Our favourite midnight quick-fix takes on fine-dining standards.
The humble sandwich has been creeping up the gourmet ranks in Singapore for a while now, from two triangles of sliced white bread bracketing meagre slices of ham and soggy lettuce to ciabatta-encased grilled meat topped with air-flown leaves. Now, with culinary bigwigs concentrating their expertise on its creation, this former quick-fix meal has arguably come into its own, with its own joint – Park Bench Deli – in the central business district.
To be sure, former Lolla chef Tan Huang Ming and Andrei Soen of The Cajun Kings knew they were onto something, after their first experiment in selling a smoked pastrami short-ribs sandwich at the Creatory pop-up last August sold out in just two hours every day.
The meat in their fried chicken sandwich, for instance, is marinated in garlic, rosemary and sage, then sous vide for four hours. The chicken, which comes from local farm Toh Thye San, is further tenderised in buttermilk overnight.
The same exacting standards are applied to the bread and garnishes. The hoagie rolls (sweet dinner rolls) are custom-made by local bakery The Bread Table, then hollowed out so the crisp and fluffy (important for locals who prefer their bread soft) brioches form a tight shell for the fillings. Onions are diced and cooked in beef fat to enhance their flavour, and only unsalted butter is used so the other ingredients won’t be overly seasoned.
Finally a sandwich that doesn’t come apart with every bite? In the words of Tan, “we’re chuffed”.
179 Telok Ayer Street
Meryl Koh, The Peak, September 2015
Photo: Park Bench Deli’s Facebook page