SUR Nuevo Latino Kitchen : Round I

There was a time when French cuisine seems to be the hallmark of quality  western food in Singapore. But with the entrance of Spanish and the recent South American food, it is no wonder that the local news has marked 2013 as the year of Latin food.

Sur Nuevo is a homely Latin American kitchen opened by ex-MBS pastry chef, Alejandro Luna and and his close friend, Vitelio Reyes. "SUR Nuevo Latino" which means South New Latin, suggests that diners will be greeted with tantalising dishes inspired by Peru and Venezuela, the hometown of the chefs.

I having been plotting a visit after hearing very good reviews about it. And indeed, the entire meal was excellent, perhaps would be one of the best places I've dined in and written about so far. I've always associated Latin American cuisine with street grub food but this place totally transformed and elevated my dining experience.

 Of course, not every journey begins on a smooth note.  We thought we would fall in love with their highly popular Ceviche ( raw seafood marinated in citrus-mixture) but unfortunately not. The concentrated chilled lime, hot pepper juice and shaved red onions could not eliminate the fishiness of the raw fish chunks.  The sweet potatoes were  a temporary comfort but they were not as soft as we preferred.

Torte de Maiz ($17)--twice baked corn soufflé with mushroom ragout, was the shortest soufflé I've ever had but with the texture was soft and moist. As a starter, the portion is small. Each component was either very sweet or very salty, especially the crumble of rare Peruvian cheese Queso Fresco.  But they were a perfect match when eaten together.

The Arepitas, were a Colombian street food consisting of deep-fried plump cornmeal patties stuffed with filling. But the downside is the mini palm-sized portion for $8 each. Better to come during lunch if you like regular size.

The version of Avocado and chicken coated in a light and creamy mayonaise was quite plain whereas the Queso blanco was simply dominated by the savoury cheese. It became tastier when we mixing both types of arepitas together.

The spicy pork sausages in this Chorizo Carupanero ($18) were not spicy at all as kids who can't take a single tinge of spice chomped through the pot of sticky rice thrown in with bell peppers and white cheese.

Pisco Sour Cocktail ($15) : Boozy and Sweet
I believed we underestimated our appetite that day as we had not even reached our main courses. The Pescado Frito ($26) made a spectacular appearance with a whole fish encased in a crispy golden brown skin served with fried plaintains (not potato wedges) and refreshing coleslaw. 

Looks dry and lifeless? Wait till you dig your fork into the tender and fresh meat. This was the first dish that everyone concurred that it was excellent, and perhaps better than the Thai-style fried Garoupa. The specially concocted hot pepper cream sauce (warned by the chef to be extremely spicy) was not intense so we had to compromise with the next best option-Tabasco sauce.

Our 2nd main course-Pollo ala Brassa ($28) was one of the best grilled chicken which we came across in Singapore. The succulent meat beneath the lightly salted and peppery chicken skin complemented the bed of sweet corn purée. Nearly mistaken the green Mojo de Ajo sauce to be wasabi but its garlicky and limey taste never fail to awake our palates.

After so much food, we are still far from the end. For the savoury dishes, the main courses were so satisfying that I recommend skipping the first few appetizers and go straight for them. The climax was the DESSERTS! Not because I am a dessert fan but those here are really SUPERB. So allow me to pause a little while to digest....

Now are you ready for the desserts? Click here to continue.