Slake: Modern Southeast Asian Comfort Food with a Creative Twist
Moving from Opera Estate to its present location at Riverwalk, Slake cooks up an extensive range of delicacies with creative and unique local twists. A quick fun fact before we go into the food served at Slake: its brand name originated from its first location – Swan Lake Avenue. Restauranteur Jeremy Cheok combined “Swan” and “Lake” into its brand name and incorporated a swan into its logo. Grounded by Jeremy’s rich Peranakan heritage, you can expect some spice in its dishes and vibrant flavours.
To whet your appetite and set the stage for more yummy food, you must order the Cold Rendang Custard ($9). This was a unanimous favourite amongst my dining companions and set quite a high bar for the rest of the food. Think cold prawn rending sitting atop a bed of creamy smooth charcoal egg custard. A topping of tobiko lends more unaminess with its briny flavours. This was a dish that got us scrapping the bottom of the bowl in hopes that there will be more.
Other sides that we tried included the Chye Poh Fries ($12) and Battered Pig Ears ($14). The former is a signature at Slake and is drizzled with black vinegar mayo for slight tanginess, cutting through the richness of the deep fried chye poh and fries. The latter is quite an interesting dish, whether or not you’ve had pig’s ears before. The pig’s ears are sous vide before deep frying for a crispy outer skin. Somewhat reminiscent of calamari, this dish is also dusted with mala powder to bring a spicy punch.
Another favourite of mine was the Creamy Burrata ($29). This is not a dish for the purists. Instead, what you get is Slake’s rendition of hand-torn buratta (sourced from Puglia) served atop a bed of coconut chutney, topped with tobiko, chilli oil and fried laksa leaves. The crispy rice paper accompanying this dish ties the flavours come together and gives it the additional texture.
Moving on to the other sharing dishes that we had, the first was the Charcoal Grilled Vegetable Platter ($18 for half, $28 for full – pictured above is the half portion). This vegetable platter features butternut squash with charred skin, Portobello, broccoli, baby corn, sweet corn, tomatoes and asparagus. Each of the vegetables are first dehydrated in the oven before grilling and dressed in orange juice and fish sauce for a unique sweet-savoury Asian dressing.
The meat we had was the Orange Glazed Pork Brisket Ribs ($28). Brisket bones are used instead of the typical baby back ribs to allow for the whole consumption of the riblets that are fork-tender on the inside and slightly charred on the outside. These ribs are then topped off with an orange sauce glaze, orange zest, pomelo pulp and sesame seeds.
We had two mains and both were well-executed. The first was the Seafood Laksa Linguine ($22) – al dente linguini pasta bathed in laksa sauce made with rempah embellished with prawns, mussels and clams, not forgetting an onsen egg and the usual suspect in laksa – the taupok (deep-fried here for additional texture)!
The second main we had was Slake Nasi Kerabu (Brown Rice Salad) ($19) – Slake’s signature shiok rice is turned into a warm kerabu after frying with oil rendered from beef trimmings and mixed with corn, cherry tomatoes and poached chicken breast. The sauce used also had an Asian spin as it contains orange juice and fish sauce vinaigrette and topped off with laksa leaf.
Thought we might be stuffed after all that hearty food? We can’t miss dessert. The Sticky Date Huat Kueh ($12) is a combination of a sticky date pudding and the traditional huat kueh to give a soft, fluffy sponge cake drizzled with caramel sauce. You can choose from a few Haagen Dazs ice-creams: Belgium Chocolate, Peanut Butter Crunch and Vanilla. We recommend the peanut butter crunch as that paired well with the sticky date huat kueh.
The Sour Fruit Slump ($12) was my preferred option, but it is a personal choice as I do like a refreshing dessert. Dig into this bowl of fresh rhubarb, raspberry and hawthorn – does this combination make you salivate a bit because of how sour it could potentially be? Fret not as it is also covered with almond biscuit topping and held together by Haagen-Dazs Vanilla Bean ice-cream to cut through the tartness. We thought that Slake is a good choice for those who love their local fare and are opening to trying new things. The food is also delicious and served in hearty portions. Slake also has a weekday lunch promo for those working in the CBD – 2 courses for $19 and 3 courses for $25. Choose from a variety of mains, including Slake’s Nasi Kerabu (see above) and Slake’s Fish and Chips. Budget per person: $25 – 35