Ash & Char at McCallum Street has officially joined the family WEROC Group, who owns and manages a portfolio of lifestyle and entertainment brand. Formally a cafe, Ash & Char has been revamped into a Gastro Bar. With 2 large lightbulbs "chandaliers" mounted on the ceiling as centrepieces, luminating the tuxedo black tables that are matched with sleek black, gold and silver high stools, Ash & Char eases between a cosy venue for lunch during day time and a chill out place as the sun sets.
Crispy Cauliflower 3.8/5
Grill and char cooking methods lie at the core of Ash & Char's concept and I thought this Crispy Cauliflower showcases that fully. Dressed with gremolata, an Italian sauce concocted using lemon zest, garlic, soy and parsley, its sweet, bitter and tangy notes bind well with the slight smokiness of the crisp exteriors of cauliflowers, transforming these humble stalks into addictive bites.
Crispy Kalemari 3.8/5
Crispy Kalemari was ingenious. The rather skinny fried calamari would have otherwise been a rather mediocre cafe side if not for the crisp baked Kale. The color juxtaposition is refreshing, the batter of the calamari was light and flavourful and if there was any bits of greasiness, the crackly kale balanced that out.
Mayura Choco Wagyu 3.5/5 and Signature Char Siu 3.5/5
Two notable items in Ash & Char are their Signature Char Siu and Mayura Choco Wagyu ($18). Rewinding to more than a year ago when I first tasted this Char Siu, it was good but I felt it had a lot of potential to be even better. The honey and soy glaze was moreish yet easy on the palette. As for the meat, those slices with charred edges were extra delicious as the burnt fats tend to melt away with ease, releasing to the meat most of its flavour. If only there were more of such pieces on the plate. However, it seems that nothing has quite changed after trying it for the second time. As for the famed Mayura Choco Wagyu, coming from herds raised with chocolates in their diet, I believe the legendary chocolate flavour would be more pronounced should the meat be treated differently instead of being cut into cubes.
Mentaiko Salmon Aburi bowl 3.5/5
Meant to serve up as a cosy venue for lunch as well, there are a range of pastas and rice bowls to choose from. Mentaiko Salmon Aburi Rice Bowl ($16) is a crowd-pleaser with the layer of torched mentaiko atop the salmon fillet. As much as I love aburi half-cooked style, the salmon fillet is meant to be fully cooked. It gets a bit dry at the skinnier ends but the creamy mentaiko helps to add some fattiness to it.
Tom Yum Seafood Pasta 3.5/5
Tom Yum Seafood Pasta ($16) is one of the mainstayers in the menu. The tangy and fiery Tom Yum sauce is what makes it so popular among their customers. Pairing seafood with it is like a bowl of Tom Yum Gong with flavours being concentrated into a pasta dish.
Creamy Smoked Duck Pasta 2.5/5
As for the Creamy Smoked Duck Pasta ($16), I feel more can be done to elevate this dish that is worthy of their new modern Gastro Pub image. The seemingly dehydrated duck slices can definitely be thicker to begin with.
Char-grilled Waygu Burger 3/5
For classic gastro bar food, we had AC Char-grilled Wagyu Burger ($22) and Fish & Chips ($18). The Waygu patty wasn't as juicy as expected, if not, the light charcoal bun would have been perfect to balance a rich patty. As for the Fish & Chips, what makes it different is the herbs embedded within the batter that seasons the fish naturally.
Fish & Chips 3/5
If you can't make up your mind on what to order, simply go for the WEROC Wings and create a wings platter. One look at the plump chicken wings is enough to whet your appetite. On our platter were Har Cheong Gai ($12/4pc), US Buffalo ($14/4pc), Japanese Teriyaki ($12/4pcs), with side dips at $2 each. They were indeed as juicy as they appeared and the sauces made each finger licking good.
WEROC Wings 4/5
If you have seen or heard about blue wine, here is the chance to try it yourself. Please don't mistaken it as your blue pea flower drink! WEROC exclusive blue wine - Santa Cruz de Alpera Blue Frizzante is an easy to drink wine with tropical notes which makes it suitable for an afternoon tipper, perhaps like 3pm on a Friday? What gives it the deep blue color is simply a food grade colorant. A stronger option would be the Whisky Sour. This chilled and sour concoction is a much needed remedy to wake up the dull taste buds after a long day and I like how the egg white gives it its creamy body and texture.
Blue Wine and Whisky Sour
It is easy to be allured by its grand curve wide frontage where the outdoor bar is, especially when the Tapas and Cocktails Happy Hour promotion starts early, from 3pm to 8pm daily.
Words and photos by Si An. A girl who is allured by travelling, loves the feel of freedom, smell of the rain and the aroma of fine coffee and food. Note: This is an invited tasting.
Ash & Char
21 McCallum Street
Tel: +65 91328880
Nearest MRT: Tanjong Pagar (EW Line)
Mon-Thu: 1130am - 11pm
Fri: 1130am - 12midnight
1) Alight at Tanjong Pagar MRT station. Take Exit G. Turn left and walk to junction of Telok Ayer Street and McCallum Street. Journey time about 5 minutes. [Map]