Last Updated: April 12, 2019
I used to work at Tai Seng, so for someone who would wake up every morning with only one question (“Where should I have lunch today?”) on their mind, I thought I’d have covered all the cafes in the area already. Runway80 proved me wrong.
Tucked away at the far end of Tai Seng (for those familiar with the area, it’s two streets away from Kay Lee Roast Meat) is an aerospace-themed gastropub which opened in June 2018 that serves Asian-Western fusion food.
Café by day and pub by night, Runway80’s aerospace-inspired name is derived from the fact that both its owners came from an aerospace background, so when they ventured into the F&B business, they wanted to weave that theme in.
The first hint of its aerospace theme can be seen from the red “ARRIVAL” pasted on its huge industrial-like metal door. Do note that it can be pretty heavy to slide open, so be sure to get a friend to help!
Runway80’s interior is spacious, clean and bright. You can choose to either sit at the high tables or on the long benches and tables, though there aren’t thaaat many tables (I counted about 12) and it can get filled up pretty quickly.
There are hints of its aerospace-inspired decor, though it wasn’t very obvious. You can spot yellow tape on the floor – that’s supposed to mimic an airport’s runway, as well as the multiple clocks on the top of one of the walls, which is reflective of different time zones across the world.
There are also two dart machines tucked away in a corner for those who love a little entertainment.
The one thing that I was definitely looking forward to trying was Runway80’s Chicken & Waffles (S$16.80). Picture this: tender, crispy pieces of buttermilk fried chicken thighs paired together with waffles and accompanied by salted egg yolk sauce and maple butter syrup. Mmmm!
The portions were pretty huge too — there were four pieces of fried chicken thighs and four quarter slices of waffles.
I loved it that the salted egg yolk sauce was lusciously smooth and creamy. It had that characteristic rich and sandy texture, while the addition of curry leaves lent a hint of fiery spice to it.
The buttermilk chicken was really fantastic. The fried chicken skin was peppery and salty and when I cut into it, there was that gorgeous characteristic crackling sound. The chicken flesh on the other hand, was tender and juicy. This was definitely one of the best pieces of buttermilk fried chicken I’d ever had.
Pairing the chicken together with the savoury salted egg sauce made each bite piquant, fragrant and addictive. Although, the combination of the richness of the salted egg yolk sauce and the well-seasoned buttermilk chicken skin got quite salty after the fifth bite, as such I had to down plenty of water.
The handmade Onion Rings (S$9.80) was recommended to me by its owner, James, and I could see why. The thick layers of the onion had been deep-fried whole, so what you got were beautiful chunks of golden brown onion rings.
Crispy and flaky, with strong earthy and peppery tones, the onion rings were finger-licking good. I loved how the nutty crust went hand-in-hand with the sweetness of the soft onion slices. They also weren’t overly oily, which is a huge plus point in my books.
The batter used also wasn’t like the regular batter; it was smoother than usual and reminded me almost of wholegrain loaves of fluffy bread.
The Pulled Pork Sliders (S$14.80) came with fried mantou buns, stuffed with pulled pork that had been slow roasted for eight hours, fresh lettuce and mixed greens and a large pile of thinly-sliced fried onions.
With a sleek golden sheen, the mantou buns were buttery smooth and firm. I liked how the mantous went together with the pulled pork; it was as if I was having a tiny and tasty burger, with a crispy bun and soft, fork-tender pulled pork.
I was super happy to note that the inside of the buns were fluffy and soft, just like regular steamed mantou. The pulled pork was smoky with a tinge of barbecue sauce, and I could taste a little heat too as if paprika had been added to the marinade.
My only gripe would be that the buns tend to fall off the burger since there wasn’t any toothpick, sauce or jam to hold the various components together.
The Salmon Fillet (S$19.80) came with a slightly more expensive price tag but just looking at the size of that pan-seared Norwegian salmon, that mouth-watering sear and the pretty pink gradient of cooked salmon flesh made the cost worth it.
The salmon was accompanied with butter-sautéed potato cubes, an onion thyme cream sauce, sautéed asparagus, sautéed shimeiji mushrooms and baby radishes.
The one thing that Runway80 did fabulously well was the crust. I raked my fork over the crispy salmon crust and I heard a crackling, tinkling sound, similar to the crust on roast pork or sizzling bacon slices.
It was seasoned incredibly well too, with a generous amount of coarsely grounded black pepper. The salmon flesh was silky smooth and came apart easily when I gently cut into it.
The natural sweetness of the cooked salmon was delicious when paired with the coarse black pepper, and so were the earthy umami flavours from the shimeiji mushrooms and potato cubes.
To accompany my meal, I ordered an Earl Grey Milkshake (S$7.80). While it was frothy and milky, I liked it that the milkshake wasn’t too sweet and I could still taste the richness and slight acidity of the black earl grey tea. I was really appreciative that it wasn’t overly creamy, which would’ve just made me full easily.
If you’re not a fan of earl grey, we suggest trying Yuan Yang Milkshake (S$8.80) or going for their classic Nutella Milkshake (S$7.80).
I wouldn’t say it’s the most affordable gastropub around, but you’re definitely getting what you’re paying for. The portions were really decent and the quality of the food was top-notch. I absolutely loved the Chicken & Waffles and if I’m ever craving an indulgent and sinful cheat meal, I’m coming back here for this one dish.
Expected Damage: S$15 – S$30 per pax
Price: $ $
Our Rating: 4 / 5
163 Upper Paya Lebar Road, Singapore 534857
163 Upper Paya Lebar Road, Singapore 534857