This new establishment on Kreta Ayer Road is a place one would probably miss without taking a closer look. To me, the food at 49 Seats is understatedly good, and that obviously calls for a bit of recognition. As tacky as it may sound, the name "49 Seats" also mean 49 seats, nothing more nothing less, unless you decide to bring your own foldable chairs. And yes, located at 49 Kreta Ayer Road (yes, the number 49 again), it is no wonder the name "49 Seats" was chosen by its owner. Which makes me wonder why didn't i count if they actually also have 49 different items on their menu.
Beer is aplenty at 49 Seats, ranging from Corona to Hoegaarden, just in case guys need to know where to quench their thirst after work. It helps that they are also located near the office buildings (CBD), and open in the evening, which is a perfect time for those who are working office hours.
It is a one man (or women in this case) show kitchen ran by the most humble chef i have met - Chef Meribel. Having grown up in the Philippines, she was a nurse before deciding to explore her passion for cooking in Hong Kong, and recently decided to come to Singapore in the past year. I have great admiration for people like her, who choose to pursue their passion.
The simple Chicken Chop was good enough to win me over. The chicken was tender with crisp golden skin and char-grilled taste, paired with the mushroom sauce with a generous amount of shiitake mushrooms. Each main comes with two side dishes of your choice, and besides the plain old boring fries (which are highly addictive), the pasta salad has a pretty unique lemon dressing which most people will like. If you do not take mushrooms, you have a choice of black pepper or brown sauce as well.
I normally stray away from fish items but this Pan Fried Fish with Al Scampi Sauce blew me away. The sauce, cooked from white wine and seafood paired perfectly with the pan fried dory fish which had a crispy outside. The sauce consists of prawns, mussels and clams and i ended up dumping the whole serving of it on the fish before polishing it off the plate. Like all mains, the dish comes with two side dishes, and if you like your western meal to be hearty, opt for the mash potatoes, which comes with very good homemade brown sauce.
The love for the sauce didn't stop there, so we decided to try the Sirloin Al Scampi but was a little disappointed when the steak came a tad too overdone. Thankfully, the sauce saved the day (i wish i could have a whole bottle of sauce to myself). If you want a healthier option, the garden salad is also one of the side dishes you can choose from when ordering the mains.
The most raved about dish online from 49 Seats - Tom Yum Seafood Pasta. With bits of clams, prawns and mussels, this dish certainly got a thumbs up for innovation. It resembled eating a thick version of laksa more than tom yum, and was a tad too spicy for me, although i still ended up slurping it up. The pasta was cooked al dente and the sauce was the right consistency - not too thick nor watery. The only thing i wished for was more seafood in the dish.
And if all that isn't enough to convince you the food is great at 49 Seats, you should check out their Cheese Fries with a massive load of cheese and mayo on the top. Even towards the bottom of the basket, there was still enough cheese. Nothing really can beat crispy hot piping shoe string fries with a load of cheese.
No meal is complete without dessert. The Waffles with Ice Cream drizzled with maple syrup and chocolate sauce didn't really hit the spot for me, even though the waffles were made fresh on the spot. Either that or we were too bloated from the mains, so much so that we couldn't savor this.
In all, 49 Seats serves up great affordable food. The portions are realistically big for the prices, which are very reasonable in my opinion. There is also no GST or service charge. And because there are 49 seats, i suggest you ring them up to check or make a reservation to avoid disappointment. I am, of course, definitely going back.
49 Kreta Ayer Road
+65 6225 4332
This was an invited media tasting.