Boat Quay was once the artery for Singapore’s trade and economic activities in Asia. Five decades later, it has transformed into this vibrant night spot with a string of restaurants, cafes, and pubs. When night falls and the night crowd gathers, the atmosphere along the Singapore River becomes ever more charming. And what’s truly missing is a cosy, good restaurant that serves Pan Asian cuisine, which would truly reflect Singapore’s melting pot of cultures. And there comes along, The Sampan, a three-storey restaurant and bar along Boat Quay, which gives a fresh spin on Asian cuisine.
The Sampan offers a vibrant menu of Pan Asian delights, from light bites, salads to mains as well as unique cocktails. A couple of nights ago, we had a hearty dinner along with some drinks.
There are both indoors and outdoors seating areas. The best seating spots are nonetheless the ones along Singapore River.
There are more seating areas on the second floor and third floor. The private dining area on the third floor overlooks Singapore River and Marina Bay Sands. Looking for a party venue on a New Year’s Eve? This could be a perfect spot to watch the elaborate fireworks.
The Head Bar Man, Herman Jasmani was there that evening to prepare the cocktails for us. (What an honor!) One of the signature drinks by The Sampan is the Mango and Chili Smash. It is a chili-infused tequila mixed with mango, mint, sugar, and lime. Are you bold enough to take the spice? Herman further spiced up the drink with a garnish of Chili Padi.
If you are into alcoholic drinks, you can opt for their freshly-blended smoothies – Pina and Spinach Smoothie. It is an intoxicating green smoothie which I could not get enough of it.
Mango and Chilli Smash ($18)
Chilli Tequila, Mint, Sugar and Lime
Pina and Spinach Smoothie
Fresh pineapples, organic honey, fresh spinach leaves, and coconut water
Light Bites and Salads
Our culinary journey at The Sampan starts with Sichuan Pepper Chicken Spare Ribs with Spring Onion Salad. The crispy chicken spare ribs can be really addictive.
The other dish that really stood out for me is their Blue Swimmer Crab and Pomelo Salad. The sweet crab meat complemented the fresh vegetables and slices of avocado. It makes a great appetizer which refreshes the palate.
Another palate pleaser is Head Chef Alfie Ali’s own take of the traditional Vietnamese sandwich, Bahn Mi. The bite-sized Bahn Mi is packed with a sliver of foie gras, slow-cooked pickled cucumber, fresh vegetables, tender pork neck, and Sriracha Mayo. Each mouthful of the sandwich is bursting with a beautiful blend of flavours.
Sichuan Pepper Chicken Spare Ribs, Spring Onion Salad ($12)
Blue Swimmer Crab and Pomelo Salad with Sweet and Sour Chilli Dressing ($14)
Mushroom San Choi Bao
Pani Puri with Stracciatella and Curried Lentils
Mini Banh Mi with Pork and Foie Gras
For a heartier option, you can go for larger plates like the Crispy Chili Beef with Green Mango Salad and Crispy Noodles. The wok-fried beef would go well with a side of garlic fried rice too.
Crispy Chilli Beef with Green Mango Salad and Crispy Noodles ($18)
All of their desserts are made and prepared in-house.
I enjoyed Chef’s own take of the Valrhona Chocolate and Tofu Mousse with Chai Spiced Shortbread and Passionfruit Curd. I had no idea that the tangy sourish taste would go well with the bitter-sweet dark chocolate mousse.
The winning dish at The Sampan for me has got to be their Chocolate and Tofu Mousse.
Valrhona Chocolate and Tofu Mousse with Chai Spiced Shortbread, Passionfruit Curd ($14)
Mango Pudding with Coconut Sago, Mango Sorbet ($12)
The menu also caters to vegans and vegetarians. There are dairy-free and gluten-free options as well.
63 Boat Quay
Nearest MRT: Clarke Quay, Raffles Place
Tel: +65 6732 1698
Weekdays: 11.30am to 2.30pm (Lunch), 5.00pm to Midnight (Dinner)
Saturdays: 5.00pm to Midnight (Dinner)
Closed on Sundays