Many Singapore food folks in the know were already aware of chef Travis from his days at Wine Garage. The burger he served up at that trendy Clark Quay location was many people’s favorite in Singapore. Unfortunately we moved to Singapore after that time. So we only know Chef / Owener Travis’ food from Spruce. All I can say is that I’m only sorry it took me so long to make it over there.
The food at Spruce is unpretentious and devoid of unnecessary culinary flash. The menu is almost daringly simple, with as few as 6 main courses listed for dinner. The items on the menu are all familiar in name, but the tastes are just a step beyond what you would normally associate with that particular dish.
The restaurant itself is a lovely space. It’s very similar in feel to many of the hip, trendy new places littered throughout Singapore… but manages somehow to have more soul. It’s hard to articulate, but everything just seems more thoughtful of the environment and space. There are spots outdoors next to lush foliage and inside for those wanting air-con and a cute bistro feel… or for those wanting to be as close as possible to the cheese room!
Starting out our meal for four at Spruce was an abundant Antipasto Platter (17 SGD). There was lovely salami featured here that’s worth the whole dish alone.
We also ordered the Three Dips with Assorted Toast and Crisps (17 SGD). The dips were hummus, tuna conserva, and tzatziki (which I couldn’t get enough of).
Joanna went with the Roasted Kurobuta Pork Chop. She ordered this almost entirely for the Japanese corn that the pork would arrive atop. We’ve had great meals in Singapore whenever Japanese ingredients are served (Singapore is too small a country to grow everything on it’s own, so as much as we’d love to eat more locally, it makes sense to import sometimes here). It didn’t disappoint – the sweet corn blended with the buttery potato puree for a decidedly rich, yet not heavy, rendition of comfort food.
I had come for the burger, but was lured away by the Signature Beef Short Ribs. Mostly because it was listed as served with fried egg and lately all my favorite dishes have featured eggs in some way or another. This did not disappoint. It was warm out and on paper this sounded like maybe too hearty a dish, but somehow it really worked for the season.
One of our guests for the evening took my place and ordered the Spruce Burger with Havarti Cheese (17 SGD/19 with bacon). A great value burger coming in a good 10 SGD less than the other mushy wagyu burgers being served around town currently. Definitely one to try when sampling the best burgers in town.
Lastly was the Steak Frites with Bearnaise and Herbed Chips (29 SGD). A perfectly cooked steak with a taste far beyond the dollar amount. I’ve had some 25 dollar steaks in Singapore that were like eating a shoe, this one was tender, juicy, and well seasoned. The bearnaise was light and the chips were fully of the crispy goodness that perfect chips should have.
That night we skipped desserts as they were offering a free cheese plate when ordering a bottle of wine. The servers were nice enough to provide us with two plates since we managed to tackle two bottles of wine. The cheeses were fresh and flavorful. I can definitely see going back and just enjoying a casual night with friends… a bottle of wine, some cheese, some shared starters, and some freshly baked desserts from their intimate bakery.
That’s the brilliance of Spruce. It works on so many different levels. From a casual, regular night out to a fancier, full-on meal. I’m glad someone in Singapore is not trying to be overly fussy or showy. Chef-owner Travis knew his strengths and has accomplished a lot with this seemingly straightforward, yet highly polished, restaurant.
320 Tanglin Road
Telephone: +65 6836 5528