In my opinion, if you want a classic English fry-up, there’s no better place in Singapore than Penny Black Pub along Boat Quay. Situated at the start of Boat Quay closest to the UOB towers, this place is an old school (or should I say, olde…) English pub serving ales, pub grub and a whole lot more. The place is usually packed on weekday evenings after work, being a popular watering hole for expats working in Raffles Place. On Friday evenings don’t even expect to get a table after about 6 pm.
Not many realise that besides the old Victorian charm, the beers and the bar bites, Penny Black serves really good food too. The fry-up, known as the English Breakfast Grill, is quite simply the most authentic and most unpretentious all-day breakfast I’ve had here in Singapore. The cholesterol-laden plate consists of a fried egg, 2 sausages, 4 slices of bacon, 2 slices of fried bread, a grilled tomato, sautéed button mushrooms and baked beans. Not a single poncy item in sight – no wilted spinach, rocket, poached egg or fancy breads to distract you from the simple yet decadent feast before you. The sausages deserve special mention. They’re proper sausages – not frankfurters or even German bratwursts. They’re just sausages that you would imagine getting from any supermarket in England and are just right – meaty and not over-seasoned. I asked them where they bought them from, but alas they get them from England. No wonder they’re so authentic.
Another dish that I regularly order here, when I don’t feel like clogging my arteries, is their Tandoori Chicken with mint yoghurt sauce served with butter rice. It may seem a little strange to have tandoori chicken in an English pub but trust me – this is also one of the best tandoori chickens I’ve had. Instead of dry stringy chicken pieces which seem to be the unfortunate hallmark of most tandoori chicken, here the chicken is served in bite-sized thigh meat portions. It’s tender, juicy and still tastes incredibly authentic. The burnt, charred bits are lovely, and the butter rice and mint yoghurt complement it perfectly.
When we went on Saturday morning, you could immediately tell the difference between locals and expats. All the ang mohs were sitting in the al fresco area, and the only two occupied tables inside were filled by locals.
Anyway, the two dishes that we had were really good. Very surprising considering it’s a pub. The staff were friendly and helpful, even with C’s sausage question. It’s well worth a visit for a relaxing weekend brunch.