If I wasn’t invited for a tasting at Rock & Ash, I’d never have known there was such a great place to add to my list of cheap (and good) eats in the city. Tucked away inconspicuously at Marina Link, which is another link-way which connects Marina Square to Esplanade station, I missed the shopfront quite a few times. Pacing back and forth for the umpteenth time, I finally spotted it. This is truly one of those #facepalm moments. I have no idea how I managed to miss the bright green and white signboard.
Rock & Ash is more of a homely eatery than a cafe or bistro and it reminded me instantly of a place I used to enjoy eating at in my teens near my neighbourhood mall: cosy, comfortable and inviting. I guess that was probably what Rock & Ash was going for, after all, they’ve got extremely reasonable student-friendly prices (very easy on the pocket) and distinct homemade style and taste.
You’ll be hard pressed to find this anywhere else in the city area. Not only does Rock & Ash have a menu of affordable eats, but all prices are free of GST and service charge, they offer free WiFi, complimentary flow home-made soups and refillable soft drinks (which are also generously on the house).
You must try the Rockin’ Fries (1 dip – $3.90 / 2 dips – $4.90 / 3 dips – $5.90) and pick from their nine interesting home-made “gourmet” dips to accompany these hot and crispy straight cut fries. I tried it with the Chocolate, Wasabi Mayo, Inferno Cheese and Power Garlic Mayo.
While chocolate sounds really weird, kudos to Rock & Ash for pushing the envelop when it comes to their creative combinations because it did taste pretty good to have hot potato and molten chocolate dip together. The Power Garlic Mayo was also particularly memorable because of how fragrant it was.
Other interesting dips available for pairing with your fries include King Beef, Mayo & Chilli, Bollywood Curry, Zesty Lemon and Texas BBQ.
Rock & Ash is also very proud of their handmade burgers. They’ve worked to come up with the perfect burger with just the right mix of bun, meat and vegetables for great balanced taste.
I don’t know if there’s a science behind them, but I found the Rock & Ash burgers pleasing and delicious. We picked out some of the garnishing, sauce and inclusions and ended up with this Caramel Bacon & Cheese Beef Burger ($8.90) which is really appetising, to be honest! You can choose whether you prefer a beef, lamb or pork patty to go with your burger as well, so you don’t have to just stick to whats recommended on the menu.
It looks a little over-the-top with all that oozy caramel and heart-attack inducing bacon, but it is a great combination of savoury meets sweet. I also really appreciated the perfectly done beef patty which was thick enough with a nice bite. It wasn’t the least bit dry and instead was so juicy and enjoyable to eat. How often do we bite into a overly done crumbly beef patty?
They do their carbs here excellently because the Cheesy Potato Skins topped with Inferno King Beef ($5.90) was so damn good. It is sinfully rich with all that stringy chewy cheese and flavoursome thanks to the well marinated minced “inferno king beef”. But wow, crispy potato skin was so addictive, I didn’t feel overwhelmed even after having a whole potato skin (or two) for myself.
I was a little surprised that Rock & Ash would have pork knuckle on the menu but apparently it’s a signature item! The Signature Crispy Pork Knuckle ($26.90) is decently priced and sized. The pork knuckle is succulent and tender while the crackling skin, so crisp and yummy.
As you know, I am a pasta girl! Rock & Ash also has a nice selection of pastas for those among us who can’t live without our al dente Italian noodles. I tasted the Aglio Olio Seafood ($10.90) and I fell in love. It’s super spicy without being too stomach churning and chock full of fresh seafood like slices of white fish fillets, generous servings of mussels and juicy prawns. Where am I to find this at such an awesome price?
For dessert, we had the Fried Ice Cream ($4.90) which was very highly recommended by Rock & Ash.
What you get is actually a large scoop of Vanilla New Zealand’s Natural Ice Cream coated with a layer of cornflakes, which is then deep fried and that is pretty much what it tastes like – oily deep fried cornflakes and ice cream. I would probably have preferred to just have the ice cream. I think the cornflakes were a bit too much.
If there is one drink you must order from the menu (even with free-flow drinks available), it’s their Three Layer Milk Tea. It’s a layer of gula melaka (Malay for “palm sugar syrup”), lots of red tea and evaporated milk.
The food is generally great value for money. I’m not saying that the food is bombastic and deserves a Michelin star, but this is reliable, tasty good food that comes at such a friendly price! I’m loving Rock & Ash so much after my epic encounter with them at this tasting that I’m arranging to have more meet ups at this place. Really, one look at the menu and I swear you’ll be as sold as I am. (Seriously, the number of under $10 options available here has assured them of a fan for life – me.)
Rock & Ash
#B1-03, Marina Square (Marina Link), 6 Raffles Boulevard, Singapore 039594
Open Sunday to Thursday from 10:30am to 10:00pm
Open Friday to Saturday from 10:30am to 11:00pm