Insta-worthy dishes at Social Place
Hong Kong restaurant Social Place has opened its first Southeast Asian outlet at Forum The Shopping Mall.
With whatever that is happening in Hong Kong now, this is likely to be the closest some of us may get to the city in a while.
Perhaps that could be why the queue has been unrelenting since it opened last month - we just miss the food so much.
Another reason for the popularity of this Instagram-worthy restaurant is probably the quirky decor.
There is a wall of mahjong tiles, featured in so many OOTD shots on our Instagram feed. Overhead, on the walls and on the floor are even more backdrops for your perfect picture.
The food is not so much Hong Kong "char chaan teng" but a modern take on Chinese flavours.
The modernity comes from the often outlandish plating, although the flavours are rooted in tradition.
That is a combination that appeals to me, and it made me rethink some of my food preferences.
The idea of eating a chilled pork dish did not sit well with me initially, but I ended up liking two at Social Place.
Sweet & Sour Pork on Ice ($24.80) is dramatic, though the theatrics are unnecessary because once you taste it, it becomes an easy sell.
The pork is fried to a crisp, with a sweet sauce that coats it. The ice helps the pork retain its texture, while pieces of fruits - melons and blueberries - help with the pretence that it is possibly healthy.
The Pork Knuckle in Sand Ginger ($9.80) was the first time I have had chilled pork knuckle, and it was surprisingly good.
The meat is chewy and the sauce - spicy, tart and savoury - elevates it.
I ate this dish with someone from Shanghai and she got misty-eyed over the sauce.
"It's exactly how my mother used to make it," she said.
Although the Corn Sauteed with Crispy Fried Garlic ($12.80) is such a simple dish, it was effective and addictive. The addition of curry powder gives it a gentle heat.
The Wagyu Char Siu ($28) was disappointing though.
I thought wagyu would make a good char siew as it is fatty enough, but it turned out too lean.
Perhaps labelling it char siu also heightened expectations. It has none of that mellow caramel sweetness that I hoped for.
The Small Pig Pudding ($6.80 a piece) is the breakout star of Social Place. The only pigs more photographed at this point are probably Babe and Miss Piggy.
If you are eating at Social Place, you just have to post about this dessert
Hype aside, this is one tasty treat. The milk sauce and pudding are not too sweet, but creamy enough.
The taste may not achieve classic status but it will amuse diners for months to come.
Social Place Singapore
#01-22, Forum The Shopping Mall Tel: 8870-2288
Opens 11.30am to 2.30pm, 6pm to 10pm