The Ascot – English Gastrogrub Restaurant at The Grandstand Scores
New English restaurant The Ascot at The Grandstand has found a right name, called because it is known to be a famous English racecourse. It is located at the previously known Turf City, and you suspect that the original premise may be where the horses were kept.
Not to be confused with the similar-sounding service apartments, this new restaurant offers the very English pub experience – authentic comfort food, beer and a view facing lush green fields.
I was initially sceptical about its pub food – the focus of many similar public houses are on its brew and ambience, while food takes second-fiddle. Also, the very thought of traveling all the way to The Grandstand at Bukit Timah (shuttle bus, hot weather and everything) made me think twice.
The ambience does make you feel like you are away from the country, very laidback and carefree. The customers who are mainly Europeans or Australians come after a game of football or swimming classes, indulging in sharing plates and many laughs. The Ascot’s owner Sylvester Fedor Thang stands behind the bar counter most of the time, in his signature straw-hat. And yes, looking very chill as well.
In terms of food, I was slightly taken aback by the Smoked Tomato Soup ($8) which came served with Turkish bread. One word to describe it – Awesome! Perhaps I came half-expecting some lacklustre soup prepared from a can.
Once you have tasted their Smoked Tomato Soup, you won’t want to drink canned tomato soup again. It was so warm and felt rustically home-cooked. Makes good comfort food anytime.
I remember having scotch eggs at London’s Spitalfields market and that’s about it. Never had it ever again. When I saw scotch eggs in The Ascot’s Cold Cut Platter ($18), I just knew I had to order it.
A scotch egg is a hard-boiled egg wrapped in sausage meat, coated in breadcrumbs and deep-fried. Theirs taste almost like what I had in London, except that it could be much more piping hot. With that said, the accompanying parma ham was the bomb.
Sylvester wondered if we enjoyed the Bunch of Bangers ($20), with three broiled sausages on bubble and squeak drizzled with onion gravy. (Bubble and squeak is a traditional English dish made with the shallow-fried leftover vegetables and ingredients such as potato and cabbage.) He said that some customers were not used to the potatoes being ‘chao tar’ (slightly burnt).
That is precisely why I liked that dish. It tasted very grubby and unrefined, and could imagine this going so well with a mug of ice cold beer. No wonder they call the food ‘gastrogrub’.
The Ascot scores for being an unpretentious place, offering straight-forward British traditional cuisine without the additional frills. Deep-fried Mars Bar yes? This is one of my recent favourite new openings this year. Now, let me think about making a trip all the way to The Grandstand.
The Grandstand 200 Turf Club Road #01-16 Singapore 287994, Tel: +65 6462 0881
Free shuttle services from Newton, Botanical Gardens and Toa Payoh MRT Station on hourly frequency
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 11:00pm Daily
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