Food Review: Alter Ego Singapore at Esplanade | The dark side of A Poke Theory, serving the best Grilled Cheese
The Place Esplanade is seeing quite a fair bit of changes to its F&B scene recently. We dropped by the one month old Alter Ego at Esplanade, managed by the same team behind the popular A Poke Theory (our full review here). As the name suggests, the concept of this raw, somewhat industrial looking cafe and bar is anything but its sister brand. Not every item here is sinful though.
The Food If you were expecting healthy Poke Bowls here, Alter Ego continues to serve them up like A Poke Theory, just somewhat different. We started with two of its Poke bowls, the Green Goddess ($13) and Umami Omega ($16).
We were surprised that our preference lies in the Green Goddess, a vegan dish which is tossed with avocado, kimchi, Peruvian pomegranate and alfafa sprouts on brown rice. The kimchi element added that much need punchy notes, as opposed to the more predictable Umami Omega. The latter is comprised of fresh salmon, avocado and topped with ikura.
After the healthy eats, we were ready for the alter egos to set in. One of the must order sins is the Fried Chicken Skin ($8), an addictive and crispy bar bite which was irresistibly good.
Next up is the Instagram-worthy Pizza Fries (S$14) drenched in a seemingly endless entanglement of cheese and smoky pepperoni. This dish is best for sharing, as it does get too cloying for us.
Comparatively, the Loaded Taters (S$13) was average in terms of flavour. This dish is effectively fried hash brown tossed with spicy jalapeno cheese sauce, and topped with maple-glazed bacon and sour cream. Probably more of the melted cheese might do the trick for this, and yes, best enjoyed while hot too.
If you were to ask which is our favourite dish, we would not hesitate to recommend the Grilled Cheese (S$11). This seemingly simple to prepare toast is anything but easy to perfect it, but we were glad that this version is easily one of the best we have had. Made with Gruyere and Taleggio cheeses and served alongside with tomato soup, the tomato soup lends a refreshing and balanced touch to the heavy cheese flavour. We love how good the cheese was, not to mention the perfect grasp of temperature to give it that stretchy texture. There is also an option to add Braised Beef Short Rib (additional S$3 top up) to this toast.
If you are less adventurous, you can’t go that wrong with the Buffalo Wings, which were twice-baked and tossed in spicy and tangy buffalo sauce.
Rants The concept of the food at Alter Ego is ultimately tossed between cafe and bar bites. There isn’t exactly a dish which feels like a main course if that is what you are looking for. Instead, it is more inclined towards a communal dining style where the experience is best enjoyed by sharing the food.
Will I Return Again? While A Poke Theory came across as another Poke bowl concept for us, we felt that Alter Ego has a much stronger theme and fortunately, we left impressed with some of the dishes we tried. As a cafe and bar concept, this is one of the more outstanding ones which we will be happy to return again.
This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.
Taste bud: 4/5
Hole in the pocket: 3.5/5
Overall Experience: 4/5
8 Raffles Avenue, #01-13D
Tel: +65 6327 9345
Mondays to Thursdays: 11am to 1am
Fridays: 11am to 2am
Saturdays: 10amto 2am
Sundays: 10am to 1am
Ranted by The Ranter