Sur – Nuevo Latino Kitchen

An exciting trend in gastronomy is that of Latin American cuisine. In Singapore, that niche is filled by Sur – Nuevo Latino Kitchen. I was doing a food review for the Singapore American Newspaper and we decided that we should inform our readers of this place.

Alejandro Luna, former executive pastry chef at Marina Bay Sands, of Peruvian and Venezuelan descent, and Venezuelan Vitelio Reyes, bring us their interpretation of Latin American food in a 70-seater, situated in a two-storey shophouse on North Canal Road.

IMG_0317Walking in you can see the open kitchen concept, where you can hear everything that goes on.

IMG_0319Being relative newcomers to the Latin American food scene, we asked for recommendations and we quickly settled on some items.

A must-have in Peruvian cuisine is Ceviche, a combination of raw seafood, slivers of herbs, onions, peppers, tomatoes and others mixed with acidic mediums. At Sur they have five varieties on the menu and a degustation, three different kinds of your choice (S$29), is the way to go.

IMG_0324The three bowls of Ceviche immediately elicited the saliva. The first was Ceviche Clasico, a mixture of Red Snapper, Sweet Potato, Red Onion, Cilantro and Leche de Tigra, or “Milk of the Tiger”. The Leche is an exciting mix of lime juice and vinegar, which slightly cooked the fish. Combining this with the Sweet Potato and it balanced the whole thing together as you had the creaminess of the fish, combined with the sweet and acidic.

IMG_0328The second selection was Ceviche Nikkei, an Ahi Tuna based Ceviche. This is mixed with Avocado, Jalapeno, Cilantro and the Leche de Tigra. This combination had a slightly more citrus taste to it.

IMG_0326The third was Ceviche de Camarόn – Shrimp, Jalapeno, Tomato, Red Onion, Mint and a Passion Fruit Leche de Tigra. The sweetness of this from the Passion Fruit made this one delicious bite after bite.

IMG_0327An accompaniment of plantain chips is meant to be used to sop up the Leche.

The other thing that Latin Americans do with the Leche is drink it like a shot.  After eating the fish, they will put it in a shot glass and down it.  Now I didn’t down it like that, but I did slurp it all down.

Arepitas (S$15), a Venezuelan snack, consisting of two portions, was next.

IMG_0332We chose the Beef Stew with Gouda Cheese, and a Rumbera, shredded pork with Gouda Cheese. Other options are “Reina Pepiada” (Avocado and Chicken Salad), or “Domino” (Black Beans and White Cheese).

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IMG_0335Unfortunately this was not a great hit. We thought the Pork was too dry, with the consistency of canned tuna, and the beef, though moist, was a little flavorless. Additionally, the Cornmeal flour used was a bit doughy, and after frying, left the plate and hands very greasy.

Other appetizers that are recommended are the Chicharrones (S$15), a great take on Pork Belly, and Torta de Maíz (S$17), a vegetarian option made of a Corn Souffle with Mushroom Ragout and Queso Fresco.

Grilled Meats is a large part of South American cuisine, and Sur brings us its version, Plato Parrilla (S$33), consisting of Skirt Steak, Chicken Breast, Pork Chop, Pork and Blood Sausages, and Fried Yucca. A complement of sauces, Spicy Pepper, Chimichurri and Sweet Garlic, are provided. Aside from a piece of chicken that was too dry, it was very standard grilled meats, similar to those found in Argentinian Steakhouses and Brazilian Churrascarias.

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IMG_0340The Pollo a la Brasa (S$28) was a different story though. Marinated in a nice pepper rub and then grilled to perfection, it is set on a bed of Roasted Corn Puree and topped with a Mojo de Ajo and some Onion Rings. The rub on the chicken sealed in the juices perfectly, giving a slightly heaty sensation, but then sweet when tasting. The corn puree balanced the dish with its earthiness. The Mojo de Ajo, a garlic-lime cream sauce, gave the dish the hit of acid needed to balance it all out.

IMG_0344Dessert has to be on your list given Luna’s pedigree. An Aljafor (S$7), shortbread with Dulce de Leche sandwiched between, is a light bite which is not too buttery or sweet.

IMG_0345The Milhojas (S$7) was a nice stack of caramelized puff pastry with Vanilla Crème in between.  It was not too sweet and not too creamy, a perfect ending.

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If this is what modern Latin American cooking is all about, I want to indulge some more.

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