Lobsters. 4 ways. $58. And drinks. Pince & Pints is keeping it simple.
Pince & Pints is the first restaurant in Singapore brave enough to venture into the single dish menu territory. Those well travelled would immediately be reminded of London’s Burgers & Lobsters, but even they provide a burger alternative. How will Singaporean take to this novel concept?
In fact, very well. The restaurant has seen such overwhelming demand since it’s opening that by 5pm, the place is already packed and heaving. Come at normal dinner hours and be prepared to wait at least 2-3 hours. And they don’t take reservations, so come early if you want to snag a table.
Lets talk about the Lobsters.
The owners of Pince & Pints (one of them Frederick Yap, co-owner of highly successful blogshop Love, Bonito) source their lobsters directly from their own suppliers in Boston, Maine and Canada, which are shipped into Singapore twice a week. The lobsters are then stored in a holding facility in a Chai Chee warehouse in chilled tanks with ample space to keep them happy and healthy, until doomsday when they are trucked to the restaurant. On average 180 of them are served up to happy diners, each weighing 600-700g (as compared to the 500g average) and yielding 160-180g of meat.
4 ways – have it grilled, steamed, in a roll or in a claypot of local ‘Chilli Crab’ sauce.
Whole Lobster (grilled or steamed) served with mesclun salad with balsamic dressing, shoestring fries and herbed butter sauce – A feast for the eyes, and your tastebuds too; the lobster is cooked simply, with great care taken not to dress it up too much with anything that takes away the focus from the taste of the meat. Have it grilled – each bite is laced with smokiness and char yet retaining its sweetness and suppleness.
Lobster Roll, also with salad and fries and a garlic aioli – The lobster roll is equally good. The meat of a whole lobster, chopped up and seasoned lighted with mayonnaise, salt and pepper, served chilled on a roll. Touch of creamy without overwhelming, this is sheer loveliness. Lobster roll fans know a good lobster roll needs to be made with the right rolls. And they’ve got it here at Pince & Pints – their rolls are split-top, flat (not round), soft and buttery. And in support of local businesses, they are sourced from a bakery in Chinatown. Slathered in butter and toasted, the decadence is worth the calories.
Chilli Lobster with fried mantou – Their take on the lobster version of the Singaporean favorite disappoints somewhat. The sauce is slightly goopy, too sweet and lacks punch. Singaporeans would probably also appreciate the spiciness level upped. On the other hand, the accompanying baby-sized mantou is great. Fluffy, crispy and delicious.
All 3 dishes are priced at $48. Pince & Pints promises the best value for lobsters, made possible through its ability to source, ship and store them in bulk, and thereby offering customers more pincer for the price. And people know value when they see it, judging from the response the restaurant has been getting!
Whilst their food menu is limited to 3, their drinks are thankfully not. Along with a range of beers and wines, the bar also offers up a notable line-up of 14 classic cocktails like the Bee’s Knees $14. Uncomplicated yet with loving thought put into it. The syrups are homemade and juices freshly pressed. The waiter-recommended 500 Days of Summer $18 (Gin, Fresh Lemon & Lime, Homemade Melon Soda, Mint) was a refreshing delight.
Just in case it isn’t yet clear, Pince & Pints only serves lobsters. So if you’re looking for something else, this ain’t your place. But if lobsters are what you’re after, you’ve hit gold. Will this lobster-only concept sustain the interest of fickle diners here? Frederick believes it isn’t the concept that brings people back, but the quality and value of the food. Then again, this is crustacean-crazy Singapore we’re talking about; we’ll never get bored of these critters. Go for cake next door if you must.