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Monday, April 14, 2014

Azucar Restobar, A Hidden Gem on Beach Road

This marks the second time I've done a food-tasting with OpenRice, and I couldn't pass up on the chance after how much fun I had from the first. Azucar (which means Sugar in spanish), is a quaint casual dining restobar tucked in a corner of the Beach Road stretch. A refurbished two storey shophouse, patrons can choose to dine either indoors or alfresco outdoors. They have a pretty sweet live band during the weekends, and a relatively extensive bar that's just perfect to hit for the happy hour period. 

Step in and be enveloped by its quirky Mediterranean look; an amalgation of cool azure blues and greens accents, pulled together with rustic brick wall and parquet wood floor bases. Basked in warm ambient lighting, one can easily unwind from the hustle-and-bustle and enjoy the good food.

We started off on a light note; an mixed fruit and cracker/nacho fondue of sorts. The long lineup of sauces are actually freshly concocted from scratch, from the spicy to the sweet to the salty. We took a vote and our favourite was this watery, tom-yum tasting one (very top bowl). Choose from crunchy crackers, mixed fruits and nacho with meat paste, and mix it up with the sauce of you choice to have a truly personalized taste. Azucar actually makes all of its own sauces, so you can be assured of the top quality and freshness. I think they also sell the sauces bottled, so you can bring it home if you like. 

Moving on, we were presented 2 types of soup: the Beetroot Carrot and the Pumpkin Orange. Both were bisques, meaning they had a thicker, paste-like consistency. The former had a nice bright pinkish-red hue; carrying a lightly sweet taste of the beetroot. The Pumpkin one was an orange-yellow, but I thought the taste was a bit stronger, distinctive pumpkin taste. Out of the two, I preferred the Beetroot one. 

This came as a surprise to me; if you have been reading my blog you will notice I'm not a fish person. But this Grilled Salmon Fillet was a total exception: The soft pink flesh was cooked to a very soft texture. Light and fluffy, it balanced very well with the herbs and salt toppings; and those fat pesto pasta strips added an extra dimension of taste with its lightly salty moistness.

I'll be honest, this dish was the exact reason why I signed up for this food-tasting session. Plump juicy prawns are intertwined with strands of pasta, peppered with miniscule bits of crushed herbs and choppped garlic. What really sets apart a good Aglio Olio is the oil control of which this one did, where the pasta dish still remains relatively dry and the taste is enhanced by the sweet prawn flesh, and very lightly bitterness of the garlic.

Ok mouth, you can stop watering.

In my trip to France last year, I had had a similar Risotto dish but it disappointed me due to overwhelming fishy stench of the marine ingredients due to poor preparation. So when this Saffron Risotto with Seafood was served up, I was abit skeptical. I love the color of the dish and was glad to note that there was no fishy seafood smell. I did feel that the consistency was abit on the thick side, but the juiciness of mussels and prawns saved it from being too much. It gets abit rich after awhile though...

Be still, my beating heart.

Being enormous beef fans, Ben and I were looking forward to this ever since we laid eyes on the menu. 2 large slabs of steaks grilled to a rich brown was stacked onto of one another, like a mouth-watering leaning tower of Pisa. I thought the Foie Gras would be overkill given the dominant flavour of beef but it actually added an edge to the taste.

Not only foodporn for the eyes, its well-cooked medium-rare state not only preserved the sweetness of the beef but also the absorbed the savoury brown sauce.

Lamb, is a very tricky meat to cook. Like beef, it seeks a certain skill and finesse to not overcook it lest it becomes too tough or too undercooked and retains a gamey smell that overwhelms some. But fear not, Azucar does it well. Perhaps one of the better ones I've had so far, this Oven-baked lamb rack with cheese fritatta is light on the palate with the herb-stewed lamb flavor, balanced with asparagus and sticky melted cheese. 

At this point of time, I had my hand on my belly and hoping that my dress would not pop from its burgeoning size as the grand centerpiece of the food-tasting made its entrance: A large tapas platter made up of crunchy Pork Knuckles, tender Smoked Duck, Meltique Beef and Stuffed Spanish sausages. Even if you aren't a meat person, this would certainly bring out your inner carnivore. I really loved the beef (no surprise), which had a nice red centre and melted in the mouth, as well as the sausages with prunes, where the stuffed fruit gave it an interesting sweet edge to the taste.

Surprise! In side the sausage is stuffed with prunes
We began heralding the end of the session as dessert quickly followed. Azucar has two kinds of creme brulee, choose between the Original taste or their special Pandan flavor ones. I felt that the creme brulee was rather moist for my liking, and could have benefited more cooking time. The crust was thinner than most, but thankfully taste was not compromised. I liked the Pandan ones too; a nostalgic taste for me + being a favorite dessert of mine means it gets my vote! 

Chocolate lovers will be able to satisfy their cravings with the Double Chocolate Brownie; crunchy on the top layer topped off with a generous dollop of vanilla ice-cream and sliced strawberries. The richness of the cocoa fudge is undeniable, on a sweet-bitter note that couples well with the saccharine ice cream.

We ended this epic culinary journey with a rather novel dish: FLAMING PINEAPPLES. I think it was brandy that was drenched over sliced pineapple pieces, and left to simmer in bluish flames. Rather spectacular to watch! When its burns out, the resulting taste is interesting, fruity with a coying hint of the brandy infused. Add a small topping of ice cream if you want a small dose of cool sweetness!

This was the first time I had had so much mouth-watering food I could barely get out of my seat. Mark my words, Azucar is extremely generous with their portions. With an amazing laid-back and quaint ambience and a diverse menu to boot, this is definite a place I'm gonna be back soon! As always, this fun culinary experience can only be made possible by the professional and friendly staff of OpenRice!

Happy, albeit super-stuffed fellow OpenRice campers!

Thank you OpenRice and Azucar for the great evening! I look forward to returning there soon for seconds!

AzĂșcar Restobar is located at 345 Beach Road Singapore 199568. 
Operating Hours: Mon-Wed: 11:30am-11:30pm 
                       Thu-Sat: 11:30-12:30am 
       Closed Sunday
Tel: 62993345  / Facebook:

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