Sunday, April 19, 2009

Spruce

Had been itching to try out this new cafe - Spruce, after seeing quite a few reviews of it online as well as in various publications. Apparently their chef was from Wine Garage, which made really good burgers. Reservations were a pain though as the place was almost always full, till I got lucky one evening and managed to squeeze in a reservation for an outdoor table.




Al Fresco Seating & Interior

Outdoor seating probably isn't the best idea especially when Spruce is located just up a tiny hill next to lush greenery along Tanglin Road. But hey, if bugs are your best pals, then by means go ahead. Read. The bugs are suicidal. They do kamikaze stunts like crashing into your drinks, table and food. After a couple of minutes, we surrendered and requested for a seat indoors, which was promptly given to us (Whatever happened to the reservations?).



Roasted Mycofarm Mushrooms with Herbs

We initially wondered if mycofarm was some special type of mushrooms but after googling, it turned out to be the name of a farm in Singapore. On hindsight we probably shouldn't have ordered this side dish. The mushrooms tasted very normal but were literally drenched in oil. And it was definitely not olive oil.



Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

Now this side dish fared much better. Simple comfort food for the masses. Small macaroni shells evenly coated with a nice smooth creamy and cheesey layer. Not too overwhelming. The bits of burnt mozzarella cheese on top provided a nice crisp texture.



Seared Tuna with Steamed Bok Choy, Carrot and Ginger Broth

Make no mistake. This was a main. 5 slices of tuna tataki with a clump of bok choy going for $22. The tuna was disappointing to the say the least. Not pan seared till lightly charred on the outside while uncomfortably limp on the inside. Being less then generous on the salt didn't exactly help matters as well.



The Spruce Burger with Hand Cut Chips

The burger was good though a tad small. The beef patty crumbled with ease when I poked my fork into it, leading to us coin it "burger crumble". Corny I know. The patty was probably one of the best I've had in a long while. A little moist without the beefy taste overwhelming. Simple and unadulterated. I thought the buns could do with a little more toasting though. There is an option of topping up $2 for a slice of bacon to go along with the patty.



Cranberry, Blueberry and Coconut Tart Ala Mode

I thought this tart sounded really interesting and healthy with all the berries so I had a go at it. Well I wouldn't say it was fantastic but at least it was decent. I could make out the taste of blueberries and cranberries and strands of coconut in between. Lightly sweet. Unfortunately, the accompanying scoop of ice cream melted really fast and was your run off the mill vanilla ice cream.



Yogurt and Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Seasonal Fruit

This dessert was actually more yogurt then panna cotta, smooth and semi liquid. The layer of blueberry was sweet and complemented the yogurt quite well. It was topped with this brownish looking muesli bars that stuck to my teeth when I chewed on it. Nice but majorly irritating.



Bill

Generally speaking, prices aren't really over the top but food quality could be improved quite a bit in general. Service in general was good but there was this young waiter that stood out with his earnest attitude and attentiveness. Pity I didn't catch his name. Spruce is worth a try, just for the burger, but probably not worth a return. By the way, parking is free.



Final Verdict:
Ambience:7/10 (I would have given 7.5 if not for the bugs)
Service:7/10
Food:6.5/10 (7.5/10 for the burger)
Value for money:6.5/10
Overall:6.75/10

Address: 320 Tanglin Road, Phoenix Park.

Contact: 6836 5528

Opening Hours:

Weekdays: 10.30am - 10.30pm

Weekends: 8.30am - 10.30pm

7 comments:

Newbie Foodie said...

Seems like it wasn't much of a good visit after all. $91 bucks. Ouch

fatpig said...

Yea ouch. The burger was good though.

ice said...

$19/$91, with bugs thrown in literally. What a pity for middling food.

fatpig said...

Its a buggy affair. HA HA.

yixiaooo said...

my experience was less than spectacular too. can't imagine how they got their rave reviews on newspapers?

fatpig said...

I wonder too.. My trust for media reviews has just dropped a couple of notches.

Anonymous said...

I have had a bad bad experience. I was very disappointed.
I have heard it from friends about the ambience and settings. I finally got there yesterday. Without disappointing me, the way in was impressive enough. It was so colonial in feel. The staff who greeted me was polite. However, afterwhich, it was all uh-ohs all the way till I left.
Head-shaking moments:
1. They missed out my friend's reservation. Nowhere to be found in their reservation book. My friend called to reserve...
2. We were given a table for 6 with the promise that we would have the table till 9 p.m. Halfway through our dinner, around 8 p.m., one of the staff approached us and said that they wanted a table out of the 3 we had and asked the 6 of us to share the 2 remaining tables. It was such a rude gesture. Will anyone who treasure customers do that? It was not even 9 p.m. In the first place, we reserved a place, but they left out the reservation. Note: Walk-in customers = second class citizens.
3. At 9 p.m., we were asked to leave. Being very unhappy, my friend said to one of the staff, "I am truly disappointed." The reply from a totally immature staff in a reprimanding tone, "At least, I got you guys a table, right?" Hence, my friend said, "We will leave." This staff didn't get the bill, obviously oblivious to the meaning of that.
4. We finally asked for the bill because the staff didn't understand what we wanted was the bill. I couldn't take it, spoke to the manager. Given response was nonchalant.
Well, well, what can I say? I was waiting for my friends to arrive at around 6 plus. Overheard, they were fully booked till next weekend. I bet this won't last long because if every weekend they offend some customers, many more will be like me, point of no return.