First published on 2 Dec 2011. Updated on 7 Dec 2011.
The lowdown: Wipe that furrow and un-purse those lips – the word’s pronounced ‘skew’, after the skewers used for rotisserie cooking. And this new riverside eatery from chef-honcho Emmanuel Stroobant – whose impressive roll call of Euro-slanted eateries includes St Pierre, Picotin, The French Kitchen, Brussels Sprouts and Rocks Urban Bar + Grill – purveys exactly that. Spit-roasted chicken, beef, lamb and pork are all on the menu, as well as an elephantine list of nearly 200 international bottled beers (although not all were available during our visit) and ten draught equivalents.
Set into The Central shopping mall’s terrace facing the river, this half outdoor quick-food establishment is part Denny’s, part Harry’s, but looks like neither: the glass-enclosed, air-conditioned sections are decorated with light-coloured wooden furniture, lit up by yellow bulbs hanging in forest-green lampshades, while the rest of the space – which seats 256, yet feels smaller – spreads into the balmy outdoors.
This fan-ventilated alternative has a mixture of tall and dining-height chairs, which all offer a direct eyeline to the flatscreen TVs hanging on pillars and tuned in to sports channels. Order at the counter, or at the table via tickbox menus; the typesize is minuscule, so those lacking 20/20 vision should bring along reading specs.
What we ate: Forgo the rotisserie and stick to the main-worthy appetiser: the devilish-looking chilli dog ‘sandwich’ ($12). The original-style bun is toasted on the outside, leaving a crisp shell and a soft pillow for the smoked and spicy chicken sausage to be placed. The meaty finish comes from the chilli con carne that’s ladled on top before being ribboned with bottle-squeezed mustard and mayonnaise. ‘Bring back A&W’ supporters can put their flags down.
The other menu options we sampled ranged from lacklustre to sorely disappointing: the chicken wings (and drumlets, $12), though succulent, were dunked in a non-spicy ‘spicy marinade’. And pervasive throughout – in our rotisserie chicken (half $24, whole $32) and baby-back pork ribs ($36) – were unexpectedly flaccid skins. It seemed like what might have once been crisp had been left under the heat lamp so long that the insides dried out onto the peel. Ditto the roast potatoes. We attempted to wash the texture down with the Mocha Porter beer (355ml, 5.3 per cent ABV, $12.50), which has the nose of grape-flavoured Fanta and a bitter aftertaste; the beer goggles that appear with the caramel-topped, kelp-tinted, ‘anti-ageing’ German Schwarzbier (500ml, 4.8 per cent ABV, $19) almost worked.
The verdict: The screens, dogs and beers make Sque a good spot for baseball fans (if said all- American sport can be found on the TV screens). Chug down the big portions of appetisers but avoid the mains, especially the rotisserie.