63 Boat Quay, 049851
Located in the heart of Boat Quay, sophisticated newcomer The Sampan is a refuge from the area’s many rowdy pubs and partygoers. With a prime location on the Singapore River, this hip, three storey restaurant and bar features unique Pan Asian cuisine from a young, passionate culinary team. We start with a round of bright, flavourful cocktails, including the smoldering Mango Chilli Smash ($17), easy drinking Hibiscus & Vanilla Margarita ($17) and a refreshing White Sangria ($17) They’re accompanied by crunchy, salty and slightly bitter Indonesian-style emping nut crackers. Our sharing appetisers includes Half Shell Japanese Scallops, with laksa leaf pesto ($15) Silken Egg Tofu with peanut sauce ($12) and Pot Sticker Dumplings ($12) The dumplings are the clear winner, with delicate lacey skin and spot on filling. The tangy Crispy Thai Beef Salad ($15) runs a close second.
There are plenty of tasty and affordable salads, noodle and rice dishes, but for mains we can’t go past the fresh Local Seabass, with soya sauce glaze and potato puree ($21), Charred Chicken, with mango sambal and steamed rice cake ($19) and the tender Beef Cheek Rendang, with grilled vegetables ($26)
Dessert, if you have room, is Asian-inspired and light with pandan, palm sugar and mango notes. My pick is the Local Coconut Pudding with coffee tuille and charred bread ice cream ($13) but ask for the off-menu banana ice-cream which tastes like banoffee pie – heaven!
Verdict: A fun atmosphere, good pricing and delicious local flavours make The Sampan a great pick for riverside dining.