Review: Big Regional Flavours in a Modern Menu at Suntec's Route 65

Review: Big Regional Flavours in a Modern Menu at Suntec's Route 65

The food at downtown Singapore’s Route 65 is delicious regional fare turned up a notch, but it never strays too far from familiar favourites

The food at downtown Singapore’s Route 65 is delicious regional fare turned up a notch, with punchy, heavy flavours and swirls of creativity - but it never strays too far from familiar favourites.

Cheesy Lobster Carrot Cake ($20). Photo: Route 65

One standout dish is the cheesy, melty, umami-packed Cheesy Lobster Carrot Cake ($20), which is served on a hotplate. You’ll bite into juicy lobster chunks that’s fried snugly into a pizza-like carrot cake. But what pulls this popular Singapore hawker order together really is the ribbons of egg and stringy cheese. The cheese in particular, adds a blend of creaminess in what would otherwise be a simple carrot cake. There’s sambal too, and that dip goes quite hot.

Superstar Beef Rendang ($25). Photo: Route 65

But that’s not all. Another great one is the Superstar Beef Rendang ($25). Now that bowl is filled with short ribs, braised for 24 hours in sweet, rendang, saucy gravy that’s incredibly moreish and soaks through. The meat itself is a pull-apart, flake-off-bone tender. A real superstar. You'd want to share it though, as the whole thing is deeply rich and flavourful, so a little can go a long way. It’s very much like Indonesia’s rendang, which we know so well as a spicy meat, gravy-heavy dish. On the side are vinegary, pickled sliced vegetables that cuts and balances the strong flavours. Of course, you would want to get a bowl of rice on the side- they only offer Japanese rice ($2).

Hot Sauce Drummers ($8). Photo: Route 65

Next up was a side of Hot Sauce Drummers ($8), or chicken drumlets with a glossy glaze of sweet chilli. Quite an addictive treat which the whole table enjoyed, except for those who could not tolerate a fair amount of heat. It’s actually much hotter than it looks.

At this point, you’d probably want some thirst-quenchers. And well, they have a pretty exciting menu that’s gin-heavy. We tried a selection of Boba Cocktails ($15), read, alcoholic bubble tea, that lists cute names like It’s Complicated (gin and jasmine tea-heavy with lychee boba), Girl Next Door (gin and passionfruit boba tea), The Oppa, a yakult-soju based drink with yoghurt boba, and more. For the most part, they went down light and drinkable with our table. If you prefer a stronger alcoholic lick, you might instead look at the selection of Asian Spirits of sake and umeshu, or a whopping range of 24 different types of whiskeys. Non-alcoholic beverages, coffee and tea, are also available.

St Louis Grilled Pork Ribs ($34). Photo: Route 65

In between drinks, pick at the St Louis Grilled Pork Ribs ($34) that's slow-cooked and buttered with Balinese-style barbeque sauce. Our table could not stop helping themselves with this order. It's another melt-in-your mouth meat, with strong flavours of complex sweet, smoky traces. The dark dip on the side comes with a hint of heat and gives the dish a sharp spiced edge, like the zing of chilli in chicken rice. You must share though, for the serving might be too much for one person. Either that, or order the half rack ($18). 

Crème Brulee with Gula Melaka and Coconut Ice Cream ($10). Photo: Route 65

Dessert options are few (three to choose from), and like the rest of the meal, they’re made with punchy and familiar local flavours. The Crème Brulee with Gula Melaka and Coconut Ice Cream ($10) is a safe-bet, but no less divine, with a crackle of chopped almonds on the side. And, huge, so you could order one to share between two to four of you.  Something more interesting would probably be the Dipping Donuts ($8), mini donuts served with three dips of bandung (a popular rose-flavoured pink dirnk), kaya and peanut. Unfortunately we did not get to try that on that day.

Not captured in this picture are the conversation-friendly couch-like seating area that lines the back of the restaurant. Photo: Route 65

As for the atmosphere, this bar-restaurant caters to both crowds, those that want mealtime conversations can choose to sit at comfortable couch-like seating tables placed further from the live band. Regular tables occupy most of the restaurant, with high tables just in front of the band. There’s ample space for everyone though, and this is the kind of place you can take your time at.

Prices:

  • Mains- average price $16;
  • Sharing- $20 - $128;
  • Sides, Starters, Bar Bites- $2 - $16

See website here for latest opening hours, menu here

Address: 3 Temasek Boulevard #01-434 North Wing, 038983

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