WE TRY: AVENUE 87’S NOSTALGIA-FILLED MODERN ASIAN CUISINE

Inside a two-storey restaurant and lounge on Singapore’s Amoy Street, a neon blue sign reads “Avenue 87” but the numerical “8” blinks erratically. Lest you think the signboard is faulty, we were quickly informed that the “8” refers to Glen, one of the restaurant’s co-owners who’s currently in Shanghai.

While his absence is sorely missed, the chemistry between Glen and his Singapore-based partner Alex is unmistakable. The brainchild of these two young local chefs, the modern Asian restaurant is a celebration of the duo’s highly intertwined personal journeys—from their alma mater days in Shatec Culinary School to their firm friendship throughout the years. In fact, the restaurant’s name alludes to the chefs’ childhood homes in Hougang, Avenue 8 and 7, respectively.

Fresh salmon sashimi

As expected, the cuisine here is decidedly Asian, but brought to life with contemporary and traditional techniques. Proudly local produce features heavily in the menu, including sea bass from Ah Hua Kelong, eggs from Farm Delight, and seasoning from Hong Spices. Due to the long-distance nature of their collaboration, the R&D process between the pair is arduous, with Glen conceptualising the recipes from Shanghai and Alex experimenting with it on home grounds. After which, Glen recreates the dish a second time before the two come to a decision. The result is a repertoire of well-loved Asian favourites with a strong sense of childhood nostalgia, but not without a few surprises in the mix.

Sambal octopus

To start, our appetites were whet with chicken chips and kueh pie tee. The latter offers the familiar yet piquant flavours of curry fish head, but in the form of a crunchy, bite-sized snack. The shell is reminiscent of the crispy fried fish while the flavourful foam alludes to the thick curry. Transporting us to the culinary wonderland that’s Japan, the fresh salmon sashimi appetiser is complemented by ponzu pickled wakame, soy wasabi granita, fresh pear cubes, and Vietnamese rice chips.

Baby lamb rack

Quietly stealing the spotlight is the humble fish soup, the duo’s modern take on the local sliced fish soup—a staple in the hawker centres. Deeply savoury and packed with umami, the comforting broth is made with thick anchovy butter milk, and superior fish stock from roasted sea bass bones. Inside, freshly poached sea bass is paired with semi-dried cherry tomatoes for a hint of tartness and deep-fried egg floss for extra texture.

Meanwhile, spice lovers will appreciate the sambal octopus, a refreshing rendition of the sambal stingray. Spanish octopus is used in place of stingray and brined over three days to attain tender perfection. Coated with Peranakan-style spicy rempah and sambal, the meaty tentacle is paired with a choice of tomato fried rice or roasted baby potatoes for a hearty yet satisfying dish.

Inspired by the meat skewers sold at street stalls in Vietnam, the baby lamb rack comes marinated with a blend of lemongrass, shallot, garlic, galangal, and Chinese parsley. A sweet and tangy sauce made from locally-sourced stingless bee honey completes the dish.

“Pisang no goreng”

While the six-course tasting menu comes with two desserts, the “pisang no goreng” stood out. Deep-fried coconut custard is served with banana ice cream and salted gula melaka for a sweet treat that’s moreish and delightful at once. Trust us, you’ll want seconds.

More information here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s