TELOK AYER: Adopting the current trend of low-key exterior branding, Amoy Street newcomer Sugarhall is admittedly a little hard to spot from outside. But it’s worth the hunt – word has it that the concept for this restaurant came about earlier this year when the good people of Jigger & Pony (just next door) got together over a few rum punch bowls and some hearty grilled steaks. And that’s the name of the game at Sugarhall: an upbeat rum and grill house boasting more than 60 rums from around the world that service more than 50 per cent of the cocktails on offer.
We visited on a Saturday night when, according to our charming bartender, the place had been open for a mere month. That didn’t stop it from being already bustling by 7 pm, with cocktail enthusiasts lining the bar and the restaurant already more than half-full.
We started with a spot of adventurous sampling from the extensive and varied cocktail menu. The boys behind the bar handled their drinks with as much care as a top chef does his cuisine – and even old favourites had a signature twist to them.
Their Dark & Stormy is the best I’ve had, made with ginger syrup instead of ginger beer and topped with crystallised ginger – the flavours were vibrant.
Eventually came time to check out the menu, filled with charcoal-grilled fare accompanied with fresh, quality homemade ingredients. We were grateful for our reservation as after a few drinks the smell wafting from the open kitchen was beckoning, and by the time we were ready to eat the restaurant was completely full.
We started with the tiger prawns, simply grilled and with a nice bite, thanks to Szechuan pepper edged off with herb butter and lime. The broken pork sausage, on the other hand, was a little dry for my liking so I opted to stick with the grilled cabbage on its side.
For mains, one in our party ordered the rib-eye steak, and described it as a solid piece of meat cooked to absolute perfection.
Friends had highly recommended the whole spring chicken, and it was quite possibly the crispiest skin I had ever tasted, though perfectly moist on the inside. But as someone not keen on food looking like it was scratching around a yard a few hours ago, I was a little taken aback by the presentation of this dish – head and feet intact, lying prostrate on the serving platter!
I opted instead for the cod special, served straight off the grill with simple accompaniments of chive butter and raspberry dip – simply delicious.
As a self-proclaimed veggie lover, the ‘from the garden’ menu particularly caught my eye, and the three dishes that we shared were all delectable. Next time I plan to return with a party of eight, so I can justify sampling all nine on offer!
We rounded off the meal with the tiramisu, classic-style with mascarpone, Kahlua and a big enough bowl for two.
By the end of the meal, the music had been cranked up a notch or two and we headed back to the bar to see if we could out order the barmen on concoctions or ingredients. No chance! These guys know how to mix, and have all the goods to do it with.
All in all a great night: not cheap, but good value for money.
102 Amoy Street
Tel 9732 5607