February 21, 2017
There are plenty of different restaurants along Tanjong Pagar Road, but one of the newest places is Crackerjack, a concept that has its fingers in many pies. With a deep reluctance to be labelled a restaurant or a bar, they prefer to be known as a ‘concept’ that offers everything, including breakfast, lunch and dinner along with good coffee and cocktails.
When I arrived at noon, there were customers having lunch, some even with a cocktail in hand. I started off with a single serving of their Batch Brew Coffee ($4), made with a custom blend of beans from Two Degrees North Coffee, specially blended for Crackerjack. It was smooth and light, with notes of dark chocolate and nut.
The House Bone Broth ($12) was served next, and I opted for the addition of chicken which cost another $4, and this was probably my favourite dish of the meal. The broth was dark brown, with a strong chicken flavour while not being overly salty.
I particularly enjoyed the kale in the broth, since it was still crunchy and added a nice bit of texture to the dish. The egg stracciatella was delicate and the chunks of chicken were tender and flaked apart easily. This dish would be a good starter for two people to share, but certainly not enough to fill a hungry person up.
Next up was the Lentil Mushroom Scotch Egg ($18). Scotch eggs are usually hard boiled eggs encased within meat, so it was an interesting experience to have lentils with an egg instead. The yolk was runny, and the bread crumb coating was crisp and flavourful. The mushroom added a nice hint of earthiness, while the herbs present brought a very middle-eastern taste profile to the dish.
The scotch egg was paired with a preserved lemon hummus and flatbread. Unlike traditional hummus, this was slightly drier, but the saltiness and tang from the preserved lemon peel shone in the hummus. It was a little overpowering on its own, but when paired with the flatbread it toned down considerably.
The Mojo Brandt Bavette Steak Salad ($25) showcases the chef’s ability to combine different elements into a single cohesive dish. The steak was medium rare and extremely juicy, and the sauce on top provided a strong kick of heat, which overwhelmed the taste of the beef at first.
Once the quinoa, beef, sauce and jicama salad was mixed up, each of the ingredient brought out the best in each other. The heat was reduced significantly, while the originally slightly bitter quinoa was elevated with the help of the sauce. The jicama salad was tangy and crunchy, providing the acidity needed in the dish.
Finishing off with two cocktails, I chose the Pineapple Highball ($16) and Two Moons ($20), a drink that the bartender felt was underrated.
Two Moons was a complex drink, with the amontillado sherry being the most prominent flavour off the top, and herbal notes from the punt e mes towards the end. The drink was sweet and fruity, and I agreed with the bartender, since it wouldn’t be a drink that everybody would be able to enjoy due to the herbal notes.
The Pineapple Highball was a drink that I enjoyed greatly as compared to the first, it was tropical and refreshing with a clear spiciness from the angostura bitters. The slight pineapple undertones made way for a clean finish. It felt like something I would enjoy while lounging at the beach, a simple yet refreshing tipple to sip on.
I certainly enjoyed my time at Crackerjack — the ambience was inviting and fun with the honeycomb bar shelves that the bottles of alcohol sit on, and the staff was friendly. Prices are also extremely affordable, with GST only kicking in on the 1st of March. Were the food and drinks good enough for me to plan a returning trip? Definitely.
Expected damage: $20 – $40 per pax