During Singapore’s ‘Circuit Breaker’ period, I had the opportunity to have some of the tastiest dishes delivered to my doorstep—work perks FTW—and one I can recall clearly is Love Handle Burgers. All vegan burgers, but all mouth-wateringly memorable. And then, recently, I heard that they’re housed with two other F&B brands, Mirai Burgers and Hoshi Hill, under a tri-concept roof called 8ASH.
Hoping to inject the Ann Siang Hill ‘hood with its bright, neon-splashed walls and funky American diner-esque fittings, the vibe is energetic and more importantly, holds hope of food that is on par with its lively demeanour.
With Chef Addis helming the kitchen at 8ASH, I was certain he wouldn’t let me down, having the honour of being swept away by the grub he dished out at his previous posts at now-shuttered HRVST and Hello Baby.
What I tried
The Chilled Hokkaido Scallop Somen (S$25) held my gaze for a second too long, simply due to its luxurious sheen and a brief flashback of a similar dish I’ve enjoyed elsewhere. This Hoshi Hill selection has all the makings of great savoury depth with a balanced umami tone; I mean there are heavy-handed twirls of chilled somen, Hokkaido scallops, shio kombu dressing, sakura ebi powder, ponzu jelly, and ikura thrown together to create a dish worthy of applause.
Alas, after only two forkfuls, my dining partner and I slinked back into our seats and lazily prodded at the pile of noodles, which have now become a rich, but one-note song that we feel obliged to finish.
We both agreed that it needed a brightness that could only come with a zesty lift—the ikura contributed little to narrow this flavour gap.
Hopeful redemption came from the Hoshi Wagyu Steak (S$18) at 8ASH, which was impressively effortless to chew on. The sight of a deep, scarlet-red centre was pleasing, as was the unnecessary need for any type of condiment. As someone who truly believes less is truly more when it comes to steak, I would have to crown this dish the peak of our lunch.
I was afraid that their Katsu Okonomiyaki Burger (S$16) was going to let me down, given that I’ve had plenty of fried patties sandwiched between buns that were undeserving of its treatment. In this scenario, the Mirai Burgers’ pork katsu managed to cinch the approval of my dining partner, however, I have to admit that I, like some parts of the katsu, proved to be a tougher critic.
Granted, the patty was gloriously crunchy, but mine carried too much fat in the middle—just as I do—causing my jaw to work overtime. A little more ease would have easily made this a favourite for the day.
Love Handle Burgers
Now, this I’ve had the pleasure of devouring before. The Mushroom Cheese Burger (S$17) is a vegan’s dream of its meat cousin. Hell, I’m confident even meat fanatics will fancy Love Handle Burger’s plant-based rendition all the same.
Smashed Impossible patties are layered with a mountain of mushrooms, blanketed in ‘shroom sauce and finished with creamy garlic aioli. It’s decadent without being sinful, but be ready with wet wipes by the side—always a heroic sign of a mouthwatering treat, if I do say so myself.
If you’re really in need of a sweet end, the Lemon Crumble (S$4.50) might do the job, although, for us two, it was accessible at most. Straightforward in presentation, there’s little to get excited over this tart lemon curd with crumble, topped with whipped coconut cream and desiccated coconut. Sure, it eased the weight of the burgers we had right before, but the lemon curd proved to be too aggressive.
Even with the complement of whipped coconut cream to placate, I struggled to find a satisfying medium in what was meant to be a gloriously happy ending.
I always leave with a heavy heart when I’ve eaten at a place that I initially held promise for. 8ASH is one of these places, and as much as I appreciated all the efforts, I grappled with the reality that the food here requires re-working. This comes especially so, knowing that I have tried and tasted—on multiple occasions—Chef Addis’ earnest creations.
Could’ve it been an off day in the kitchen? Could’ve it been me setting the bar too high? Or could it simply be me being a mismatch for a place like 8ASH? It could be one of these reasons and possibly many more, so I still say, ‘don’t knock it till you’ve tried it’. Experience in dining is, after all, subjective, so don’t let me keep you from trying.
Expected Damage: S$15 – S$30 per pax
Price: $ $
Our Rating: 2 / 5
8 Ann Siang Hill, Singapore 069788
8 Ann Siang Hill, Singapore 069788