Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Review: GAEST Sandwich Shop


I always laugh a little inside, when people say, "you haven't been updating your blog these days, you haven't been eating out izzzit". Oh, if only that were true, I would have to resort to many days of salads to try to keep the bulge down (this is my second day of pure salads, so excuse me if the post is a little grouchy, I get really grumpy and start craving tiramisu and pizza by about Day 2).

Actually, we have been eating, making our way through the names slowly but surely. It's just that I've been trying to find inspiration to write about what we've been eating and many times I am just not that inspired, because the place isn't that differentiated. Also, I find that with the new trend of hip, casual places, the menus have become a bit more, dare I say, disjunct and sparse, such that it seems disingenously less than a full review to write that I found this place, that only serves, 7 kinds of burritos and 4 flavours of San Pelligrino sodas.

I could tell you about Assembly's great coffee and their 7 brunch items, but 4 of those were scrambled eggs done different ways. It would be the stuff of a Facebook post, but not necessarily a review.

GAEST or 'guest' in English, is a place that has opened in the Tanjong Pagar district, in the buzzing district of Mc Callum Street, just a couple of spots away from the lovely SPR MKT. This place is tiny, so a strike against it for me is the kitchen or sandwich preparation area, which is merely a bar extension of their coffee counter. They are a brand new clean-cut Scandinavian place, although personally, I didn't really see anything particularly Scandinavian except that the sandwich features potato and the decor is light wood and IKEA-rised lights (but isn't everything in Singapore these days?).

This unit was last a coffee shop and sits at the foot of the boutique apartment block, the Clift. There are only three tables indoor where the door is left open and the rest of the seats are outdoor or for takeaway. As I mentioned, the day I was there, the staff were busy and noisily chopping the roast pork and bread on the tiny counter, so I was a little underwhelmed. I was told that they make their bread daily and their roast pork, at their homes, which is real committment.

What I liked about it were the friendly owners and the bread- the sourdough bread had a proper sour kick to it and I couldn't stop eating the crust, it was so sharply delicious. That being said, the sandwiches, while more bespoke, are pretty small, a little dry and at $15, not terribly good value, as they are much smaller than those at Nassim Hill Bistro or just around the corner at Cedele or the Sandwich Shop.

We tried the potato sandwich, the roast pork sandwich and the chicken sandwich. I make roast pork crackling and smoked pulled pork at home, so I was not taken with what it was, but I liked the use of more varied ingredients, like pea tendrils, hazelnuts, sliced apples and rye crunch in the sandwiches. I could not taste the cranberries that were meant to come in the pork sandwich, but it was indeed the best of the three, with the chicken being the plainest. The salad, which was a heaping of mixed vegetables and citrus fruit seemed a much better deal, so I will try that next if we return. We were the only Asian table there, I guess not many consider a sandwich and coffee for below $20 a good deal- but the place looks like they are doing good business nonetheless!

21 Mc Callum Street #01-01
The Clift, Singapore 069047
Singapore 66340922

Photos from GAEST's Facebook page

No comments: