51 Soho doesn’t compete for your attention. There’s no booming music and no crazy chatter. It just sits quietly on Telok Ayer Street, away from its boorish(er) counterparts. The bar is filled with plenty of blue light and amazing acoustics – the kind that you can still hear your friends while enjoying the music. And for the food? Familiar spices with a twist.
At 51 Soho, multiple menus are a thing. You can pretty much visit the bar at different meal times and trust me, you won’t get bored.
For breakfast, easy. Grab a bagel and coffee to go.
And for lunch, dig into a healthy rice bowl. Oh, and for the record, plain quinoa bowls are so-yesterday when it comes to this bar. Life changing grains like red beet rice, pearl cous cous and sorghum are all part of the lunch party.
Pan Seared Chicken Breast ($15.90)
And for dinner, the most important meal of the day for us office dwellers, the menu is extensive and unique. The team at 51 Soho has travelled around the Sichuan province in search of the best way to bring southern Chinese cuisine to our cosmopolitan table. Inspired by the drinking houses that’re so common in Sichuan, 51 Soho’s dinner menu is an elevated version of the food served there.
Skewers ($6.00 – $11.00 per skewer, depending on the choice of meat)
And the meat of the matter? Sichuan marinated and charcoal cooked meats can be ordered in skewers. Caveat: You have a miniature warming plate (with real fire) at your table to keep your skewers toasty.
Her World’s pick(s):
Pork Belly marinated with a traditional spice blend and because I’m a Singaporean millennial, their Shaky Fries are also a definite yes.
There’s only one word for the fat to meat ratio of the charcoal-grilled Pork Belly – decadent. Think siew yoke and add on more spice – it’s slightly numbing, savoury and surprisingly refreshing. Was definitely not jelak after inhaling a skewer.
As for the Shaky Fries, it’s an Asian alternative to the ever-so-popular truffle fries. I mean, we love a fragrant bowl of truffle fries but even that can get a little boring. And I’m a spice lover, so the spicy seasoning on the Shaky Fries hit all the right spots. It’s not too spicy but makes you sweat a little. Oh and pro tip: If you’re feeling frisky, do the Shaky Fries dance. Don’t know how to do it? Just ask the head bartender.
Spice de Canard ($30.00)
For the mains, you get a good mix of proteins and even vegetarian options. And sticking to their backstory, the dishes are all packed with a good balance of Asian and Western flavours.
Her World’s pick(s):
The Spice de Canard and the Green and Nutty.
The guys at 51 Soho took a French spin on the classic Chinese braised duck. Think: Duck confit but with Chinese flavours, and braised (of course). The umami version of the French favourite, but served with marinated lentils, mint yoghurt and watermelon salad. It’s familiar, fresh and extremely hearty.
Green & Nutty ($18.00)
The Green and Nutty almost makes one a vegetarian convert. It’s a plate of textures. Al dente broccoli slaw, fresh edamame beans and crispy sorghum bits all tossed in a creamy spring onion pesto? A vegetarian’s dream come true. You won’t miss the stale salads once you dig into this plate.
Prosperity Cup (9 cups for $88.00, 12 cups for $100)
A good bar always promises good alcohol. And 51 Soho does it right with their specials. Smooth drinks with Chinese alcohol bases, yes please. From bamboo wine to glutinous rice wine, your tastebuds will be pleased.
Her World’s pick(s):
They were all great but my favourites were Dancing in the Moonlight and the Bamboo Dream.
Dancing in the Moonlight is a spirit forward drink. Meaning: It’s strong but not harsh or sharp. The bamboo wine is a fragrant base that is lightened with cucumber and sweetened with a hint of goji berries.
Bamboo Dream (9 cups for $88.00, 12 cups for $100)
And the Bamboo Dream is a refreshing mix of floral and citrus flavours. In tea form, osmanthus flowers are fragrant and calming but have it in wine form, and you’ll almost forget the former. Add in a dash of yuzu and some passion fruit, I can already see myself drinking this, yes in a bamboo cup, at the beach.
I guess…I do have a thing for bamboos afterall.