What do you get when live music meets wine and dine? Unlike other music venues set in an alfresco fashion, TAB
is the place to beat the heat and enjoy the same perks those humid watering holes can offer!
Nestled at the very start of orchard road, the owners of TAB have done an awesome revamp of the old orchard hotel galleria. One gets the sense of exclusivity when the entrance is nothing but an escalator among rich wood-finishing, enticing you to come up and explore more.
I was astounded by the floor space of this seemingly humble abode. The décor was clean cut and easily accessible, with a mezzanine level that allowed diners an aerial view of the performance stage. Easily able to fit about 300 people, diners and pub crawlers alike would truly feel at home.
As this was the soft launch of TAB, there were the who’s who of Singapore to rub shoulders with. The owners and staff ensured every guest felt welcome, and instantly swept upon us to try their signature tapas fare. For a very busy unofficial opening, I was surprised by the number of items they listed on the simple single page menu.
Not knowing where to start, I asked for the most popular dishes they had. In a single breath the waiter rattled off 4 of their very best. And to emphasize it all was the fact that all their dishes were made with fresh ingredients, none of the frozen or store bought pre-mixes. With hunger in my eyes and a fiery passion in my belly, I agreed to try them all.
First on my list was the Bruschetta
. Ordinary, do-it-yourself finger foods you say? Pfft. That’s where you’re wrong! Tapenade*
-spread foccaccia toast adorned with a roll of Parma ham stuffed with mascarpone*
, with a sun-dried tomato laid gently at the top, all this accompanied by an awesome shot glass of grape salsa. Biting into all those different flavours at once was like a burst of gastronomical heaven! I had never heard of a grape salsa before, and I wasn’t left disappointed. Its sweet-sour versus savoury flavour left me clamouring for more. [*foodie fact alert #1 – Tapenade is a popular French spread of pureed olives, anchovies, capers and olive oil.]
[*foodie fact alert #2 – Mascarpone is an Italian cream cheese, also known as ‘crème fraiche’]
While waiting for my pint of draft Kronenburg Blanc
, I had the golden opportunity of questioning one of the 3 owners of TAB, Adrian, on what he thought his chef did best. ‘The homemade sweet potato fries, of course.’ was his reply. How can such a common side order be considered a favourite? It had the cheapest price tag and sounded so blasé, but that was where the fast food similarities ended, and the deliciousness began. Subtly coated with a blend of spices and deep fried with fresh rosemary, these thick cut sweet potato fries would make you take McDonalds delivery off of your speed dial list forever.
Time for some tough guy food. Upon arriving, the Merguez
didn’t look as fascinating as the rest of the prettily dressed foods. A line up of spicy lamb sausages, sautéed in white wine and fresh herbs, good nonetheless, was made heavenly with its serving of mango salsa.
Oh! I’ve failed to mention previously on the musical ambience of TAB. Their stage is set to hold concerts and solo acts alike. With food gratifying my taste buds, coupled by soothing croons of the singer, I had found a blissful haven at last. The echoes of the crowd were faint, as the structure of the room reduced the fish-market-like amalgamation of excited patrons’ voices, and replaced it with acceptable decibels of the live music.
What would an alcohol zone be without its essential bowl of beer nuts/crisps? If you’ve always wondered what a clash of Christmas and Chinese New Year would be like in multi-cultural Singapore, well you’ve come to the right place with the right taste. Sitting in a pretty side-carved white bowl, the Mixed Nuts & Wanton Strips
seemed to be a crowd favourite. Practically every table in the room had at least one bowl of this nutty concoction. A perfect blend of honey butter, spices, sesame seeds and wanton strips, tossed with an assortment of roasted nuts – was sure to put any stressed-out workaholic into a holiday mood.
The one thing that did leave me disappointed was the fact that the full menu of mains, sides, desserts and the works were still in the developmental stages and that I was unable to sample some of the delectable treats they had in store. I’m surely looking forward to going back to this new and exciting establishment, to catch a few of their imported as well as locally bred music acts, and to try the western dishes by a mysterious Singaporean chef who has been living abroad for the past 25 years, but has comeback home to grace us all with his freshly prepared eats.
Hey do check TAB out and share your experience with us at OpenRice
ya? Till next week then folks!
- Address: Orchard Hotel, 442 Orchard Road #02-29
- Tel. No.: 6493 6952
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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