The Place Opened merely a few weeks ago, 51 Soho is a brand new concept at 51 Telok Ayer by the team behind one of my favourite restaurants on Telok Ayer, Birds of A Feather and Halcyon and Crane in Paragon. The space of the restaurant is split into indoor and outdoor seatings, with a focus on contemporary western dishes where you can expect to find subtle hints of Szechuan influences in the dishes. With its location right in CBD, the name Soho also draws reference to the commercial and residential aspects of the precinct it is located in.
The Food It is an all day dining concept at 51 Soho, where you can pick up breakfast followed by a power lunch menu which feature the likes of wholesome bowls for the CBD folks. For dinner, I was surprised to find skewers taking up a big section of the dinner menu, which are hugely inspired by those served in Sichuan drinking houses. Each skewer is charcoal grilled with in-house marination before adding some spice dust, and comes in two stickers per order. I tried an assortment of skewers such as the Beef (S$11), Pork Belly (S$7.50), Duck Gizzard (S$6) and Padron Pepper with Halloumi Cheese (S$8).
My favourite sticks are definitely the two meaty sticks, beef and pork belly. The pork belly is especially tender and well-marinated with a heavy flavour, complete with the right dose of slight spiciness mainly from the Sichuan pepper powder. The beef is competently good as well, though the better value is the pork belly for me.
For small dinner bites, the Shaky Fries (S$7.90) is something good to share where you get to add the chilli powder and shake it for as long as you fancy.
On to mains, the dishes are varied and features mainly western dishes with bits of Szechuan influences. I started with the relatively healthy Green & Nutty (S$18), a green combination of broccoli slaw, edamame bean, sorghum, spring onion pesto and roasted nuts. There is not much of a surprise here, though the dish fits if your objective is to eat clean.
The next dish is more of my liking, the Spice de Canard (S$30). The duck leg here is braised to a nice tender texture, along with cherry tomato, cucumber, watermelon salad with feta cheese and yoghurt dressing.
Another crowd’s favourite from my dining companions, the Salmon and Pearl (S$28) is my favourite dish here. The pearl couscous here is cooked with fish stock and bits of chilli, which provide a slight spiciness flavour to the overall dish when mixed together. The salmon has the right texture without being overcooked, along with a crispy skin. As the meat is only lightly pan-seared, it still retains the moistness which brings out the fresh flavour of the fish better.
For something safe, go for the Soho Burger (S$28). The house made pulled beef burger here comes with kimchi slaw and heaps of crispy fries topped with parmesan cheese. The wagyu beef cheek patty is quite tender and juicy, while the brioche bun is quite buttery.
I also managed to try two of the pastas here. The Wicked Pasta (S$22) is essentially a cream of zucchini linguine served with quail egg, grilled zucchini and glazed asparagus. The flavour is relatively light as compared to the rest of the dishes I had.
Alternatively, I would choose the Our Spicy Pasta (S$24) any time over the Wicked Pasta. The hot and sour spaghetti here packs a very punchy flavour, all thanks to the mix of spices used with the likes of Sichuan ‘Liu Po’ (六婆), ‘Lao Gan Ma’ (老乾媽) and ‘Dou Ban Jiang’ (豆瓣醬). I also like the bits of crab meat tossed within the pasta, as well as the freshness of the tiger prawns.
Food aside, the drinks here are pretty interesting in terms of the presentation and concoction. Expect Chinese rice wine, bamboo wine and plum wine to form the base of the drinks, which are served in creative cups and mini jugs.
Rants The menu may come across as eclectic at first glance with no obvious focus on any particular type of cuisine.
Will I Return Again? For a causal dining meal in the CBD, 51 Soho is a restaurant I would recommend to try. I like the flavours of some of the dishes such as the salmon and spicy pasta, along with the beef and pork belly skewers, to name a few. Do not neglect the interesting drinks too.
This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.
Taste bud: 3.5/5
Hole in the pocket: 3.5/5
Overall Experience: 3.5/5
51 Telok Ayer Street, #01-01
Tel: +65 9755 1058
Monday to Friday
Breakfast: 8am to 11am
Lunch One-Bowl Menu: 11.30am to 2.30pm
A-La-Carte Menu: 5.30pm to 10pm
Saturday, Sunday & Public Holiday
Breakfast: 10am to 2.30pm
Dinner: 11.30am to 2.30pm; 5.30pm to 10pm
Ranted by The Ranter