East Coast Park, a place that you can do plenty of things, for example, you can run, cycle, fish, waterski, take a dip in the sea and have a Barbecue to say the least. But, in terms of dining options, most people would only think of the East Coast Lagoon Food Village and the Chinese Seafood restaurants like Jumbo and Long House. Well, a relatively new group of western Bars and Restaurants located mostly around the Parkland Green area are here to give the area a bit of a freshen up. The one I visited, is called Sandbank, whose motto is Eat, Drink, Plunge!
Sandbank definitely gives the vibe of a Sports Bar, TVs everywhere showing Sport games/events and the servers are dressed in Uniform Sports attire, the atmosphere is definitely very causal. They have two entrances, the main one facing the carpark and the other facing the beach.
Now, before we go any further, I have to talk about their Swimming Pool! Yes, facing the beach, they are 2 little Swimming pools for their guests to take a dip in, to chill and relax… How many Restaurants and Bars in Singapore can say they have a pool? But, to be honest, I don’t think this would be a factor for most people when they are looking for a Restaurant to have a meal at. But nevertheless, it is still very cool and worth a mention.
Sandbank’s seating arrangements are quite interesting, for their Bar seatings, instead of individuals seating facing the bar, a high table is placed against the counter, so customers face each other instead of the bartenders, which I really liked. I actually sat at a big high table that can seat 6 (shared the table with a young couple), in-between the bar and the kitchen.
I have always been a big fan of the open kitchen, where you can see the Chefs at work. The Chefs definitely have the work cut out for them, the menu is very big and diverse, from Bar snacks and Burgers to Western, Pasta, Fish and Seafood. They also serve Pizza, but that is made at a separate area with a Pizza Oven, to take some pressure off the kitchen.
For a Sports Bar, they do stock an impressive amount of Alcohol apart from Beer, I did take a look at the drinks list and the selection apart the Bar. Now, I am no Alcohol-expert, but you aren’t in the mood for Beer or Cider, chances are they can put together a famous Cocktail or something you enjoy on the rocks.
Also, I must talk about the owner, unfortunately I didn’t catch his name. He was very hospitable and came around to check on the quality and taste of the food. My father struck up a conversation with him about the Restaurant and Bar in general. After listening to him, I realised that the place is apparently not doing very well, facing a lot of factors like location and both current and future competition, causing the lack of customers and revenue (a lot of customers just come for their Happy Hour Drinks promotion but don’t stay for the food).
Before continuing, I must acknowledge that the photos aren’t very good, the lightning wasn’t the best, as expected in a place like this.
To start the meal, Truffle Fries ($9.00) from the Bar Bites Column were ordered. I must say I was quite impressed, the fries were hot, crispy and plentiful. Also, the flavour and aroma of Truffle Oil was at the right level, not overpowering yet still tasty. No need for condiments like Ketchup or Chili Sauce here!
This is the Arugula Salad ($10.00). Very well-dressed with Balsamic Vinegar and generous with the Walnuts, overall a nice Salad. I also enjoyed the addition of the Tangerine Slices and Cherry Tomato, adding some colour and sweetness.
This is the Clams in White Wine ($15.00). The clams were fresh and well-cooked, soaking up all the light, yet tasty flavour from the White Wine infused broth, a little too much Garlic though. Also, the toppings of Celery seemed a little weird on the plate, it seemed to be both a pairing and topping, well, I didn’t even touch it. I would have preferred some chopped Spring Onions or sprigs of Parsley.
This is the Pulled Pork Pizza ($19.00). The dough used was good, rolled out to a thin crust and it was crispy. The Pulled Pork was tender, but the Barbecue Sauce completely overpowered everything else on the Pizza…
This is the BBQ Baby Back Ribs ($26.00). This dish really impressed me, the Ribs had a great smoky smell and flavour, and the meat fell right off the bone… This was pretty much everything you could ask for in a plate of Ribs, and it could possibly beat Ribs from other places like Tony Roma and Chili’s, which specialises in them…
This is the Seared Sea Bass ($25.00). When I ordered it, the waitress said this was her favourite dish here, so obviously, my expectations rose and expected something good. I wasn’t disappointed, the fish was perfectly cooked and it flaked beautifully, eating this with the Tomato sauce was a real delight. The skin however, didn’t get crisped up properly and got chewy after a while. The sides served include Mashed Potato, which were tasty but a little lumpy. There were also a medley of thinly grilled vegetables, like Eggplant and Zucchini, I didn’t really enjoy them though, soft and soggy.
Now, one of my favourite dishes here, the SB Seafarer ($26.00). This is basically, a seafood stew in a pink sauce, which is a sort of Southern-USA style of food and cooking. It was quite good, the seafood were fresh and well-cooked, the clams and mussels especially, it soaked up the smoky and rich flavour from the sauce. The Restaurant also provides Garlic bread slices to dip into the sauce.
Now, my family usually don’t order Desserts, but the nice owner that we were talking to offered us Desserts on the house, so why not? We got 2 desserts, above is the Apple Crumble Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream. I throughly enjoyed it, the pie was warm and crumbly, not too sweet and the Ice Cream was a great accompaniment with it to cool the pie down. The combination of something hot and cold for a Dessert is rather simple and classic, but when done right, can be delicious!
This is the Caramel Mousse Cake. I didn’t really enjoy this one, both the Mousse and Cake was quite dense, and all I could taste was sweetness, no balance in taste… Quite a pity, maybe the Chocolate sauce drizzled under could be replaced with a citric sauce to counter the sweetness!
In conclusion, I really enjoyed the meal at Sandbank, I would rank it as one of the better meals I have had in a new Restaurant in the first half of 2016. It is a real pity that this place, and East Coast in general, are having problems bringing in the crowd. However, Singaporeans are known to hunt for good food, so with a bit of perseverance (and better PR), I see this place flourishing for years to come!
920 East Coast Parkway
#01-28/32 Parkland Green