Last Updated: April 4, 2021
Just looking at SethLui.com’s algorithm for what readers are looking for, one of the most common searches reflect a hunt for affordable romantic restaurants. It comes as a slight surprise given that the season of love (AKA Valentine’s Day) has come and passed, but it seems like lovers are continuously seeking a date night dining spot to appease their hungry partners. If you’re ravenous for ambience, look no further than a visit to Fat Belly Social Steakhouse, a restaurant oozing with charm and romance, although the food can, at times be quite hit and miss.
Traverse up a steep flight of stairs at Boon Tat Street and you’ll be greeted by a cool air-conditioned second-floor unit, before being ushered to your plush seat. The menu here is lean but thoughtful, so I’m sure you won’t need to spend too much time deciding on what to feed your hunger.
I believe I’ve had my fair share of beef tongue, but ox tongue, call me an amateur. Gifted with shaved fennel, jalapeno, and salsa verde, the Grilled Ox Tongue (S$26) was a fair introduction to this meat off-cut. It was surprisingly not as gamey as I’d anticipated, but it didn’t inspire much excitement in me as the opening number of the evening’s meal.
Now, my strict judgement of Roasted Bone Marrow (S$24) is solely due to the fact that I’ve had marvellous renditions before. I was excitedly anticipating the delightful scraping of marrow from the bone, along with a gratifying gelatinous scoop to seal the deal. Alas, my heart sank almost instantly when the harsh reality of the lacklustre Roasted Bone Marrow hit me.
Void of salt—or any seasoning for that matter—was unforgivable, especially since pickled shimeiji made an effort to show up to the party. How could a rudimentary aspect of food preparation be overlooked? I want to assume human error had its way that service.
Things started to look up when the Uni, Lardo, Caviar (S$36) entered the room. An orgy of sweet, salty, and savoury came to life on the sourdough toast and I made a decision to forget the disappointing bone marrow. For now, I’ll relish in this delicate yet robust appetiser.
The glorified mains finally reared their heads; the YG Black Opal Wagyu Zabuton MS6-7 (700g) (S$210) and 2GR Full Blood Wagyu Rib Cap (MS8/9) (600g) (S$148) made for an impressive beam of bright red for a meal at Fat Belly Social Steakhouse.
I could hardly tell the difference between the two for their taste, but it was apparent that my bias lay with the Wagyu Zabuton. With its intense marbling, its tenderness allowed me to go back for seconds (and even thirds). While this main course provided both relief and redemption from an underwhelming start, it wasn’t enough to knock my socks off, unfortunately.
Ironically, what did make me pause and take notice was the Crusted Mac & Cheese (S$16). It lives true to its ‘crusted’ title, withholding a gooey, oozy centre when eaten hot. I have to confess; I shamelessly offered to finish the last serving.
Almost too pretty to destroy is the Eton Mess (S$16). I naturally gravitate towards chocolate, but this giant martini glass filled with sweet and tart decadence managed to sway me. With all the richness that I’d ingested, the Eton Mess alleviated much of that satiety. However, my advice is still to share the loot with someone else, lest you want to hobble down the stairs to your Grab car in-waiting.
There was an internal tug-of-war throughout dinner, and I ruminated long and hard during dessert about how I feel about Fat Belly Social Steakhouse. As someone who’s been to their sister concept, Fat Belly, I cannot say that this beats the other. In fact, I recognise that they are incomparable, in location and menu—but old habits die hard.
For a new joint to check out for date night, sure. As a place to keep in your little black book of favourites, not so much. Perhaps it’s going to take some time to narrow the gaps in quality, but for a start, they definitely hold promise.
Expected damage: S$60 – S$80 per pax
Price: $ $
Our Rating: 3 / 5
Fat Belly Social Steakhouse
21A Boon Tat Street, Singapore 069620
21A Boon Tat Street, Singapore 069620