Childhood friends chef-owner Nellie Tan and manager-owner Chrystal Yeon achieve their dream by setting up Homeground Grill & Bar along Serangoon Road, serving charcoal-grilled food. (About a 10-minute walk from Boon Keng MRT.) Tan, teacher-turned-chef, received her culinary training at Cordon Bleu in Thailand. They aim to serve simple and comforting food.
There are appetisers and there are bar grub to go along with the alcohol. Not quite sure what the difference between the two sections is. But recommended are the grilled portobello mushroom ($7) in garlic butter and melted cheese and baked potato skins (5 pcs, $8) with sour cream, bacon, chives, and cheese. Having had the latter, I wanted the skin to be crispier and the potato to be cheesier.
The mains are charcoal-grilled upon ordering so it may take some time to arrive at your table. Their specialities, salmon ($18) and ribeye ($26), are included in the mixed platter ($72, pictured above). We two managed to tackle the platter with some stomach space for dessert, so if you come in two or three, you may want to get the platter to sample what Homeground has to offer.
Marinated with whiskey, the 200gm New Zealand ribeye is grilled perfectly medium-rare, pinkish inside, and slightly sweet. The Norwegian salmon, which is my dining partner’s favourite among the meats, is marinated in malt. Although it is meaty and firm (a great texture), I find it sweet, like the ribeye.
Besides the ribeye and salmon, the mixed platter comes with two chicken thighs, one bratwurst sausage, garlic tiger prawns, salad, roasted potatoes, and sauteed mushrooms.
On the whole, the platter is not bad, but I would prefer the meats to be bolder, to be smokey with that char aroma. Furthermore, the meats are marinated to be sweet—the beef, chicken, and salmon are all sweet—and it is strange to me, having accustomed to salty meats. Salt opens the tastebuds to be more receptive to the umami flavour. But because the items are sweet, the fat (where the umami resides) is unable to reach its maximum taste. That said, some people may like their meats sweet.
The best beverage to go with grilled food is beer, which they serve here, but since they also have cocktails and beer tastes the same everywhere, we tried the cocktails. They recommend 天茶 (heavenly tea, $18, whisky, tie guan yin tea, honey, mint and lemon) which we didn’t get; and safehouse ($17) which we got. It is an Asian spin on gin and tonic with ginger, lime, and sour plum.
We also tried the moondust ($16, vodka, watermelon, lychee, rosemary), which is sweet. The cocktails are pleasing but they lack the finesse a hipster bartender can provide.
At the beginning of this review, I announced their purpose of setting up this restaurant, which is to provide comforting food to people. To that end, they have achieved their aim. The food is homely and the place welcoming. It’s ideal for gymmers after a workout or for people after a hard day’s work to relax.
Homeground Grill & Bar
1088 Serangoon Road Singapore 328188
tel: +65 8774 9278
Tue – F 6pm – 12am, Sat & Sun 1pm – 12am, closed M
Price / value: 5.75/10
Decor / Ambience: 6.25/10
You may be interested in…
–Grill Central, Tanjong Pagar: Grills of Well-seasoned Meats and Homemade Sausages
–Garang Grill by New Ubin Seafood, Swan Ave: Full House At Pop-Up Restaurant by Slake Chef Jeremy Cheok
–D’Grill, Punggol: Whole Fish & Chips and Sambal Hotplate Seafood
–Nude Grill, Marina One: Contemporary Asian Grill House Serves Fantastic Food
Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.