It’s great when you discover a neighbourhood gem. And that’s just what Char is – your friendly local, specialising in roasts like no other. Situated right by Geylang River it makes for a pleasant riverside stroll, which you can strategically end at Guillemard Road and pop into Char for your reward.
In its light industrial setting – what with caged lamps and black ceiling fans – you might be surprised to find that this is no hipster joint, but a place where families gather to eat together. And that can only mean one thing – great food.
There are various classics on the menu, beef hor fun, minced pork and aubergine casserole, yeung chow fried rice… but don’t get distracted. You are here for one reason and one reason alone and that is to sample Char’s famous roasts that fly out the minute it opens its doors at 11:30 every day (except for Mondays when this delightful little eatery has a day off.)
The triple roast dish at $20.50 will give you a chance to sample all three of the signature dishes: the roast duck, roast crispy pork belly and, of course, the char siew that lends the place its name. All three are classics with a twist, with British-born owner Anthony allowing some European herbs into his kitchen – thyme, rosemary subtly underline the crispy pork with savoury undertones.
The duck is roasted every hour to make sure it is always fresh and boy is it worth the wait! It is succulent and tender, its juices running with a hint of star anise (don’t forget to douse your plain rice with these.) And the skin has a pleasing sheen and a crisp bite, as all good meats should do.
The star of the show is undoubtedly the eponymous char siew, which you will see being delivered to almost every table on a slab of wood, smothered in dark, sticky sauce. Yes, it’s on the sweet side but the charred ends contrast the sweetness and lend the dish a wonderful texture and a certain smokiness. No wonder it took them a year to perfect, not to mention the two days it takes to make each batch!
Wash it all down with some British beer, perfect for pairing with the pork, or even the not often found in Singapore, cider, all you are all set. We will most certainly be back!
Char, 393 Guillemard Road, Singapore, 399790, 68427759, www.char.com.sg