Monday, April 27, 2009

Spruce, a cosy hideout

You know how it is sometimes, when you read a good review about a restaurant, only to find that your actual experience falls short of the earlier praise? Well I was afraid of that happening with Spruce, given all the glowing writeups about the place by Wong Ah Yoke of the Straits Times, Chubby Hubby, and Jeanette Wang. In fact, I was put off going there after not one, not two, but three mentions of Spruce showed up in the Sunday Times and 8 Days within two short weeks, and decided in a fit of pique that I could very well do without it (not without some regret though).
However E had other ideas and swung the car off to Phoenix Park on a weekday night after picking me up from work - yet another proof that the long-suffering hubby does listen to my constant stream of oft-meaningless babble . Tucked away in the former quarters of the Ministry of Home Affairs along Tanglin Road, Spruce is at once accessible, and yet still seductively secluded among the trees / growth. A charming little hideout, it is one of those places where you feel like you could sit the whole day, nursing coffee and nibbling on bread and cakes with your best friends, on a lazy afternoon where the whole world seems to pass you by.
Service was excellent, top notch. Despite the crowd (full house on a Thursday night), the staff remained professional, calm, and super warm and friendly, never appearing harassed. E was completely casual in his running gear and asked for an outside seat away from the air conditioning. While they could not secure outside seating immediately, they brought a scarf for him to use despite him being sweaty from his run.
And yes, the food is good. The famous Spruce burger lived up to its name as one of the best in Singapore (okay I have to reluctantly admit that it tasted better my own handground burgers). Hey, a good burger is all about the meat, non of all these fillings nonsense for me. With its roughly ground good beef, cooked medium rare, juicy and perfectly seasoned with sea salt, held together by its own juices, the Spruce burger packed lots of oomph and texture into every single bit. Totally sinful and totally worth every calorie. Our other choice was the roasted whole red snapper with lemon jam and fresh herb salad, and this was marvellous as well. Cooked to moist perfection, the fish was exceptionally sweet and tasty, the fresh sea taste heightened by the herbs and sweet tangy caramelised lemon.
This was really a beautiful find, and all the credit goes to E for dragging me to Spruce. I can only imagine how marvellous it would be to have brunch there on a weekend morning (they open at 8.30 am on weekends for brunch). Try to score a seat outside on the porch if possible, the decor inside can appear a little too sterile.

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