GastroSmiths – Bistro Cafe At HomesToLife i12 Katong
[Updated] Welcome back Gastrosmith. They moved away from their previous Beach Road location to the current space within HomesToLife at i12 Katong.
The menu retains some of the previous favourites. Small Plates recommendations include Mushroom “Escargots” ($6.50), Not-So-Humble Eggs ($7), Gastrosmith Tori Kaarage ($8); and Big Plates include Gastrosmith Chicken Roast ($18), Pork Chops ($18) and Roasted Alaskan Black Cod ($24).
[Original Entry] Of all the recent cafes I went to, I am confident enough to say Gastrosmith’s food and service left a deep impression, in a positive way. It is one of those new cafes I would text my friends to say “This one must try.”
Gastrosmiths at the corner of Beach Road and Tan Quee Lan Street is now situated at Marrison Hotel, a take-off from its previous establishment The Humble Loaf. The previous bakery at Katong became too small to accommodate all their regular guests.
The larger outfit is collaboration between Chef Dillon Ng and loyal customer-turned-business partner Heng Tong Jin. (The lesson: when people appreciate your food, they will be willing to invest their money.)
The two brand their cuisine as “globally inspired comfort food”, and want to ensure that these creations can be easily enjoyed by people from all walks of life.
Hence, the cuisine offered is quite different from the usual run on the mill, derived from the various gastronomic experiences they had from different cultures and countries.
Signature items include the Hokubee Ribeye Bowl with 200g hokubee ribeye, furikake rice, and option of 63 degree egg, and Atlantic Cod Misua. Think flaky cod that has been cooked lightly in chilli oil, fried misua cooked in dashi stock and tossed in a homemade kimchi puree and finished with sweet mirin.
For a start, even the coffee had a twist – with Shoyu Caramel Latte ($5) on its menu, probably inspired by salted caramel. While this may sound weird on paper, I absolutely relished this uncommon taste, the shoyu in small proportion but adding a thrill constituent as an after taste.
The No-So-Humble-Eggs v2.0 ($9.50) departed somewhat from the typical eggs ben, and provided a bowl sous vide eggs with jamon Serrano, pickled onion, and rather delicious toast. (It was only after I realised they did operate a bakery before.)
I was so so glad that my Shio-Koji Prawn Linguine ($15.50) was not the regular pasta with tomato-based sauce. My first bite was surprising, that my eyes literally lit up after the first mouthful.
It was one bite with a taste that was unfamiliar yet comforting – there were traces of Japanese, dashes of home-cooked Chinese savour, coming together in a contemporary dish.
I had a good time trying to guess what the “Asian sauce” with the Tempura Wings ($12) was, which I remarked tasted like Korean gochujang and chee chiong fun sauces coming together. Turned out I was half correct. Make your guess when you are there.
According to Dillion, the menu will keep on evolving. Trust me, you won’t know what taste to expect when you are there. Be open enough to be surprised.
i12 Katong, 112 East Coast Road #03-06, Singapore 428802
Opening Hours: 10am – 9:30pm (Tues – Sun)