SINGAPORE (THE NEW PAPER) - I am suspicious of restaurants that use price as a gimmick.
Usually, it means that something is compromised. Often, it is quality.
Five-Ten is a modern Taiwanese restaurant with a small menu of street food. Everything, including drinks, is either $5 or $10. The pricing is gimmicky, but the kitchen has pedigree.
Chef Shawn Koh, previously from Pizzeria Mozza and Salted & Hung, has always thrilled and it is no exception here.
For sure, the price is a draw. But my dining companion made a good point - $10 for a steak is a good deal, but $5 for a small portion of Fried Smashed Potatoes is not.
Keep that in mind and order carefully (although a lot of the dishes will be tasty) and your meal should be good and cheap.
The Lu Rou ($10), or braised pork belly, cannot be missed. It is not so much the aromatic, sexy housemade dark soya sauce but the tender, almost melt-in-your-mouth pork belly.
The combination of meat and sauce is divine. Plus, Five-Ten offers free rice. Take advantage of this and use the rice to soak up every bit of the dish.
If you are used to the bright red version, the House Made Taiwanese Sausage ($10) will look anaemic. The taste is vaguely familiar but more refined and delicate than the usual, with a strong hint of five-spice. The accompanying pickled vegetable is delicious too.
The Braised Pig Intestines ($10) will remind you of kway chap. Is that good or bad? It depends on how much you like kway chap.
For me, it is good braised intestines, but perhaps not worth paying $10 for.
For value and visual impact, the Steak ($10) is unbeatable. It is simply prepared, but the effect is amazing.
The seared sirloin steak is tender yet juicy, the house-pickled cabbage (the same one served with the Taiwanese sausage) is great and the garlic crisps are addictive. This is a meal in itself.
For $5, the Sauteed Chicken Hearts sure feels like it cost much more.
The soya sauce-glazed hearts have a chew, which added more layers of flavours, while the ginger cuts the richness and adds a touch of heat. It is yet another great dish from this exciting restaurant.
Where: 237 South Bridge Road; tel: 6924-7352; open: 10am to 10om (Tuesdays to Saturdays), 10am to 2.30pm (Sundays)