Smoke Shack

Restaurants Raffles Place
Smoke Shack
Where there’s smoke, there’s desire

Photo: The New Yorker sandwich showcases a respectable pastrami, a delicacy all too rare in Singapore.

In this meat-loving sandwich shop, no delectable creature – cow, sheep, pig, salmon, duck – is safe from the flavour-infusing power of the in-house smoker. Cured first, then whacked in the smoking machine with hickory or maple-wood chips, these fillings destined for sandwich heaven take days to prepare.

And, for the most part,they are worth the wait. Although the bread lacks any real character, the accoutrements generally manage to pass muster – it’s meat, glorious meat, that makes these sandwiches noteworthy.

Inspired by New York delis, the menu features a few Big Apple classics, such as their own rendition of a Reuben – warm, rosy-centred corned beef, sauerkraut, melted Swiss cheese, toasted rye bread and Russian dressing. Another ode to the city that never sleeps, the New Yorker showcases a respectable pastrami – a delicacy that’s all too rare in Singapore – served upthickly cut, hot and tender.

The Shack also flaunts more sophisticated items that wouldn’t be seen dead (or smoked) in the average deli. Think goat’s cheese, avocado, celery and pesto sandwiches, as well as a smoked-to-perfection duck on ciabatta, which although a touch too fatty, was nicely complemented by pungent blue cheese and caramelised apple.

On the other hand, the steak sandwich, a daily special, was the least impressive of the four sandwiches sampled – which is an unusual claim coming from a devoted carnivore such as myself.  We ordered the steak medium rare, but it arrived undercooked as a bluish-tinged rare, and the chewy fat lacing through the cut had us wishing for a knife – a critical faux pas for any food made to be eaten with your hands.

Putting its few missteps aside, Smoke Shack still manages to stand out in the CBD, an area already packed with standard plastic-box sandwiches (yawn) that achieve little more than preventing your stomach from rumbling during afternoon meetings. This small, unassuming shop offers a bit more bang – or at least smoke – for your buck. Laura Dozier

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Venue name: Smoke Shack
Address: Republic Plaza #B1-06
9 Raffles Place
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 11am-7pm
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