Opened by the same folks behind Birds of A Feather and Halcyon & Crane, 51 Soho takes over the former space of now-defunct Rotisserie at Telok Ayer Street, which is a distance away from Telok Ayer MRT Station.
Occupying the previous location of Rotisserie at Telok Ayer Street, 51 Soho carries the same theme that Halcyon & Crane and Birds of a Feather carried; serving up Szechuan-inspired cuisine with Western elements fused into what they have to offer. The decor theme is nothing too unfamiliar for those who are familiar with their branding; plush interiors with comfortable couches, elaborate wooden furnishings and a very well-renovated feel with oriental elements whilst trying to stay modern, chic and luxurious. Serving up different menus across different timings, 51 Soho serves up a protein bowl menu during weekday lunch service, while the weekend brunch menu sees them serving a separate breakfast menu alongside the mains from the dinner menu. The dinner menu also includes items such as the desserts, light bites, as well as skewers. 51 Soho serves a wide variety of beverages on its menu; part of the selection being pretty reminiscent to the selection available at Halcyon & Crane, which included specialty coffee, tea, non-caffeinated drinks, mocktails, and even cheese tea as well (yes, the same cheese foam beverages that was trending a while ago at bubble tea kiosks). Alcoholics would also be glad to know that 51 Soho offers a wide range of alcoholic beverages, including cocktails and wines as well.
(Mape Chilli Mayo Sandwich)
Going for a breakfast item, we went for the Maple Chilli Mayo Chicken Sandwich. Coming in the presentation similar to how club sandwiches would be plated, the sandwiches came in four wedges, with a garden salad accompanied at the side. Taking a bite into the sandwich, the sandwich was lightly crusted, yet fluffy; stuffed in between the two slices of bread would be the pulled chicken breast which is marinated in a maple-infused chili mayo. It is worth noting that the pulled chicken was tender; shredded into strips that still allowed for some bite, yet not too messy to consume. That being said, the filling, though spicy and creamy, did lack the sweetness that the “maple” in its name suggested; probably pretty much overwhelmed by the chili mayonnaise. Digging into the salad by the side, the garden salad was not to our liking; though featuring familiar greens doused in a zippy balsamic, the garden salad also came with a sprinkling of sea salt over the top. Whilst probably added to help enhance the flavours of the greens, the combination felt a little too salty overall.
We also went for one of the items on the dinner menu; opting for the Buffalo Pork, the dish came with elements such as Hot and Tangy Sauce, Saute Brussel Sprouts with Bacon, Onion, Raisin, and Lemon Juice, enhanced with Szechuan peppers. Featuring chunks of pork, the pieces of pork was no doubt juicy and tender; not requiring much effort to chew through, whilst evenly coated with the Hot and Tangy Sauce, which somehow replicated the flavours of Buffalo Wings that is moderately spicy, yet bright and tangy at the same time. The addition of the peppercorns helps to enhance the flavours further, bringing an added spicy kick when bitten on so as to tickle the taste buds. Brussels sprouts were done beautifully here; charred to bring out a hint of smokiness amidst the earthy notes that the vegetable is known for, while the bacon helps to add a hint of saltishness to dish to cut away some of the flavours of the Brussel Sprouts. Raisins also helped add a slight contrast of sweetness to the dish, while leafy greens helped to create crunch. Overall, it interesting to see how 51 Soho had seemingly made use of a rather quirky mix of elements into the Buffalo Pork; a fusion of the popular Western dish of Buffalo Wings into a stir-fried pork dish similar to Sweet & Sour Pork, yet employing the use of other components such as Brussel Sprouts and raisins to pull off the flavours altogether. A pretty interesting take on fusion, though perhaps not something that would hit off completely with everyone’s taste buds.
Not missing out on the specialty coffee here, we went for our usual cuppa. The Flat White was pretty decent, though served a little warmer than our liking. Still; a pretty creamy and smooth cuppa, though a little bit more on the milkier side with a lighter body that carries an earthy flavour profile.
(Long Island Cheese Tea)
Noticing that they do carry a variety of Cheese Tea on the menu, we ended up ordering a Long Island Cheese Tea, considering how we were big lovers of the combination of cheese foam on tea. Whilst being a little bit on the pricey side, with prices being slightly more than double to what some bubble tea kiosks may charge, the Long Island Cheese Tea was a great concoction to have. Here, the cheese foam is well balanced; aptly savoury without being too sweet, yet smooth and creamy, the cheese gels well with the sweet and aromatic tea which hints of grapefruit and other citrusy elements. A very refreshing, yet creamy concoction which we cannot get enough of; very balanced and something which we would most certainly see ourselves ordering again.
When Birds of a Feather first opened, we were really into the sort of cuisine that they were doing; whilst many places are serving up Szechuan cuisine then, Birds of a Feather was unique, and probably the only one that was doing Szechuan-inspired fusion cuisine with so much finesse, in a posh and well-designed environment that is immensely well-detailed, well-poised to be a game-changer to the F&B scene. Fast forward to the opening of Halcyon & Crane, and we could definitely feel differences between the two; Halcyon & Crane felt as though it was the less refined sibling to Birds of a Feather, offering more quirky, crowd-pleaser items that do not necessarily gel well together. 51 Soho does feel like the younger sibling of Halcyon & Crane in many ways; the almost identical selection of beverages, and being the more “mainstream” sibling that is meant to service the Central Business District crowd as an option for lunch, yet also intended to be a chill-out spot for after-work sessions; almost yet another brand under the same umbrella that carries a fair share of hits and misses. The breakfast menu, in particular, felt a tad limited; the prices suggesting that the items are mostly meant for dine-in rather than for takeaway, yet featuring items that generally felt a little uninspiring as compared to their lunch and dinner offerings. The Maple Chilli Mayo Chicken Sandwich also felt pretty run-off-the-mill; no doubt great in execution, but a little lacking of the character of the type of cuisine that they are known to serve. That being said, 51 Soho would probably work well for the expats in the area, considering the slightly pricier menu that is compared with the other establishments within the area, and a spot that one could probably make a visit on the weekend for those looking for a quieter spot in town.
51 Telok Ayer Street
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/51soho/