About Pince and Pints
Pictures of immensely photogenic lobsters and claws have been flooding my Instagram feed since a couple of weeks ago. First it was seeing pictures of popular bloggers @songofstyle and @songdani at the restaurant when they were here in Singapore.
Then it was my own friends who made their way down during the new lobster joint's soft opening, and of course photos of their food made me even more excited to try it for myself.
VIL - Very Important Lobsters
Some would know Pince and Pints as the newest business venture of owner Frederick Yap. But few would know his understated role in co-founding Love, Bonito - the most successful blogshop in Singapore. Frederick worked hard behind the scenes, helping put the business in place while his wife Velda and their co-founders Viola and Rachel fronted the store.
He utilised his talent of putting things together yet again, to create a restaurant dedicated to serving the finest lobsters at affordable prices. Before I get to describing how good the lobsters were, allow me to tell you the amount of effort and TLC that went into making them the delicacies they are.
Lobsters are flown into town from USA and Canada twice every week, on Tuesdays and Fridays and kept straightaway in tanks. Not the cloudy glass tanks you see in Chinese restaurants, which little children bang on furiously, but specially equipped ones because these babies have to be kept ‘stress-free’. For example, they have to be kept at temperatures between five to seven degrees Celsius and the water needs to be heavily salted.
This logistical concern is only one of the many owner Frederick Yap deals with. He transports newly arrived lobsters to a factory where up to 700 of them can be stored. Tanks in the restaurant can accommodate up to 200 at any point.
The Menu at Pince and Pints
At Pince and Pints there are only three lobster dishes to choose from, all priced at $48. This lack of variety also means that even though lobsters are handled the moment you place your order - and the waiting time is about 10 minutes - customers don’t have to wait a long time for their food.
The kitchen staff are highly trained and efficient in what they do. I’d never seen a waitress clean a messy table full of shells and gravy so quickly and so deftly.
1. Live Whole Lobster
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Your order of a live whole lobster comes either grilled or steamed with a mesclun salad with sour cherry and balsamic dressing, shoestring fries, and herbed butter sauce on the side.
These babies all weigh about 600 - 650g each, heavyweights compared to what we’d normally get at other restaurants (those weigh ~450g). We had the grilled live whole lobster and I must say I was pretty intimidated when it was put on our table.
My thought process went something like this:
"Will I be able to finish this?! I want to of course, but this entire plate, with the plump, cut open lobster staring back at me is making me feel slightly abashed. Okay maybe I should start with the greens, that might make me feel better when I eventually poke my fork into that juicy, slightly browned lobster meat still looking at me, willing me to devour it."
When my monologue was finally over I sank my teeth into that succulent lobster meat. Fresh, sweet, glorious lobster. They weren't toying with you when they boasted about the size of their crustaceans.
2. Lobster Roll
I had gone to Pince and Pints expecting great things. But this hit everything else out of the park - or lobster tank, whichever. The Lobster Roll is comprised of an entire lobster all chopped up, served with Japanese mayonnaise and topped with chives.
Let this dish - and the next - expel all the elephants in the room. Frederick’s new joint reminds many of the popular Burger and Lobster in London, England, right down to how the dish is served. What these people are unaware of, is that both joints source their lobsters from a common supplier and they share the same mindset when it comes to providing quality, premium lobsters to the masses.
The bun is a delicious little slice of local pastry heaven. Sourced from traditional bakeries here in Singapore and then pan-fried in the restaurant, the bun was served warm and crisp. I have sworn off evil, refined carbohydrates for a long time, but white bread has never tasted this good.
I couldn't find a single thing in this dish that was short of exceptional. The garlic aioli sauce will be contending for your attention throughout the course of your meal. You'll think nothing of it at first, treating it like a normal dip. Until you start to realise that you're caught in between, unable to decide which is harder to quit, the bun so richly stuffed with sweet lobster meat or fries drenched in garlicky goodness.
3. Chilli Lobster with Mantou
It really doesn't get any more local than this right? Trust Frederick to put such an unexpected, yet perfectly logical spin on lobsters. We were won over just by looking at it, thinking it's so pretty, do I really have to ruin this marvelous sight before me by eating it?
Hence I started with the mantous. Your order comes with six mantous on the side, but if you crave for more, you can order an additional plate of five mantous for $3.50. You can't go wrong deep frying mantous, so that didn't blow me away, but I was pleasantly satisfied that it was as I had expected - tiny buttery buns with a crisp exterior.
It was exactly how my favourite chilli crab dish would taste, except with this I no longer have to use the cracker so tediously and desperately to savour the meat. It was the ultimate moment of gratification - stabbing into a slab of lobster meat and then swishing it around in thick tomato gravy.
The idea is that while you wait for your lobster to be ready - since they kill it when you order - you have just about enough time to hover around the bar and grab a drink. The fruit juices present in the cocktails are cold pressed in-house and there is an modest selection of old, classic cocktails and cocktails with a modern twist.
We tried the Bee's Knees (classic cocktail - $14), where the manuka honey made the cocktail extremely smooth and easy to enjoy, and 500 Days of Summer (modern cocktail - $18), with the sweet homemade melon soda stealing all the thunder. I highly recommend these if you're looking to complement your lobster feast with a tinge of liquor.
This place does not take reservations, and given its extreme popularity right now, I'd advise you to go as soon as it opens at 5pm. If your schedule is less forgiving, be prepared to wait in line for up to two hours. It will be so worth it though.
Pince and Pints is located at 33 Duxton Road, and operates between 5 to 11pm on Mondays to Saturdays. Visit their website here.
This post was made possible thanks to Pince and Pints.