Last Updated: September 5, 2014
With creativity as the central focus, East 8 Tapas Bar brings Singaporeans Asian fusion cuisine with a blend of Eastern and Western items. Served tapas style, the dining atmosphere encourages conversation and sharing between guests- truly an Asian influence.
So how did the name come about? “8th street” in lower Manhattan of New York City features many diverse Asian restaurants, and combined with the far East fusion origin concept, East 8 was born. Oh and 8 is a lucky number in Asia too yea.
The interior is industrial chic, with extensive use of red bricks and dark metal clading for an urban, modern touch. The large glass panels also give a sense of generous spatial perception, despite the tapas bar actually being relatively small.
East 8 is in essence still a bar, so there’s no way I would leave without having a tipple or 2. or 3. I’m always in a happier mood when alcohol is part of the tasting.
Astor Place ($16). Yuzu in vodka with torched thyme. A relatively simple drink with most of the flavour coming from yuzu, and that slight hit of thyme for a scent of Spring.
Yellow Cab ($22). Gin, whisky and pineapple. A refreshing drink that promises to, like a yellow cab in NYC, ‘get you there’. Has a kick to it and a slight floral, tangy finish, but still pretty simple in concoction and depth. Didn’t have much smokiness as expected.
Downtown Swing ($20). Bourbon, amber earl grey with a dash of bitters. Although the ingredient mix here was quite basic as well, I enjoyed this robust cocktail a lot more, which resembled a Manhattan cocktail. The earl grey really brought out the character of the bourbon, which blends well with the bitters for its distinct taste.
A.L.T ($16). Avocado, Lemon and Yellow Fin tuna chunks. This dish to start off as an appetizer was an excellent choice. The tuna has a fresh sweetness which was really emphasized by the acidity of the lemon. Would have liked the chunks to be a tad larger as the tuna was fattier and a bit too easy to chew, but that’s a minor issue.
The avocado bits were not overpowering with its ripeness and creaminess as with most avocado dishes, and compliments the entire dish without being too dominant in flavour. Excellent, 3 thumbs up.
Portobello Fries ($16). Crispy truffle portobello mushroom fries with roasted garlic aioli. Perfectly fried with a crisp fluffy batter, I loved how huge the mushroom slices were, giving an almost meaty bite. The truffle was subtle, but when dipped in the garlic aioli sauce gives good contrasting wet textures. Compared to the meats next up though, the price might seem a bit expensive, although portobello mushrooms are pretty costly.
Wings and Kicks ($12). Spiced mid joint wings tossed in chili, lime and lemon grass. The lime and lemongrass notes with a hit of chili shouts Thai Asian flavours on Western buffalo wings. Great example of a simple fusion dish done a la minute.
Soy Yuzu Beef ($20). Soy yuzu infused torched sliced Argentine tenderloin. Just seared on 1 side to activate the maillard reaction, the beef lacks natural beefy flavour but is compensated with a sour soy infusion. The acidic marinate combined with tenderloin cut makes for a very tender mouthful.
Miso Chilean Seabass ($24). Marinated Chilean seabass in miso and wine, buttered shimeji mushroom. Miso marinated seabass or cod seems to be a very common dish especially among Japanese restaurants, and seems more Asian than Fusion. Adequately cooked seabass, nothing very surprising here with its sweet, fermented sauce over creamy fish.
Summer Spiced Lamb ($20). Roasted lamb short ribs marinated in special spicy
blend, glazed with sweet lime zest sauce. I loved the fiery spiciness of this dish, and combined with the lime zest glaze, almost covers up the gaminess of the lamb completely. Falls off the bone easily and a delight to eat. One of my favorites here, along with the portobello.
Peanut Butter Jelly ($16). Velvety, rich and nutty Bailey’s confection with blackcurrant. A sweet dessert drink that’s smooth but heavy on the palate. A play on the American peanut butter sandwich, but in a cocktail form.
Molten Peanut Butter and Chocolate ($15). Chocolate and peanut butter really works for me, and you can see the chocolate peanut butter is molten as heck. Both very powerful flavours, they give a strong finish to the night. Comes with a side of tiny vanilla ice cream which seems to melt really fast on that dish, so we barely touched it.
East 8 Tapas + Bar has a laid-back, urban atmosphere and the tapas dishes are actually pretty good overall. I would definitely recommend this restaurant which had more hits than misses for me. Cocktails were pretty basic though lacking some depth, but its hard to concoct miracles given their limited bar/kitchen space.
East 8 is suitable for a first date venue or a friendly catch up, not appearing too formal and your wallet not eminent for a heart attack.
There’s definitely always room for improvement, but the owners have done well for this relatively new establishment. A big thanks to Emil for the media invite and his kind hospitality. Friendly interaction with the restaurant is always a plus point for me, adding to the vibe.