If you’ve been looking for Korean cuisine around the island, chances are you’ve mostly found restaurants that offer self-cooking BBQ and grilling options, lightly peppered with kimchi and the quintessential bulgogi and bibimbap on the side.
But imagine small plates of Korean goodness, some authentic and some with a modern, fusion twist. With the tapas-craze that has taken over Singapore, it’s really no secret why small bites (and a large variety of them) with quality tipples is now the recipe for a relaxing evening. But, if you thought that tapas was something that only the Spanish could perfect, think again – because the first ever Korean Tapas Bar in Singapore is finally here. And it’s here to stay.
Welcome to Sync Korean Tapas Bar. Featuring a wide array of Korean-inspired tapas and cocktails, this new kid on the Serangoon Gardens block is perfect for after-work happy hour or a leisurely family meal on the weekends (it’s also the ideal lunch spot for mamas with kids nearby at Australian International School or Stamford American International School).
It’s the sister outlet to Sync Korean Fusion Bistro in Jurong East, and is a casual, cosy venue where you can sit back and relax whilst indulging in an array of reasonably-priced dishes.
Inspired by the “Hallyu Wave” – be it Korean dramas or Gangnam-style K-Pop tunes – the owners of Sync wanted to share their love of Korean food and culture with fellow afficionados. And the tapas bar certainly makes for a good spot to start that journey, with plates priced from as low as $7.90.
Head Chef Calista Ong whips out several delicious skewer options, such as Miteubol (pork meatballs, $2 per skewer) and the Samgyupsal (pork belly roll with baby asparagus, $2.50 per skewer). Must-tries include the Toppoki – a sort of Asian mac ‘n’cheese, where traditional rice cakes and sausages are soaked in a sweet and spicy bulgogi sauce, topped with a gooey three cheese sauce and a lavish sprinkling of spring onions and sesame seeds ($7.90).
We were advised to eat it while it’s hot, because the cheese hardens quickly as it cools off, but it was so good, it didn’t get a chance to go cold at all! It’s the perfect new comfort food, in our opinion. The Sogogi Jowl – small cubes of tender char-grilled Angus beef jowl on a shiso leaf with garlic confit ($9.90) – is a perfect accompaniment to the signature Sujo Mohito, sweet, smooth and quite potent ($12.90)!
We also quite liked the Haemul Pajeon – slices of traditional crispy seafood and scallion pancakes with a yuzu soy dip ($8.90), and the Sam-Gyupsal Salad – a very light salad with thin slices of char-grilled pork belly with mesclun leaves and yuzu dressing ($9.90). Like fried calamari with your Asahi beer? Try Sync’s version with Agi Ojing-Eo – deep-fried baby squid with squid ink aioli ($10.90).
If you’re in the mood for something bigger, the Dwaeji Galbi (tender pork ribs, $22.90) and Chicken Paella – a communal meal with generous offerings of chicken, onions, cabbage, sausage and kimchi ($38.90) – are both signature items and definitely worth trying. If you’re there with the kids, there are several non-spicy (and value-for-money!) options like the Dak-Kangjung (fried chicken bites in sweet sauce with fries and salad, $7.90), and the Samgyeopsal Gui (char-grilled pork belly rice with onsen egg in a bulgogi sauce, $7.90).
If you’ve still got room for dessert, we recommend the Misugaru Lava Cake. No molten chocolate oozing out of this cake, though; it’s a blend of 12 grains in a sweet caramel-like sauce, with a crunchy toasted cornflake crumble and vanilla ice cream ($9.90). Wash it down with the signature Soju Peach Shot ($7.90) and you’ll be quite happy for the rest of the evening.
So whether you decide to come for the drinks and cocktails or for the tapas, rest assured – you’re going to have a great time at Sync’s Korean Tapas Bar!
Sync Korean Tapas Bar, 12 Maju Avenue, Serangoon Gardens, Singapore 556690
Tel: (+65) 6282 0612 or email [email protected]
Opening hours: Daily from 11am-12am (closed Tue)