Some time back I had received an email invite from this local steakhouse called Stirling whom had cordially invited me to do a tasting with them. Wanting to visit them as a regular paying customer though, I had finally paid them a visit a few months after as there were quite a few new openings that I was as keen to check out too.
Stirling apparently is named as such as the owner of the steakhouse used to live around the Stirling estate in Queenstown. Claimed to be Bukit Timah’s very first restro-bar concept, expect a menu featuring grilled meats, Western-inspired dishes and light bites to go along with alcoholic drinks. If you are one who are not into alcohol, there are always options such as coffee and tea available. During the day of our visit, the Two’s Company Swansong Performance was also on at the front porch at the al-fresco area, which gave the restro-bar a lively vibe with songs being played and sung by patrons and some even broke into a dance as well.
(Crispy King Salmon)
Skipping the appetisers (the legendary $2 sliders were unavailable somehow), we went straight for the mains. Its been quite a while since I last ordered a fish dish, so I went with the Crispy King Salmon. This dish came with dill cream and fork-pressed potato sitting beneath the grilled Salmon which is topped off with caviar. The fork-pressed potato was crisp, soft yet mushy, much like a rosti that was stabbed a few times to create this fluffy texture akin to mash potato, and the dill cream was thick and creamy, spiked with bits of seaweed tidbits for yet another dimension of savoury flavour. The Salmon skin was well-seasoned; crisp and salted, while the caviar adds a popping sensation in the mouth, and the meat was really a melt-in-the-mouth wonder; it’s pinkish meat was thoroughly cooked, feeling as though it was like cooked smoked salmon and was really fresh. The first dish to arrive on the table after an hour of wait, this not only was pretty mind-blowing, but got the rest excited for their orders as well.
(Pan-Fried Sea Bass)
Just think of the Pan-Fried Sea Bass as the Crispy King Salmon’s simpler cousin; this one comes with sauteed mushrooms and fried potato cake with a salad at the side. Sea-bass was flaky, and you could taste the herbs on its crisp skin, but the fish itself tasted rather clean without much seasoning to distract it’s original flavour. Fried Potato Cake was crisp and well-filled, as it was fluffy inside though felt a bit flat on flavour, but the sauteed mushrooms won the day for its strong earthiness which went doubly well with the balsamic dressing that came with the salad.
(Sirloin Steak Burger)
My dining partner was intrigued when he saw that they actually use Sirloin Steak for their burger and got himself the Sirloin Steak in medium-well. While the beef itself was pretty huge, juicy and cooked to his specifications, the cheese, Jack Daniel’s infused mushrooms and tomatoes seemed to have added so many flavours down to the burger that despite having no trace of gamey flavour in the meat, it just felt like the limelight was just stolen away from the meat. I did like how the burger bun was crisp from the grilling and how the bottom bun was not soaking wet, as were the Cajun fries that were crisp and fluffy but if you would like to have a taste on the full flavour on the meat then the following dish would be a better option.
(Side Sirloin Steak)
Side Sirloin Steak may have looked pretty small on the plate, but we reckoned that it seemed pretty much the same size as the salmon and my dining partner was actually full from having it. He ordered for a medium well though it seemed a wee bit overdone as although its still pinkish inside, it felt a bit stiff. Here, you can taste that marination to the chunky meat that is tenderly char-grilled; something that you would yearn for more. The addition of those greens seemed to make it more balanced somehow too.
(Classic Crepes – Lemon Zest)
For a dessert we went for their Classic Crepes, which come in an option of Lemon Zest or Nutella. We chose the former and it proved to be better; under the thin sheets of crisp and springy crepes were a sweet yet tart lemon zest that quite refreshes the appetite after a heavy meal of grilled meats. The only fault went to the ice-cream, which felt pretty store-bought and extremely hideous with a very icy texture that just did not show any mercy to the wonderful crepe beneath it.
With the massive amounts of cafes and new eateries now opened in the Bukit Timah area Stirling is pretty unique a concept to the neighbourhood full of cafes and high-end restaurants serving European fare. Its menu as a steakhouse is pretty affordable, and being a restro-bar it has some vibes of a nice chill-out right after a meal, making it an all-in-one stopover along the stretch. Service was fine, but food seems to take quite a long while to get served, with waits for over an hour which could be pretty unbearable. Menu availability could also have been better; quite surprised how they could run out of the Chicken dish that day too. Otherwise, Stirling is a pretty great spot to drop by for dinner and drinks thereafter.
15 Cheong Chin Nam Road