Food Review: Fresh Live Seafood @ Pince & Pints Lobster Restaurant and Bar, Katong

If you live in the Eastern part of Singapore, you will now no longer need to make the trip down to the city in order to enjoy a fresh lobster and seafood meal.

This is because lobster specialists, Pince & Pints Restaurant and Bar, have recently opened their third outlet, in Katong. The Katong outlet is also Pince & Pints’s first franchisee outlet.

Pince & Pints aims to provide diners with fresh seafood of premium quality 

Known amongst foodies in Singapore for their succulent lobster dishes, Pince & Pints aims to provide customers with the dining experience of having the freshest live seafood of the most premium quality.

The eatery specialises in lobsters cooked according to diners’ preference, together with a specially curated beverage program to complement the overall dining experience.

Said Katong outlet franchise co-owner Jason, 34, “In Singapore, Pince & Pints remains as the only lobster themed restaurant. There is a trend of lobster food dishes in Singapore right now, but many of those other restaurants feature only one or two lobster dishes in the whole menu. We still have our main dishes, but most of our menu is lobster based.”

Jason and his fellow co-owner, Daniel, 37, do not want their full names to be published in this article, for business reasons.

Lobsters are flown in weekly from Boston, the USA

Continued Jason, “The most important thing about Pince & Pints is that we get the freshest seafood possible. Most of our lobsters are flown in from Boston, the USA, on a weekly basis and every day, the lobsters are killed and prepared for the dishes. It is value for money because you get live lobsters and not frozen ones.”

Since the opening of its first outlet at Duxton Road in 2014, Pince & Pints has enjoyed great success as the industry leader of “cook it yourself” lobster restaurants, and this success had led the homegrown seafood brand to set up an overseas outlet in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, within its first year of business.

This continued success has led to Pince & Pints to opening up a third outlet and their second shop in Singapore, thus bringing their signature lobster dishes to the charming, heritage-rich streets of Katong at the same time.

Why Katong?

Why set up shop in Katong, anyway? Said Jason, “Based on our first outlet at Duxton, we already understood our customer profile, so this area fits in terms of our customers’ spending power and demographics.”

He continued, “The average customer at Pince & Pints can be either male or female, and are usually aged between 25 to 40 years old. If you look at the layout of the Katong outlet, it is a 60-seater and we are trying to make Level 2 more conducive for larger groups, communal dining and families. We are looking at customers who come in for brunches and lunches in a group setting.”

Invited to Pince & Pints for a tasting session 

I had been recently invited to the new Katong outlet for a food tasting session and I went there with an eating companion.

On the menu is a communal style selection of mouth watering lobster themed dishes, such as the signature Lobster Roll, as well as Live Whole Lobster, Chilli Lobster and the Truffle Roll. And looking at the menu, I had wanted to taste everything because all the items had simply sounded so yummy.

As well, in order to commemorate the Katong opening too, two new dishes have also been added to the menu at Pince & Pints. These are The Lobster Burger and The Lobster Noodles.

All of the food items available at the Katong outlet, including the two new dishes, according to Jason, is the same offerings as the Duxton outlet menu, but with the exception of some of the beverages though.

Said Jason, “These dishes are all available at both of our outlets in Singapore. There are only slight tweaks in the drinks menu though; we did bring in some mainstream lagers into the Katong outlet for a variety.”

Wide range of beverages 

Indeed, there is definitely a wide range of beverages available at Pince & Pints, and these range from cocktails and mocktails to craft beers, wine and spirits to cater to different taste buds and palettes. And according to the eatery, their cocktails and mocktails are prepared using fresh, raw juices and no sweeteners in order to maintain their quality and consistency.

As the hand crafted mocktails were recommended by the restaurant, my eating companion and I had a mocktail each. I had opted for the Mr. and Mrs. Smith (S$16) which consists of kiwi, home-made pandan syrup, apple and guava juice. My companion ordered Lychee Crush ($12) which is made with lychee puree, lime juice, sprite, Lychee fruit and sugar syrup.

I must say that I had enjoyed my mocktail, as it was rather fruity and refreshing. The kiwifruit flavour was definitely apparent in the drink and I could also pick up a slight hint of pandan, which had helped to bring out the flavours a little more.

Main Dishes

The main dishes that I had ended up trying out at Pince & Pints had been mainly based on the restaurant’s recommendations of what had been good, and these are as follows.

The Lobster Roll (S$58++)

The Lobster Roll, as the name suggests, consists of steamed lobster chopped up and cooked with a mix of salt, pepper and mayonnaise sauce. It is then chilled and topped with a sprinkling of chives and then wrapped inside a soft bun.

The dish is also served together with Chef’s salad, straight cut fries and garlic aioli sauce, in order to create a balanced meal consisting of items from all of the main food groups. As well, this is also the restaurant’s signature item on the menu so this meant that we simply had to try it.

And I must say that I definitely enjoyed this dish and the combination of flavours was quite interesting. Everything blended in really nicely together and the lobster taste in the dish, had been brought out rather well, by the fact that the sauce used was quite light and so thus it did not overpower the lobster at all.

The bun was also delicious. It was buttery, soft and slightly warm when it had been serving, and so it had complemented the lobster really well. As well there was also a slight sweet note in the bun, which balanced out nicely with the savoury flavours in the lobster and the sauce. None of the flavours fought for my attention, which was a good thing.

The side serving of the garlic aioli sauce also complemented the dish well. The sauce was creamy without being cloyingly rich, and it had a slight buttery note to it, and this too, brought out the essence and natural flavours of the lobster quite well when eaten together with the lobster meat and the bread.

As well, I thought that the amount of lobster used in the dish was generous, making it value for money in terms of the price of the dish.

There are some slight differences between The Lobster Roll and another one of the restaurant’s best selling dishes, The Truffle Roll (S$68++) that we did not manage to taste. Said Jason, “For the Lobster Roll, we chill the meat but for the Truffle Roll, the meat is served warm and cooked in truffle butter.”

The Truffle Roll also happens to be Jason’s favourite item, too. He said, “Personally, I love lobster and truffle and as these two marries together in the dish, it is the perfect dish for me.” So I suppose that I have got to try this dish next time at Pince & Pints, then!

Live Whole Lobster (S$58++)

This dish, as the name suggests, is a whole lobster cooked inside the shell and served with Chef’s Salad, straight cut fries and butter sauce.

The lobster here can be grilled or steamed according to the diner’s preference. We had it grilled and I think that we had made the right choice. The grilled lobster had a deliciously smoky note to it, which I thought had brought out its natural flavour really well. As well, the lobster meat definitely tasted fresh and succulent and as a result, it had been quite enjoyable.

Chilli Lobster (S$58++)

Served with Fried Mantou, Home Made tomato & Chilli Sauce, this is Pince & Pints’s version of the famous Singaporean Chilli Crab.

Even though the lobster had been cooked in sauce in this dish, I could still distinctively taste the natural lobster flavour though. This had been because the sauce was quite mild and light to the senses. At the same time too, I thought that the sauce helped to bring out the natural flavour of the lobster.

I also tried out the Fried Mantou that came with the dish, dipping this into the sauce, and I had found that the Mantou was quite light, and was not really oily. This makes it great in terms of scraping up the leftover sauce and without making you feel stuffed at the same time.

The Lobster Noodles (S$58++)

This is one of Pince & Pints’s new dishes and was one that I had been keen to try because I love noodles.

The dish consists of egg noodles topped with generous chunks of shell on whole fresh lobster, stir fried with ginger and scallions in superior broth. It is served with sambal chilli prepared by the restaurant. The chilli is served on the side, for that extra spicy kick. The “shiokness” is advertised by Pince & Pints as a decadent twist to the much loved Singaporean comfort food.

Said Jason “The reason for Pince & Pints coming up with this dish, is because a lot of the items on our menu is Western, so we wanted to introduce something on the Chinese side. This dish has been a hit with our patrons too and is well received, based on the number of Lobster Noodles that we have sold compared to the other dishes.”

Indeed, and I must admit that this dish had been quite delicious too, when I tried it. The egg noodles had been first fried and then prepared in a style that is similar to the braised Ee Mee noodle dish that is commonly served at wedding banquets across Singapore.

To the taste buds, the noodles were light and they do not stuff you up as a result. To some, they might have been a bit on the salty side, but I admit that I quite like my noodles to be salty, so I had thought they had been prepared just right in my opinion.

On the other hand, the lobster that had been served together with this dish was very lightly flavoured. As such, it had blended in well together with the more richly flavoured and salty noodles, and as a result, I had thought that the contrast and the combination of the flavours had been brought out very nicely without competing against each other for attention.

The Lobster Burger (S$42++)

This consists of fresh lobster meat seasoned and breaded with various spices. The patty is deep fried to perfection, maintaining every drop of moisture and juiciness before being enveloped in a fluffy white bun.

The burger is accompanied by crispy sweet potato fries, coleslaw and three different house made dipping sauces on the side.

According to Jason, the Lobster Burger also consists of one whole lobster, just like all of Pince & Pints’s other dishes available on the menu.

I had thought this was an interesting item, and it is also a nice twist on the gourmet beef burger dish that is commonly available at most burger joints across Singapore.

I found that the natural flavours of the lobster had come out really well, even though it had been flavoured and crumbed before frying. This is because the spices used, as well as the sauce in the burger, had all been light and so they had complemented the lobster meat, instead of drowning it out. So in this way, the natural taste of the lobster had really able to come through.

The textures and tastes of the bun used in this burger was also quite similar to the bun that was used in the Lobster Roll, and I liked the complementary textures coming from the softness of the buttery bun, together with the crunchiness from the bread crumbed lobster, as well.

The sweet potato fries that the dish had come with were also nice. These fries were crunchy on the outside and soft and warm on the inside. As well, there was a sweet aftertaste left behind in my mouth after swallowing, thanks to the natural sugars in the sweet potato.

When eaten together with the burger, the sweetness from the fries also balances out quite nicely together with the natural taste of the lobster as well as the other savoury flavours used in the burger, thus creating a rather nice contrast in my mouth.

 Bar Bites

Besides tasting their main dishes, we also tried out two of the dishes from the Bar Bites menu at Pince & Pints and these are as follows.

Lobster Mac & Cheese (S$29++)

This, as the name suggests, is the restaurant’s take on the classic American Mac & Cheese comfort food. It consists of Elbow Pasta, lobster meat, Mozzarella cheese and Cognac and is supposed to be the restaurant’s signature item on the Bar Bites menu.

When the dish came though, I thought that the portion size was quite generous; in fact I thought it seemed more like a full meal rather than an appetiser.

It was also a very satisfying dish in my opinion simply because I love anything cheesy. The Mac & Cheese had been sinfully rich and cheesy yet at the same time it was not overwhelming to my senses. As well, the dish had been baked until the outer layer of cheese on the surface, was brown and crispy; I always love having the slightly crispy outer layer in any cheesy dish, so this had suited me perfectly.

But in terms of the lobster though, there had been little bits of lobster pieces that had been mixed into the dish, but unless you actually try to find the lobster pieces to eat, it may be a little hard to taste the lobster flavour in this dish.

Perhaps it may have helped to bring out even more of the natural flavours of the lobster, if the pieces had been a bit larger. In fact, I had felt that the cheese flavour had seemed to probably be the predominant flavour in this item, unlike most of the other items, where the lobster flavour had been able to “shine” though.

But after munching on a couple of the diced lobster bits in this dish, I could tell that these too, were just as fresh as the lobster meat used in all of the other dishes served at Pince & Pints.

Mixed Platter (S$32++)

As the name of the dish indicates, this is a seafood platter consisting of crispy fish skin, fried calamari, garlic butter mussels, straight cut fries, char grilled bread and tartar sauce.

Personally, my favourite item in this platter definitely had to be the crispy fish skin – this was addictively salty and crunchy and once I had started eating them, I found that I had been having trouble stopping myself from munching on more of these little morsels throughout the evening. However, taste wise though, the flavour may fall a little flat though if you are generally not a fan of eating salty crisps; so dipping these into the tartar sauce that the platter comes with, may possibly help to lift the flavours slightly.

The mussels were also nice; I could definitely detect the freshness coming from them, and these had a slight garlic taste too – possibly from the seasoning that had been used, and this had helped to add an extra zing to the natural flavours of the mussels, which I had quite liked.

I also really enjoyed the char-grilled bread. It was quite buttery, soft, warm and fragrant, and at the same time, I also enjoyed the smoky, barbecued flavour that I could detect quite strongly when I ate some of this. I must say that this is definitely how I like my bread to be prepared.

The straight cut fries had been similar to the fries that had been included as part of The Lobster Roll and the Live Whole Lobster dishes; when eaten hot, they were slightly crispy on the outside and soft and warm on the inside.

However, do try and eat these fries quickly if you want to enjoy them at their best. Do not let these fries cool down for too long, because they tend to get soggy and hard, fairly easily.

The fried calamari though, had been a little on the chewy and rubbery side; I think that this could have been due to the fact that they had already cooled down by the time we have finished taking photos and started eating them. They would probably be a lot nicer if they had been eaten when hot.

But still though, the calamari batter had been really crunchy and slightly salty at the same time, and this was quite good, helping to compensate for the rubbery texture of the calamari.

Overall thoughts about Pince & Pints

I think that dining at Pince & Pints is a pleasant experience. If you love seafood and lobsters, then you should definitely head to Pince & Pints and try out the scrumptious food. I feel that the restaurant really knows how to bring out the natural flavours of the lobster in their dishes, whilst keeping the food simple and palatable at the same time.

Said Jason, “We try and bring out the lobster flavours in each and every dish, regardless of what you order. Our lobsters are cooked in various ways and everyone has different palettes; so we will leave it to our customers to decide how they want their lobsters prepared.”

And like me, other customers at Pince & Pints, have generally had positive impressions of the eatery, according to Jason. He explained, “Our customer reviews are all largely positive so far and we have had repeated customers, which is good.”

Added Jason, “So this means that they either believe and trust that the food is tasty, or they find it value for money. That is important for us.”

Pince & Pints Katong

Address: 95 East Coast Road, Singapore 428793 (across from Katong i12)

Tel: 6386 3988

Opening Hours:

Mon – Fri: 12pm – 2.30pm, 5.30pm – 11pm

Sat – Sun & Public Holidays.: 11am – 11pm

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