51 Soho sounds like the latest ultra-luxe, contemporary super-condominium up on the block now. But it’s something a little more pocket-friendly. It is the latest all-day dining establishment in Telok Ayer by the same people behind the nearby Sichuan-inspired restaurant Birds of A Feather.
Diners here can expect the same level of detail to service, atmosphere and food. So ‘all-day dining’ isn’t just a one-menu-fits-all situation.
51 Soho offers dedicated breakfast, lunch and dinner menus that fit nicely with varying appetites for the rest of the day. If you’re not wary, you might just have spent your entire day here.
Serving urban-chic vibes
51 Soho sure has a way to make diners feel like they’re in a whole different part of the CBD. We head down in the evening and appreciate the chic-posh social club vibes inspired by the namesake trendy hotspot of Soho, Manhattan. It takes on a sleek front of black wood and brass accents followed by a collage of trellises, perhaps paying homage to the famous cast-iron facades of SoHo’s buildings. Alfresco-wise it goes for plush armchairs and low tables, a comfy consolation to those who are made to dine amongst a crowd of inquisitive passers-by. A huge open window connects the outside to the inner dining room, a space showered by warm ambient lights and a sparkling view of the bar. Custom-made pendant lights add a right touch of minimalist elegance over the concierge table.
A different menu for every part of the day
While the nearby Birds of a Feather is a fiery Sichuan haven, 51 Soho’s menu offers a more subdued jolt of numbing heat. Instead, the cuisine is largely European-driven, with just a dash of Sichuan spice and a good ladle of Asian flavours in the mix. The cuisine continues to evolve from day to night with breakfast platters, lunch bowls and a more extensive dinner selection of dishes.
What’s for breakfast?
51 Soho’s menu is a small one that is still big on flavours. The Maple Chilli Mayo Chicken Sandwich and the Big Breakfast Platter with hash browns and sunny-side-ups are more indulgent ways to start the day with. Lighter, more familiar dishes such as breakfast oats served with fruits or a simple toasted bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon are available too. The CBD crowd can also get their caffeine fix here. 51 Soho has some interesting coffees on the list, such as a refreshing coffee and tonic water mix, or a latte with red bean paste.
A more indulgent grain bowl
When it comes to lunch, 51 Soho doubles down on grain bowls, the white collar’s solution to a healthful and gourmet lunch on the go. Lunch-goers are offered a range of proteins from the leaner pan-seared chicken breasts and salmon to more filling picks like Wagyu shoulder tenders and half lobsters. Pretty much all the other elements are taken care of. Each protein gets a bit of everything: baby carrots glazed in a spicy orange sauce, sweet potatoes with a maple miso butter or a side of Greek salad. Diners get the option to add more sides or go for a topping of croutons and nuts.
A gastronomic experience for dinner
There’s a lot of care taken to add in bits of culinary creativity throughout the day. But it is during dinner when 51 Soho’s kitchen unleashes its full potential with a wilder approach. 51 Soho’s dinner menu still has a quiet refinement in its presentation but that’s overwhelmed by a burst of bold flavours and a slew of unexpected ingredients.
Put a skewer in it
Apart from the usual small bites of appetisers or bar snacks, 51 Soho goes for a more communal style offering of skewers. It recalls Japanese sumiyaki but is really inspired by skewers served in traditional Sichuan restaurants to be accompanied with drinks. The skewers here offer a more modern touch, of course. There’s beef, pork belly, chicken and gizzard seasoned overnight in a spicy marinade of Sichuan pepper and spices. The Padron pepper with halloumi cheese is a more interesting, spicier option to try. All the skewers are served on a small charcoal grill, but the cooking’s all done in the kitchen. It takes some joy out of the presentation, but at least diners can dig into bites of meat without smelling like haze season in June.
Green and Nutty
Salads may not be the usual go-to for mains, but the Green and Nutty is a must-try. The ‘green’ is a kaleidoscope of broccoli florets, romanesco buds and broccolini, quickly blanched to keep their crispness. The dressing, however, is the winner of the dish, prepared with green herbs, broccoli, and lemon juice. The charred spring onion pesto, made with olive oil and peppercorn oil, adds in a savoury touch.
Spice de Canard
51 Soho’s take on a duck confit is one of the spiciest dishes on the list. Duck leg is braised in a stock of pickled ginger, chilli and sour vegetables, which is reduced to a finishing sauce for the dish. There’s a refreshing salad of compressed watermelon cubes, olives and puffed sorghum (the main ingredient in Chinese liquours) with mint yoghurt dressing on the side to cool off a bit with.
Our Spicy Pasta
It’s not the most creative of names on the menu, but take this as a good literal warning. The spaghetti is mixed in a housemade sauce made up of Sichuan’s cuisine famous hot sauces: Lao Gan Ma, Liu Po and dou ban jiang. Served on the side is a medley of sauteed crab and tiger prawns which is just as fiery as the pasta, prepared in Tabasco sauce with strings of coriander and celery.
Go big or go home
The restaurant’s bar has a list of intriguing cocktails. But if you’re with a big group of friends, convince everyone to go for the large-format communal drinks. These cocktails are made in batches for a group of nine or 12 people, but are served individually in dainty porcelain cups — a nod to Chengdu’s famous tea-drinking culture. Start with the Prosperity Cup, a fruity concoction of fermented rice wine, barely juice and white chocolate liquor to more spirit forward and herbaceous Dancing in the Moonlight made with bamboo wine and boiled snow fungus.
Monday to Friday
8:00am – 11am, 11.30am – 2.30pm, 5:30pm – 10:00pm
Saturday and Sunday
10:00am – 2.30pm, 5:30pm – 10:00pm
$50++ per person