality of raw products – or at least that’s what it strives to achieve from their food offerings.

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Helmed by owner Chef Travis Masiero, who is an American, his cuisine is said to pay homage to his humble American roots, influenced by the smell of Mediterranean, North Africa and continental Europe.

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Stepped past the entrance and one would be greeted by the casual yet sophisticated ambience in the heart of Orchard Road (Tanglin Road, Phoenix Park to be exact).

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While Spruce is opened 7 days a week from morning till night, HFB was there for dinner. We were ushered to the private dining area which sits approximately 10 to 12 pax – nicely suited for business lunches or dinner.

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While waiting for the others, we ordered the Hand Cut Chips with Sage ($5.00) to fill our growling tummies.

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Thick and crisply fried, it was straightforward comfort food. Simply addictive! We also had another side of Creamy Macaroni and Cheese ($7.00), which HFB thought while aesthetically boring, it was decent enough.

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Interestingly enough, their menu had a section titled “To share or not” – which offered simple solid dishes to go around. Order was made for 3 of them including – Three Dips with Assorted Toast and Crisp ($16.00), Warm Spruce Olives with Fennel, Thyme and Orange Rind ($12.00) along with Ahi Tuna Tartar with Toasted Ciabatta and Avocado ($21.00).

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HFB is not a fan of olive, thus wasn’t able to comment on it, but the dips and the tuna tartar is a must order if one has a table big enough to share! The dips were packed with awesome flavours and went really well with the toast. The tuna tartar was really good – very fresh and goes well on its own or with the bread, but best when one tried it with the avocado. HFB did and it was divine!

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For the main, HFB opted for the Prawn Pasta with Zucchini and Parmigiano Cheese ($22.00), and all excitement looking forward to sample the dish was gone the moment it was served up. It was probably his fault that he didn’t enquire beforehand, but he certainly wasn’t expecting a bowl of Orecchetti Pasta served up in a bowl looking like a serving of breakfast cereal with a table spoon. Secondly, he was half anticipating a couple of huge-ass king prawns looking all juicy and ready to be chomped, but alas it wasn’t meant to be – the prawns although plentiful, were halved and thus lacked bite. Gone in a flash (how long does one need to down a bowl of cereal seriously?) – HFB wasn’t feeling quite satisfied with his main to be honest (he prefers to “interact” with his food more) and ended up waiting for the rest to finish their mains before we moved on to dessert. What a pity!

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Warm Ginger Date Pudding with Chocolate Toffee Sauce ($12.00) was the dessert for the night. With a tint of ginger that doesn’t put many off, the combination with the ice cream was good. And by right coupled it with the sauce should send it up higher by a few notches, but regrettably the toffee sauce was too sweet for consumption.

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The sweetness simply overwhelmed the whole dish, and when feedback, Chef Travis mentioned that desserts are meant to be sweet and that’s how they eat it America – anybody care to shed some light into this?

Food: 3.5/5 (Simple Fare, Tuna Tartare was excellent)
Service: 4/5 (Service staff was attentive and helpful)
Ambience: 4/5 (Casual, Cosy & quiet)
Price: 3.5/5 (Affordable for the ambience and food)
Total: 15/20
320 Tanglin Road (Phoenix Park)
Singapore 247980

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jules said...

a spruce brunch with a glass of champagne on a sunday morning... i cld use that right now.

His Food Blog said...

AHhh... the way you describe it..I bet half the people reading this could use it too!! Heh


adel said...

Mac & Cheese is simple stuff, the browned cheese layer looked so inviting to comfort.
However, it's strange to see this place using Chinese bowls and plate for the dips and bread, plain weird.

Miss Tam Chiak said...

i love their tuna tartar!!! yummy!!

His Food Blog said...

adel: yep, the mac and cheese was comfort food definitely! And yes, I their plating pretty strange too, esp for their pasta

JLN: yes, their tuna tartar was probably the best dish that evening.

Alicia said...

I would go back to Spruce just for tuna ahi starter. The focaccia was warm and when eaten with the avocado, the tuna was absolutely scrumptious.

My companion had a shock when he saw his prawn pasta as well. He looked longingly at my whole snapper so I offered some fish. We finished off with the ginger date pudding. It was decent and more moist than Chalk's or Marmalade's version.

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