Blue cheese and IPA, oysters and stout, pork and wheat beer; these are food- and beer-pairings generally accepted and canonised into beer pairing lore. The problem, however, is that most restaurants are simply not able to tweak their concepts – and therefore, menus – to justify pairings with the fermented beverage, especially if they are offering other forms of alcoholic tipples such as wine as well. Modern Australian restaurant Salted & Hung bucks the trend by creating an entire menu specifically to pair with beer.
Salted & Hung‘s Chef Drew Nocente has been trailblazing Singapore’s food scene with his unique brand of pickled and cured foods since launching out with 5th Quarter under the Unlisted Collection umbrella in 2015, and later reintroduced that concept with Salted & Hung last year. The best way to experience Chef Nocente’s genius is through the restaurant’s special chef’s sharing menu, a culinary showcase of his approach to curing and pickling that’s not too common in the local food landscape.
More curious though is the fact that it offers a craft beer pairing instead of a wine one, considering the modern Australian restaurant harkens to a cuisine from a country with a very strong wine heritage. Salted & Hung partners Sydney-based Stockade Brew Co to offer a range of its beers to pair with its food, and Chef Nocente worked with his team and distributor Thirsty Work to craft one of the most exquisite food and beer experiences this side of the planet.
And while food and alcohol pairing is more art than science – since flavour combinations work differently for dissimilar palates and can be altogether subjective – what Salted & Hung does here work rather brilliantly. Perhaps cured and pickled foods, with their stronger, saltier flavours, simply combine very well with the crisp, palate-cleansing qualities and bitterness of beer; whatever the case, it works.
Salted & Hung’s house-made charcuterie, for example, take to the floral notes and bitterness of the brewery’s 8 BiT IPA very well, with the beer helping to cut through the saltiness and richness of the cured meats. Seafood, on the other hand – such as a Josper-grilled barramundi if it is available on the day – prove best of friends with Stockade’s Duel hoppy lager.
Most of Salted & Hung’s grilled meat items, such as their chunky sausages, for some bizarre reason work well with the Rare Ink stout; perhaps the salty richness of the meat is foiled by the beer’s sweet maltiness, while the roastiness of the beer goes hand-in-glove with well-charred meat.
But it’s dessert that amazes – the burnt pavlova is paired with Stockade’s Fallen Angel chilli mocha stout, and the bizarre combination of flavours somehow integrate into a most delicious whole.
Salted & Hung may not be the first proper beer and food pairing experiences to be available in Singapore – distributors The Drinking Partners was one of the first to start the trend in 2010, while local craft microbrewery LeVeL33 has on-going beer pairing recommendations in its menu – but theirs reign as one of the most comprehensive and well thought out gastronomic experiences involving the fermented beverage. And while the items on the chef’s sharing menu constantly changes, we’re pretty sure they’ll get the pairings right most of the time.
Salted & Hung’s Chef Sharing Menu goes for $75++ per person with a minimum of two persons; the Stockade Brew Co beer pairing is a supplement of $58++ per flight of five beers. Note: the restaurant allows the sharing of beer flights, and we recommend you share each flight between two persons.
You can find Salted & Hung at 12 Purvis Street.