There are quite a number of eateries situated in the East, especially near the Kembangan area where Changi Road runs. South Union Park, however, is hidden at the opposite end of where the known eateries of Kembangan are found within the private housing estate.
Decked out with white walls and wood furniture; some with black leather upholstery, South Union Park gives off a rather relaxed vibe that seemed to be a little Scandinavian-inspired with an open kitchen concept tucked at the right side of the bistro. The interior fittings are minimalistic with a good amount of natural lighting shining in, but not seemingly cliche compared to one of a hipster cafe; instead feeling modern, chic and homely at the same time. Serving up mainly western fare, South Union Park serves a couple of pasta dishes and two mains for those who are looking for something more substantial, while there is also an extensive dessert menu for the sweet-tooth. On the drinks menu, they do serve coffee, tea, sodas and a small selection of alcohol, which makes for a good pairing with their menu of sides and snacks.
(Pork Crackling – Complimentary Portion)
While waiting for my order of the Butternut Agnolotti to be served, I was served a complimentary portion of Pork Crackling to snack on. These were immensely addictive, for they were made with Pork Skin and were extremely crisp; almost like a Keropok but lighter and airier with Cajun and salt seasoning sprinkled all over, which lifted its flavour with a little spice. Definitely something that would go well alongside a cider or craft beer to share with a few friends on a chill night out. Bear in mind that since this is a complimentary portion, and hence is smaller than the actual $5 portion that is offered in the menu under the Snacks section.
I am usually one who rarely orders Pasta, and especially more for the case for Agnolotti for they are usually very filling for me. Their Butternut Agnolotti was, however, a delight to have, so much so that I completely enjoyed the dish and found no difficulty at all to finish the entire plate clean. According to what I was told, the Agnolotti here is made in-house. The chef here roasts the Butternut Squash before mashing it into a puree and stuff them into the pasta sheets. The result is an Agnolotti which came in the right thickness; not too thin that it breaks easily, but also not too thick to the extent that it feels too doughy. A single bite, and you would find the Butternut Squash puree eagerly bursting out of the Agnolotti, revealing a roasty sweetness that was pretty intriguing. The Agnolotti went well with the bouncy mushrooms which gave the pasta an earthy flavour to balance things out and the savoury flavours of cheese and garlicky herb crumbs sprinkled over the top. Towards the bottom, the dish felt a little bit on the oily side, but given how awesome it tasted, I would say that this is just a small issue that is not really much of a problem anyway.
Towards the end of the meal, I was presented with the Apple Crumble with compliments from the chef. This is one of the desserts available on their Plated Desserts section of the menu. Unlike other Apple Crumbles out there, this variant is unique for how they have decided to not serve the Apple Crumble as a pie, but more in the form that is closer to a plated dessert. Coming with Vanilla Ice-Cream drizzled with Salted Caramel sauce, Crumbles, Greek Yogurt and an entire stewed apple, this was surprisingly not overwhelmingly sweet for the stewed apple was not cooked in caramel, thus tasting of its own natural sweetness and carried a rather soft texture similar to a poached pear. Greek Yogurt is rarely found in an Apple Crumble, but in this variant it seemed to have worked and integrated well with the entire dish, especially when combined with the crumbles for it seemed to replicate the textures and flavours of Muesli subtly. Vanilla Ice-Cream was speckled with vanilla beans all over and was incredibly aromatic and creamy. Combine all the ingredients into one spoonful, and it does replicate the flavours of a classic Apple Crumble Pie without that unnecessary sugar rush for how balanced it felt.
While the food is all fantastic and left quite a deep impression, coffee just does not seem to be their forte. They do use an espresso machine for brewing coffee, but the Flat White felt a tad watered down somehow and to be really honest, was pretty much inverse from the food in terms of the impression it left on me.
Throughout these couple of months, I have visited quite a number of newly-opened places but there is not quite one that left me such a deep impression in the bistro scene as much as South Union Park does. During the course of the entire meal, I was pretty impressed with how every single dish came; not only they were a hit, but they just had that flavour and quality that strikes on your taste buds and gives that gleam in your eyes, and sure I did leave the place a happy man with a really satiated stomach. Service was more than decent, with attentive staff who seemed to be quite automatic in giving recommendations once you have seated and promptly coming over to check if everything is alright and clearing plates when you are done (though there were just two tables occupied at the time I have visited, you could feel the sincerity behind). Definitely did not regret my decision on heading straight over after school from the west side of the island to the east when I spotted them over on Instagram; this is one place I would do another revisit soon for I am pretty sure that I would develop cravings for their food, and also to try out the other items on the menu such as the Souffle as well!
South Union Park
101 Jalan Kembangan
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/southunionpark