The Place Rustic and industrial, Sideways restaurant reminds me of Brooklyn, New York. By the same team behind The Hangar in Arab Street, Sideways is located at the junction in the middle of Jalan Besar and Little India, not exactly the most conventional location to open a restaurant. With a rusty sliding open which opens sideways, the name of the restaurant is also inspired by their notion of doing things a little different/sideways from other restaurants.
The first thing which attracted me are the concrete dining tables with some great rays of natural light protruding through the small gaps of the side windows in the 100 years odd shophouse building. The rustic ambience is very inviting for me.
The Food With a weekend brunch menu from 10am daily till late afternoon, dinner is the main focus of the hugely Mediterranean inspired restaurant. We also understand from one of the partners that they are in the midst of working on a lunch menu possibly in future, and also a shift in focus on the restaurant’s theme from Mediterranean to focus on a food menu with wood-fired selections. The huge wood fire oven in the kitchen is pretty much where most of the dishes are prepared here at Sideways.
For a start, the coffee served here uses the same beans as The Hangar, where there is an on-site coffee roaster here.
From the brunch menu, the options are mainly Mediterranean inspired dishes like Melted Cheese Calzone (S$14), Spanish Baked Eggs (S$18) and Nduja & Burrata Toast (S$16). I went for the latter, which turned out to be quite a surprise. Nduja is basically a type of spicy and spreadable pork sausage from Italy, where it is generous spread on the toast here along. The slightly spicy notes goes well with the burrata cheese, topped with nicely done eggs. Very enjoyable brunch option.
From the dinner menu, most of the dishes are priced below S$20 but do also note that the portions are mainly tapas sizes for sharing. There is a good mix of vegetables, meats and seafood. I tried one of the favourites here, the Drunken Sailors (S$14), with cumin gravy and fried basil. Using local shrimps, the part I enjoy most for this dish is the cumin gravy. The gravy is rich and has a nice spiciness to it, which goes well with some sourdough bread.
The other signature dish I tried is the Spanish Pork Belly (S$14). Prepared for over 12 hours, the pork belly is served along with sourdough bread. The meat is quite tender, while the sauce here is mainly tomato base using Italian tomatoes. There is also bits of roasted red pepper to lend the flavour of the dish a little spiciness. Between this and the Drunken Sailors, go for the shrimps instead if you can only choose one.
If there is one dish to try, the Bridge of Marrow (S$14) is a must have. I am a fan of bone marrow, and while this sinful dish is not uncommon, few places do it well. The version here is simply garnished with some salt and garlic, but the bone marrow turns out to be very flavourful and if I may add, sinfully good. You need to have this with some bread for a better flavour as the sourdough bread complements the rich bone marrow well.
Rants Small space with lesser than 20 seats, and tables which are smaller than the usuals too, Sideways is a cosy space.
Will I Return Again? Prices are fairly reasonable at Sideways, with a rustic dining vibe which I can see myself returning for. It is a restaurant with a strong character, especially in a hood like Little India where its presence is already a nice juxtaposition to the neighbourhood.
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
109 Rowell Road
Tel: +65 6291 3441
Monday to Friday: 11:30am to 11pm
Saturday: 10am to 11pm
Sunday: 10am to 4pm
Ranted by The Ranter