Last Updated: March 3, 2021
My reticence with halal establishments that choose to venture into Western cuisine is known to close friends. Oftentimes, the result is a show of classics performed poorly, and I have to bite my tongue when it comes to honest opinions. But that’s not to say I’m not open to the rarity of such a place impressing me so; I want these businesses to thrive and grow, for the betterment of mankind’s palate and appetite. This is where I discovered Asap & Co.
A marriage of two home businesses now sharing a home along North Bridge Road, Asap & Co. unifies The Smok Hous and Brulee to create a steakhouse-cum-cafe outfit. The space is restricted, but cosy, and I can only hope the business flourishes enough for it to find a larger roof over its head. The walls are decorated minimally, and reservations come highly recommended as pre-orders are almost always a must if you’re smoking meats.
I have to state for context, that I’d the pleasure of savouring these succulents cuts prior as my fiance’s friend helms the kitchen for The Smok Hous. In fact, the hunt of seeking a permanent home for his smoker was one of the driving forces of pursuing this F&B journey. But having only sampled but a portion of his culinary wizardry, I was anticipating what Asap & Co. has in-store.
The delay for their Brisket Mantou (S$16) is (almost) worth your patience as there’s almost nothing to fault in their 12-hour smoked Argentinian black Angus brisket. The robust pepperiness brings to life shredded carrots, fresh onions, and chopped fresh chilli, alongside a staple mesclun salad. Their homemade BBQ sauce makes you wish it were sold in bottles, but one cannot help but lament about the waiting game that’s been reported many times by previous diners.
Our restlessness drove us to order Smok Norwegian Salmon Linguine (S$20) while awaiting the big guns to make their appearance. Presented in a familiar sauce of lemak cili api, the heat created a smooth crescendo that makes this a surprising winner in a restaurant that celebrates smoked meats. The santan (coconut milk) doesn’t pit a fight against the salmon’s natural oiliness, while the handful of pineapples adds a dash of sweet acidity.
For whatever reason you’re bringing someone who doesn’t choose a meat dish here, this recipe is a steadfast option to lean on.
The first show-stopper—Wagyu Hanger Steak 500g (S$78)—finally decided to rear its head from the muggy heat of the kitchen. The F1 Wagyu MS4/5, 200 days grain finished meat is simply seasoned with Maldon salt and pepper, and smoked for just about an hour. While the cut comes highly prized for its deep, rich flavours, it’s also known for its consistent tenderness. As the cut comes from the muscle that helps support the diaphragm between a cow’s rib and loin, it does very little work, resulting in its supple texture.
Sure, it came as tender as one would expect a knife to slice through meat, but I still found myself having to exercise some force during jaw work. It also proved to be gamier than common cuts, which might cause a divide between those who appreciate earthy flavours and those who don’t.
There are plenty of mammoth meat platters to choose from at Asap & Co., and one of them is Argentina Black Angus Cowboy Steak (Bone-in ribeye) 800g (S$108). Featuring 100 Days grain finished and free-range meat, this portion is good for sharing between two. The flavours are plentyfull and the impeccable fat creates a marbling that you’ll want to devour. Ah, yes, it’s good to note that the steaks don’t come with a side sauce by default—but then again, it doesn’t require any—but if you’re curious, ask for their homemade BBQ and black pepper sauces.
It certainly sweetness and spice, respectively—a good alternative profile when you grow weary of the humble taste of beef.
You might not have the stomach for a sweet ending after the hefty mains, but the Cempedak Crème Brulee (S$9.50) is worth re-assessing how satiated you truly are. I wish the sugar shell was torched just a lil’ more for a smokier finish because the creamy cempedak brulee called for a complementary partner. Side note: I’ve been back since this initial visit, and the other desserts aren’t worth investigating. Stick to this, and it’ll be the curtain call your meal deserves.
Having only been open for a handful of months, there are still teething issues the team needs to sort out. For one, the long waiting time—even after you’ve made a reservation and placed a deposit with your pre-order—is slightly painful to bear, especially if you’ve made an effort to come hungry. I would suggest that they stick to a reservation-only policy, for now, to enable them to get a better hang of processes, especially if they’re firing and smoking meats-to-order.
I’m confident they’ll catch up soon enough, but let’s hope the crowd’s attention doesn’t wane for much longer. Till then, it’s worth a shot; you might just need to guiltily have a snack before you make you way down.
Expected damage: S$20 – S$50 per pax
Price: $ $
Our Rating: 4 / 5
Asap & Co.
774 North Bridge Road, Singapore 198742
774 North Bridge Road, Singapore 198742