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Food & Drink

What’s on the menu at Sing Sing, the Financial District’s new spot for pizza, pho and beer

Including burgers, banh mi, and pizza topped with brisket and kimchi

By Erin Hershberg| Photography by Shlomi Amiga
A spread of the offerings at Sing Sing

Name: Sing Sing Contact: 77 Adelaide St. W., freehouse.co/locations/sing-sing-adelaide Owners: Freehouse Collective Chefs: Zach Barnes, Chris Anderson Accessibility: Lower level is accessible

Sing Sing, a new bar and eatery in the heart of the Financial District, celebrates the unlikely combination of pho, pizza and beer. The concept emerged in Vancouver, when Freehouse Collective hospitality group opened Sing Sing’s first location in the previous site of an Asian restaurant. “We don’t like to strip our spaces of their heritage,” says Trevor MacKenzie, the group’s director of hospitality. “We try to pay homage to the past.” As it happened, one of the partners in the company, who is Vietnamese, mentioned that his grandmother had passed down a secret pho recipe. The team decided to go for it, and beer and pizza (un)naturally followed.

The people behind Sing Sing, a new spot for pizza and pho
Sing Sing chef Zach Barnes and director of hospitality Trevor MacKenzie

The menu is uncompromising in its dedication to culinary recklessness because, as MacKenzie says, “Everyone just needs to chill.” The result is a casual, nonsensical celebration of food and drink that includes everything from burgers to banh mi. And though the menu items hail from all over the globe, there is one universal truth: everything pairs well with beer.

The food

The prevailing vibe is: Some of these things don’t belong here, but that’s the point. The menu is strictly potluck over pompous, and its star is the unctuous and warmly spiced beef pho. The mix-and-match of cuisines also includes classic smashed cheeseburgers, a beef bulgogi baguette, and a hoisin-based pizza with brisket and kimchi.

A bowl of slaw with tofu and avocado
For the avo tofu slaw, chef Zach Barnes tosses a blend of kohlrabi, radish, carrots, pickled chilies and broccoli in a creamy miso dressing. Purple shiso, a blend of sprouts and shoots, fried yam strings, and lime juice are piled on top for texture and brightness. For that extra bit of heartiness, there are togarashi-tossed deep-fried tofu squares and avocado chunks. $23.75

 

A bao bun filled with pork and garnish
The barbecue pork buns are a pair of steamed bao stuffed with hoisin-, ginger- and garlic-glazed pork belly that’s been brined in spices similar to the ones used in pho, including chilies, coriander, star anise and ginger. The pork is then cooked sous-vide for two days and deep-fried to order. House pickles, creamy slaw, pickled chilies and coriander cress are stuffed in for extra oomph. $12.75

 

A plate of beef carpaccio and chips
For the beef carpaccio, thinly shaved slices of beef are torched aburi-sushi-style and topped with grilled and pickled enoki mushrooms, sliced serrano chilies and crispy onions. The dish is brought together by umami-forward Maggi sauce and some secret spices. It’s accompanied by deep-fried taro chips for dipping. $22.75

 

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A plate of glazed salmon, rice and bok choy
The honey-ginger salmon is marinated in a sauce of ginger, honey and soy, then grilled to order. More sauce is reduced to a caramel-like consistency and poured over the salmon once it’s been plated. On the side, we have steamed long-grain rice with cilantro and lime zest, garlic-sautéed bok choy and a brush stroke of fermented black garlic mayonnaise. $28.75

 

A bowl of pho soup
For the classic phở bò, beef bones are roasted and caramelized before being simmered for two days and seasoned. For service, braised brisket, meatballs, thinly sliced rare beef, freshly cooked rice noodles and raw sprouts are placed into bowls, anointed with the hot stock, then topped with a healthy sprinkle of sliced scallions and cilantro. $20.25

 

A close up of one of Sing Sing's pizzas
For the weird and wonderful east-west mash-up that is the brisket and kimchi pizza, piles of spiced and braised brisket, house kimchi, mozzarella, green onions and cilantro sit on a hoisin base. Once out of the oven, the flavour-packed pie—which has a crust just thick enough to endure the load and remain crisp—is drizzled with spicy mayo. $23.75

 

A cup full of tiramasu
Here we have a traditional take on tiramisu with one significant swap: Vietnamese coffee instead of standard espresso. $12.75
The drinks

The beer list includes a substantial selection of local IPAs, fruity sours and old-school pilsners. The cocktails are more overtly playful: the piña coladas are made with tapioca pearls; the chai-spiced rum spritzes are inflected with chili, ginger and curry tincture; and cold-pressed green juices are paired with gin.

Three of Sing Sing's drink options
Clockwise from top left: the Paw Meh Hard Tea ($18), a cocktail with lemongrass-infused tequila, stewed pandan honey, freshly steeped matcha tea and vanilla liqueur; the Karma and Luck ($19), a blend of passion fruit syrup, rhubarb-and-ginger-infused gin, tequila, Campari, lemon juice and chili tincture; and a proper pour of Mascot Brewery’s watermelon-beet sour ($11.25)

 

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More of Sing Sing's drink options
Here we have a bottle of Tuff Nutt pet-nat wine from Australia chilling out in a reusable cooler bag—it’s a standout on the decidedly not pretentious wine list. Next to it is Sing Sing’s house lager, which sells for the bargain price of $5 ($4 during happy hour)
The space

While there is a decided freneticism to the food, the two-level space doesn’t overwhelm. Rather, its whitewashed walls, large windows and muted colour palette act as a calming canvas for the meal that is to come. There’s also a separate outdoor bar and patio space.

A look at Sing Sing's lower floor
The stairs at Sing Sing
A close up of the bar area
Sing Sing's outdoor patio
Their beer menu
A neon Sing Sing sign
The entrance to Sing Sing

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