Savour Greek flavours and relax at Summerlong
With countries that feature the four seasons, I like to go there during autumn and winter, but there is something quite magical about a summer evening.
The sky takes a few hours to darken but the air cools, and when you are sitting outside watching the sky morph into darkness, it is so relaxing.
That was what I felt sitting beside the Singapore River on a futon outside Summerlong. Go there just before dusk, grab a cocktail and let the day melt away.
It is a good time to visit because the restaurant has a new chef, Fotis Kokoshi, and a new menu of Greek and Mediterranean flavours.
The dishes are meant to be shared, and there are plenty of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.
The start of the meal almost ended it for me because the platter called All The Dips ($39) had so much, I was stuffed by the time the next dish arrived.
Still, it was perfect for that open air, late summer evening feel that Summerlong has.
The flatbread was nice but not exceptional or memorable. However, the dips - cauliflower hummus, tzatziki, smoked eggplant and spicy feta - were all great.
I was especially in love with the cauliflower hummus. It was rich and flavourful, but not cloying. If you are a light eater, go easy but do not skip this.
And if there is a dip you like, you can just order that from $14.
One look at the talagani salad ($19) and it felt like the sun was out. It just had such a cheerful presentation.
And what is it about eating figs that makes it feel like you are on vacation!
Over the course of the night, there were some dishes that made me so happy to be at Summerlong, like the lamb kebab ($26).
Lamb is a hit or miss with many, but this is seasoned with Arabic spices and smoked paprika. The aromatic smokey combination worked well with lamb.
The vegetarian option of spanakopita ($20) is made from Chef Kokoshi's personal recipe. His version has dill, tarragon, feta cheese and egg.
To be honest, I have not tasted the original version of this (usually made with spring onions and spinach) but this was light and slightly tart, with a flaky shell.
When I think of food from Greece and especially the Mediterranean, grilled octopus ($30) comes to mind.
This version was a visual treat and the octopus was tender with the right amount of char, but beyond this, it did not offer much more. Still, it was an easy-to-understand, non-controversial dish that will be a hit.
By way of taste and innovation, Summerlong does not lead the charge. It is safe, expected and pleasant.
But that sense of relaxation and chill that the restaurant and the plating evoke should keep it in business for a long while.
#01-04, The Quayside, Tel: 6235-1225
Opens all week from 5.30pm to midnight for dinner (kitchen closes at 10pm), weekends 10.30am to 5pm