Along Telok Ayer Street, Sarnies, which means sandwiches, is an Aussie Cafe serving Aussie food and coffee. In the 6 years of business, they have evolved to provide a great dinner menu on weekdays (6pm onwards), a menu crafted by Chef Zak, formerly from Open Farm Community.
They were full-house with an atmosphere of conviviality when we were there on a weekday night. Most cafes can’t even sustain this packed a crowd for a year. The one major thing that Sarnies did right to pull in a loyal crowd: The food here, like many restaurants in Australia, is made from scratch from quality ingredients, such as grass-fed beef, hormone-free chicken, and bacon cured in-house. Even the buns from the burgers are freshly baked in-house daily; the brioche buns are sweet and soft, with a nice density so they doesn’t become soggy with sauces.
Speaking of burgers, the vegetarian starter grilled haloumi sliders ($13) is so good that you won’t miss meat even if you’re a carnivore like me. Haloumi is a light cheese, but still in the midst of the hot mess, there is always an underlying of milkiness from the cheese. The pervading note is a sauerkraut-like sourness (although there is no sauerkraut), appetizing, crunchy. I can’t stop stuffing my mouth with it.
But none of us 6 at our table took to the Buffalo wings ($14). It has a great grainy texture on the skin, which I like a lot because it’s interesting, but it is too sour for us. I reckon it would go well with beer.
The mains are also spectacular. The handmade, hand-cut pappardelle ($19.50) is the best one: it’s coated, not doused, in a Southern Indian curry, so it’s rich, without being jerlat. The texture of the pasta is perfectly al dente. Flawless.
The Texas-styled burger ($26.50) is a gorgeous mess with brisket smoked overnight. Someone in our group commented that the coleslaw in the burger might be too creamy, but I like the messiness of it. I think that burgers should be over-the-top decadent with rich, fat flavors, and with lots of sauces. I mean, if I want neat, light food, I will go eat fish soup, right?
The 24 hour sous vide Moroccan lamb ($29) is a smorgasbord of spices and flavors. The pearl barley risotto, which the lamb sits on, is wonderfully crunchy, and aromatic with dukka, an Egyptian dip with cumin and caraway. I love the dukka a lot. Someone did say the lamb was gamy, and since I only took a small bite and it was fine for me, I can’t comment.
What works for the strong, bold mains doesn’t for the brownies ($8). Like the mains, the flavor of the brownie is intense, but overly so; it is too chocolatey and too sweet even for me with extreme sweet tooth.
In general, the food at Sarnies can be characterized as full-on, full-blown, full-blast. Bold and strong and generous. It made me very contented. Definitely one of the better food we have eaten in recent months.
136 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068601
T: +65 6224 6091
M-Tue 7.30am-10.30pm, W-F 7.30am-midnight, weekends 8.30am-4pm
Service: NA (didn’t come in much contact)
Price: 7 /10
Overall rating: 3.667/5
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.