Salted and Hung
Time Out says
A carnivore’s salami party
Here at Time Out Singapore, we love our meat. Grilled, roasted, fried, stewed – whatever the method, if it once lived and bled, we’re on it like fat on wagyu. So when this Unlisted Collection restaurant cropped up as the ‘sequel’, so to speak, of the erstwhile 5th Quarter, its name alone made us salivate. Because you can’t salt and hang a salad, can you?
Curing, smoking and fermenting are front and centre of this Drew Nocente-led kitchen. That much is clear as soon as you step into the long shophouse space, see the little piggies on the walls and pass a dry cabinet in which all manner of salami and steaks hang, their hues ranging from deep mahogany to pale pink. There’s even kangaroo loin, a nod to Nocente’s Aussie roots, lurking in there.
So of course it’s the charcuterie, all made in-house, that we order right off the bat. The chef’s selection ($28) comes with five types of cold cuts, and opens the palate in anticipation of the rest of the meal. The pancetta and a type of prosciutto – it’s deboned before being cured – are pure and clean, while the red wine salami acts as a robust counterpoint. The funkiness and gelatinous texture of the headcheese, however, are not for everyone.
Like most meats on the menu, the pork jowl ($18) is treated before hitting the pan. It’s cured for 24 hours, then cooked sous vide for about 2 hours and finished on the grill. The meat is sublime: super tender with a layer of fat that disintegrates once we pop it into our gobs. But the dish itself confuses – the chunks of turnip are mushy, the too-chewy abalone adds nothing, and the plate lacks a pickled element to brighten the other, heavier flavours. (Okay, this is where we’ll take our veggie mockery back.)
Thankfully, the Blackmore wagyu tri-tip ($38) that arrives shortly after the pork – the rhythm of our meal is another triumph – is faultess, and demonstrates chef Nocente’s skills on the grills. Served with a swirl of beer frozen in liquid nitrogen and a swathe of corn purée, the dish tells a story through taste: first you’re hit by the sourish tang of the beer, then the sweetness of the corn takes over and finally the almost jerk-like smokiness of the beef blossoms and lingers on the tongue.
Salted and Hung has the potential to be a top restaurant with a clear and distinct philosophy. But minor details let it down, such as the overall blandness of the blue swimmer crab salad with uni, apple and asparagus ($23), as well as the bottled cocktails, called ‘elixirs’, which come across as an afterthought. Sure, we appreciate that the burnt apple milk punch and spiced Dodd’s Gin (both $16) are refreshing enough to pair with the carnivorous small plates. But they’re too light on the booze (another one of our favourite things) and boast little complexity – unlike the rest of the menu.
Time Out Singapore reviews anonymously and pays for all meals. Read our restaurant review policy here.
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12 Purvis Street
|Opening hours:||Mon-Fri noon-2.30pm, 6-10.30pm; Sat 6-10.30pm|
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