While waiting for our room at Orchard Hotel to be ready, my husband and I decided to take a walk and search for lunch options in the vicinity. Social Place caught my eye because of its chic restaurant interior and interesting menu items (:
Social Place is known for their pigeon dishes in Hong Kong, where it was founded, and their logo actually has a pigeon in it. However, upon expanding their operations to Singapore (their first outlet in Southeast Asia no less), local legal restrictions around serving pigeons as food resulted in them having to change their logo to a quail. Amazing that they went ahead with it and successfully set up shop here!
- Our order:
- Charcoal custard buns ($8.80++)
- Dim sum platter ($13.80++)
- Seafood crackling rice soup ($24.80++)
- Pig pudding ($6.80++)
- Hong Kong style hot milk tea ($7++ for 2 cups)
- Spent: SGD$72.03
The plain blue wall at the entrance of the restaurant belies the retro-style glitz and glamour inside! I love the soft glows of the warm-toned lights, contemporary choices of furnishing and the overall spaciousness of the place, all of which created an inviting ambience. There was also a sort of semi-open kitchen concept where customers could peek in to watch the chefs whipping up a storm.
One thing that was really unique was the fact that their bowls had images of ants and houseflies on them as part of the design. We weren’t entirely sure what the idea behind it was meant to be (given that it could trigger subconscious hygiene concerns haha) but it was mildly amusing and unconventional indeed.
Now for the food! First up was the seafood crackling rice soup, our unanimous star dish of the day 😀 Its hearty broth had such a depth of flavour, along with prawns and scallop bits that were plump and springy too. I low-key regretted that we had to share this dish because we both wanted more! Up next was the basket of charcoal custard buns – these were light and fluffy without being overly sweet ❤
Then came the dim sum platter, comprising 3 savoury items and 2 sweet ones. Apparently this dish is a chef’s special that changes every week starting from Monday. What we had on our plate that day was a jujube kueh (red date cake), a mini yam bun and individual prawn dumplings in yuzu, truffle and crystal flavours. Everything was awesomely executed and I enjoyed them all except the jujube kueh (despite its light and fragrant taste, it was way too solid and unpleasant to chew). The dumpling skins weren’t clumpy or tough in consistency, a problem that has plagued many of the dumplings we’ve had before. Instead, the skins were easily broken into and had subtle yet very present flavours. Yum (:
For drinks, we both ordered the hot milk tea, which was a bit of a curveball for us as it came totally unsweetened and somewhat diluted. I barely touched mine, not because it was bad (the tea was pretty fragrant), but probably more because I wasn’t used to this style of milk tea.
On to dessert! It was a pity that this pig pudding didn’t measure up to the main dishes, even turning out to be the most uneventful dish on our table. A smooth but terribly bland pudding, I’m surprised the chefs chose to flavour it solely with what tasted like watered down coconut milk.
In terms of service, the staff here were very pleasant and genuine in their interactions with us. However, they weren’t necessarily well-versed in what they were serving customers. As there was no information on the menu about the dim sum platter, we asked a staff for more details regarding what we just ate. She redirected us to another staff as she had no idea. The second staff tried explaining what they were but when I asked more in-depth questions about the flavours and ingredients, she started repeating the same information.
Eventually, she invited the manager over to address my queries. He was really approachable and we had a nice chat with him. He also shared some intriguing tidbits about the restaurant, its history and the brand’s foray into the Singapore market. Alas, he was also the one who recommended the (not-so-great) pig pudding to round up our meal, eeps.
My overall rating of the experience: 4 out of 5 stars. I was vibing with the eclectic, modern interior of the restaurant and although it appeared crowded, it sure didn’t sound or feel like it was crowded. Most of the dishes we had were delicious and enjoyable, plus the prices were fairly reasonable for a restaurant in town. Staff were helpful and welcoming too, but unfortunately, they didn’t know enough about what they were serving. I wondered how they were going to recommend dishes to customers if asked? Granted, they may not need to know every little detail of every dish (like the impressive staff at Dolce Vita do), but I feel they should at least know the basic ingredients that go into them. Nevertheless, this is definitely a place I’d visit again to try the other items on the menu (and get my own portion of seafood crackling rice soup this time)!