Nassim Hill's relaxed interior.
SINGAPORE - It is a bakery-cum-bistro built around a particular brand of beer, yet what's gotten the most attention since Nassim Hill opened last month is its Hot Reuben sandwich (S$15). Indeed, this is a remarkably satisfying sandwich stacked with melted Emmenthal cheese, generous slivers of salty corned beef, juicy sauerkraut and a made-from-scratch Russian dressing that tastes like Thousand Island. But it's the bread that's the contentious element.
That's not to say it isn't good bread. In fact, it's better than good. Head baker Audrey Tan (of the popular Freshly Baked along Killiney Road) has created a fabulous wholemeal loaf called the Grimbergen Ambree bread (S$8 per loaf).
As its name implies, the loaves are spiked with Grimbergen Ambree beer, intensely wheat-y ale blessed with smoky, caramel inflections.
While some (like me) find it is too soft to stand up to the luscious filling (as compared to the traditional, drier rye bread), others like that it yields a squishy, sloppy sandwich.
One could, of course, eschew the sandwich altogether and simply buy a loaf to take home. Or order the breadbasket (S$6), which comes with a few slices of the Grimbergen Ambree bread, as well as other varieties that could include a pink-hued cranberry walnut loaf, ciabatta, or walnut raisin bread. These are served with butter and homemade preserves like a lovely fig jam.
That said, the same breadbasket is served with dishes like the braised meatballs (S$22), which also gets a healthy splash of the Grimbergen Ambree in its chasseur sauce. Think of this as a braised stew, the gravy all sticky and sweet with the distinct flavours of veal, pork and beef. The meatballs themselves are larger than golf balls and very succulent.
Nyonya tenderloin curry
So what of the Grimbergen beer? Essentially, it is ale that was once brewed by monks from the Grimbergen abbey in 12th century Belgium. In Singapore, Nassim Hill and its sister bar 1128 (named after the year the abbey was founded) are the only establishments here that serve Grimbergen beer.
Naturally, there are other non-beer attractions that have the crowds packing in the joint since it opened last month. These include a Nyonya beef tenderloin curry (S$20) served with a slightly dry baguette and a tight selection of cakes that includes a really good, home-style Jaffa cake (S$6) - a moist orange pound cake topped with a slightly bitter chocolate frosting.
Where: #01-03 Tanglin Post Office 56 Tanglin Road
Telephone: 6835 1128
Opening hours: Daily 8am-1am, closed on Monday