The Salted Plum can be said to be a version 2.0 of the now-defunct Five Ten, known to serve Taiwanese-inspired dishes at $5 and $10. Unfortunately that excludes service charge.
They took over a two-storey shophouse along Circular Road, previously occupied by a short-lived BakBak, a short walk away from Boat Quay.
I preferred sitting downstairs, as the second level seemed more stuff and echo-y, though you get some natural light there during daytime.
The previously Five Ten was named after the much-loved Taiwanese drink game, and the prices of their dishes.
I spotted some $15 and $25 dishes on the menu now, which includes Atka Mackerel ($15), Hamachi Collar ($15), Boston Lobster ($25), and Slipper Lobster ($25) – still considered inexpensive because they are steamed and served fresh on order. (Are they attempting a Burger and Lobster?)
Helmed by Head Chef Shawn Koh who was previously of Salted and Hung, the dishes are mostly inspired by Taiwanese kuai chao stir-fry restaurants.
Some of the recommended dishes included Brussel Sprouts with Shiitake Mushrooms ($5), Fried Eggplant with Dried Shrimp ($5), Chicken Hearts with Ginger ($5), Sirloin Steak with Picked Cabbage ($10), Fried Chicken with Nori Mayonnaise ($10), Braised Pork Belly ($10), Taiwanese Sausage Patties ($10), Barramundi poached in Dashi Broth ($10), and Oyster Steamed Egg ($10).
I wished there were more vegetables dishes and greens though to balance out the generally rich food.
If you are new to this concept, I say just go for the Braised Pork Belly aka “Lu Rou” in special housemade soy sauce.
The piece was melt-in-the-mouth soft, with a suitable amount of fat, and sauce that was savoury-tasty and surprisingly not excessively-greasy.
Order this with some of the “Shiny Rice” ($0.50) drizzled with lard and garlic oil, and stop thinking about the calories momentarily.
I know one of the top recommended dishes was the Brussel Sprouts with Shiitake Mushrooms ($5). Two different waiters came and said the same.
However, perhaps it was the execution that day – some pieces were fine, while others were sour. I suspect some citrus fruit was squeezed at only one spot.
The Fried Chicken with Nori Mayonnaise ($10) was a safe choice, deep fried to a crisp without too much residual oil.
I would order this again, though hope there would be a version that could be closer to Taiwan’s “Yan Su Ji” (like pop corn chicken), powdered with special salt, pepper, spices or even plum.
The lunch rice bowls priced at $10 should be a hit with CBD people, with choices of Lu Rou Fan, Steak Rice, Fried Chicken Rice, Vegetarian Bowl, Seared Salmon Bowl, Pork Chop Bowl, and Burnt Chilli Chicken Rice.
The Salted Plum hits the sweet spot for those looking for bar grub, but with an Asian slant both value-for-money and filling. Should be a hit.
The Salted Plum
10 Circular Road Singapore 049336
Tel: +65 6260 0155
Opening Hours: 12pm – 2:30pm, 6pm – 9:30pm (Mon – Sat), Closed Sun