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Sing Sing, Dine Out 2023

Not all participating Dine Out Vancouver restaurants are offering dinner menus, a few spots have lunch as an option too. And today, we were at Sing Sing on Main Street to check out theirs. They were the perfect stop for our post work out meal. Hungry from a cardio heavy spin class pho and pizza would hit the spot.

This beer hall of sorts is popular as a spacious drinking hole offering a number of local beers on tap, on top of their contemporary take on pizza and pho. And no other establishment is boasting a similar Asian fusion menu as such.

For Dine Out their $27 menu gives you the option to pick 1 appetizer and 1 entree out for 3 possible options per course. We would skip the vegetarian choice of the Fried cauliflower & greens appetizer and the Avocado & crispy tofu entree. However, seeing photos of each, they do look delicious. It was just that our eyes were larger than our stomachs and we were craving bigger portions and an increase of proteins and carbs.

Between 3 women we would pick out the 2 other Dine Out appetizer and entree options and supplement it with a different pho and pizza option (not available as Dine Out), given that this was both of my guest’s first time at Sing Sing.

The Calamari was some of the best I have to date, if not the best. Served with salsa verde and dressed with citrus, and smoked paprika. Not only was each ring perfectly battered and fried and even golden brown, but it was stacked ever so carefully in this impressive presentation. Each ring was chewy and flavourful on its own. And a thick cut dip in the lime salsa gave it a refreshing tone that would parallel all our other dishes to come. I highly recommend this one to start, or in general on a future visit.

I love the excessive amount of avocado in the Prawn tacos filled with iceberg lettuce, guacamole, and cocktail sauce. I have never before been left with so much extra guacamole on the plate. So much so that after finishing the dish we used it as a dip with others. And even after our photo shoot and light conversation, the taco were still crispy by the time we got to them. Although, given the plethora of creamy avocado within, it might have caused me to miss out on the prawns completely. Although I did like the tang from the pink pickled onions.

For entrees we had to go with what they know: pho and pizza. This and the appetizer options are available on their regular menu, just given a little discount when paired together for Dine Out Vancouver 2023.

Brisket & kimchi hoisin pizza with mozzarella, green onion, pickled onion, spicy mayo, and sesame. The hoisin sauce base reminded me of pho, especially with the green onion topping. It was plenty tasty, but I did not get any kimchi and there was not enough pulled brisket meat to have me noticing it in the mix. It could have also been done without the cheese, for those with dairy allergies, as I couldn’t make it out from all the other toppings and flavours going on. If it was more brisket and kimchi heavy with an extra drizzle of spicy mayo, this would have eaten like a completely different pie. Still, this was a tasty pizza, and the crust was so crispy and doughy that we all used it like bread sticks to dip into the excess guacamole above.

The Dine Out pho option is their Phở gà Sing Sing with lemongrass chicken, basil, sprouts, and quail eggs. I have had both the pizza above and the pho here in the past, and I must say the food today was a lot tastier. Nothing was bland. This was a full-bodied broth, even though they were using a lighter chicken stock for broth. It had a clean feeling and despite seeing oil bubbles on the top layer of the soup, there was no oily film left on your lips. And surprisingly, the pieces of chicken were not over cooked, just the tiniest bit dry, but well-seasoned even when left bobbing in soup. I am typically not a fan of chicken pho, but Sing Sing did a great job with theirs.

Having said earlier, we did stray away from their Dine Out menu to explore their other pizza and pho options. The Phở Bò Sing Sing has rare steak, beef brisket, meatballs and is what I would normally gravitate towards. Although after hearing that their vegan option is made with red peppers and squash I was interested. However, my lunch mates were less so, given the thought of having such a fragrant vegetable in a soup that it has historically never been a part of.

As for the beef pho, it ate as light and fulsome as the chicken, but with a lot more variety in its meat offerings. From thinly sliced rare beef that would cooked up in the still hot broth, to a thick slab of peel apart brisket that would have probably been better sauced up on the side, to the classic hard beef balls packed with herbaceous flavour.

For our second a la carte pizza we did go for a vegan option, as one of my guests has a dairy allergy. This is the Funghi pizza with caramelized onion, cashew cheese, and cilantro. Although they can substitute cashew cheese on any pizza, I like having a dish the way a chef intends it so went with this mushroom medley. The gentle nature of the spreadable plant-based cheese paired well with the earthy mushroom, allowing it to shine as the star of the dish. In the undertones I got spicy lemon and a fragrant char from grilled onions. Overall, another great pizza option.

In conclusion, every time I return to Sing Sing they only get better. I recall when they initially opened and I found their combination of fusion flavours jarring. Then bland and uninspired upon a subsequent visit. Fast forward, still under the Donnelly Group banner, when they dedicated more time and workmanship into their menus did we see an upswing. It is here that we got a more paired down and cohesive menu, featuring a rotation of chefs and their influences. All the way to today’s even more focused menu under the banner of Freehouse Collective, with consistency in deliciousness all throughout. I cannot wait to revisit and continue watching how their kitchen evolves.

Sing Sing Beer Bar & Restaurant
2718 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5T 3E8, Canada
+1 604-336-9556

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