It was certainly a welcome surprise when I heard that Asap & Co. was due to open a sister outlet soon after its roaring success. I’d already thoroughly enjoyed their impeccably smoked meats, so I was curious how else they’d court and romance this meat enthusiast. Cherry & Oak at Farrer Park is a stark contrast to its parent restaurant—and all in a complementary fashion.
It sticks to its monochromatic swatch, but the divergence begins the moment you step into the spacious dining area. Boasting both an alfresco area as well as an indoor, air-conditioned seating area, the space entices families and larger groups—in contrast to the more intimate and cosy setting at Asap & Co.
The menu also differs, in that it’s a joint venture with Walaku and familiar Asian delights are smoked to perfection. Without spending too much waxing lyrical about how these two concepts embody their own identities, the food is really where Cherry & Oak made its indelible mark.
What I tried
I would start from the appetisers, but delayed joy will serve well in keeping the holy grail of this place a secret a little while longer. So, we begin with the Whole Squid (S$18), serving eight to 10 inches of bouncy, fresh flesh.
The slather of sauce is a kicap manis-based recipe that I wasn’t privy to, but, you know, once you begin ripping into something this delicious, it almost doesn’t matter. My rational fear of the squid being too tough and rubbery was cast aside, giving way to contentment. It’s a portion that serves well for sharing, but it’s an easy one-person meal, considering every main is accompanied by nasi lemak bakar (smoked nasi lemak) and mango slaw.
If I could dispense advice at this point, I’d say request for more mango slaw; it’s bright, has a bright, sweet tang that will cut through the rich sauce and make your meal one to remember.
There’s so much to be said about the Smoked Wagyu Satay Madura (S$24). While you might have to dig deeper into your pockets, it’s a sacrifice worth every penny.
A kicap-peanut sauce brings this pedestrian dish to new heights—making me negate the contribution of juicy wagyu to this plump bite. There’s an amalgamation of smoky, sweet, and nutty, bite after bite, that kept me in an intoxicated stupor of silence.
One portion brings six sticks to the table, so another wise word from me would be to keep all six to yourself and get the Nasi Lemak Bakar (S$2.50) as an add-on.
Cherry & Oak also has larger specials, like the Whole Irish Duck (S$88) that requires, at least, a four-hour advanced order. This conscious effort to pre-order will pay off deliciously, as the supple duck meat tore off its bone with ease.
Don’t toss the crackling skin aside in fear of fat—live a little!—and savour the rich essences of the duck as it’s meant to be eaten. As for the extras, take them home and chop them up to be tossed into fried rice, with a side of sambal—it’ll be absolutely divine.
A Baby Dutch Pancake series is available that entails both savoury and sweet renditions, to which I chose the Banana Brulee (S$16). While I don’t often see baby dutch pancakes around, I would imagine that they’d need to be airy and mildly sweet.
This had neither and instead, presented a vapid, deflated pastry with nothing more to serve than a canvas on which to scoop up the mascarpone and bananas. I would, instead, recommend the Cempedak Crème Brûlée (S$9.50), which is also available at Asap & Co.; now that’s pretty phenomenal.
By now, you can pretty much tell that I have an unbridled infatuation with Cherry & Oak—so much so that I returned the very next week, after my initial visit. The menu’s concise while the food’s unpretentious, all while being able to sweep this seasoned food writer off her feet.
The place makes for a casual date night, a friendly catch-up with a friend, and even a solo masturdate spot for when you simply want to feed yourself honest grub without overthinking. Whatever the occasion, there’s a bite for you. And if you’re like me, you’ll be telling everyone—from friend to neighbour—that this is the newest smokehouse in town to be at.
Expected damage: S$35 – S$45 per pax
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Price: $ $
Our Rating: 5 / 5
Cherry & Oak
95 Owen Road, Singapore 218907
Cherry & Oak
95 Owen Road, Singapore 218907