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Pince & Pints | 4/5

SINGAPORE — In a city where new restaurants and cafes sprout at a rate of two to four a week, a venue that draws a real buzz in its first week of opening is rare indeed.

SINGAPORE — In a city where new restaurants and cafes sprout at a rate of two to four a week, a venue that draws a real buzz in its first week of opening is rare indeed.

On the second day of operations at the new Pince & Pints Restaurant & Bar along Duxton Road, a queue could be seen snaking outside its convivial premises, eager for a taste of what’s already widely regarded as Singapore’s answer to London’s popular Burger And Lobster chain.

Owner Frederick Yap has smartly placed just three items on the menu: Whole lobsters served steamed or grilled, a New England-style lobster roll, and the Singapore-style chilli lobster served with fried mantou. Each dish uses a whole lobster of about 600 grams and costs S$48.

With such lean pickings, one expects the kitchen to make each dish impeccably well — and, thankfully, they don’t disappoint.

As the tables are set quite close to one another, we overheard plenty of praise for the lobster roll, with its sweet, lemony meat laced with just enough mayonnaise and tucked between an outstanding butter-drenched bun made by an old bakery in Chinatown.

While the lobster roll was spectacular, restaurant manager Ben Tan recommended that we order the lobster steamed, so as to really taste the quality of Pince & Pints’ star shellfish. Certainly, when it comes to cooking lobsters, the kitchen doesn’t miss a step. In every rendition, the meat was perfectly cooked so that it lifted easily from the shell and buckled readily to each sweet bite.

Our steamed lobster came with a side of mesclun salad in a sour cherry and balsamic dressing, a voluptuous herbed butter sauce, and the only lapse in an otherwise faultless meal — shoestring fries that had been left standing out long enough to turn them into something akin to cardboard.

The chilli lobster was also remarkable, served in a large clay pot and with more than enough sauce — vibrantly nuanced with ginger, lemongrass and garlic, and not a note too spicy — to mop up with the accompanying fried mantou.

Most of the service staff here look like they’re still in school but they bring to the dining experience a surprising fresh energy and eagerness that is sorely lacking in our island’s dour service environment. Add to that a bar menu of 14 cocktails, a couple of craft beers, and red and white wines, and it’s easy to see why the buzz that surrounds Pince & Pints is unlikely to peter out anytime soon. ANNETTE TAN

Pince & Pints Restaurant & Bar

Where: 32/33 Duxton Road

Telephone: 6225 7558

Opening hours: Daily 5pm to 11pm, closed on Sunday

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