The Penny Black

April 16, 2014 Ivan Teh - RunningMan 0 Comments

The Penny Black
27 Boat Quay

Authentic British English Pub Grub

(Ratings: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 = Worst and 10 = Best)
Overall: 8
Ambience & Setting: 8
Food & Beverage: 9
Service: 8
Value for Money: 8
Spent about SGD $30 per person.


Named after the world's first self-adhesive postage stamp, The Penny Black is the quintessential Victorian English public house. With an interior almost exclusively designed and built in London, an 'al-fresco' area overlooking the Singapore river, and a private function area for events, The Penny Black is truely an escape into traditional England / London public houses.

Ambience at The Penny Black is styled as an authentic, typical British pub. Warm, low lighting and olden wood adorn the place, and furniture ranges from high bar stools to family sized table dining. The 'al-fresco' area has great ambience, but suffers from high ambient temperatures as well. The Penny Black really does remind me of most pubs in London!

Service at The Penny Black is friendly, fast and efficient. Staff are welcoming, always smiling, and able to offer advice on the menu. Food is prepared and served relatively quickly, within 10 minutes. While the staff are frequently moving around, I noticed that they do engage you in conversation if you pull up a chair at the bar.

The Penny Black offers hearty, authentic British English pub grub, from classic favourites, to some uncommon British dishes. Portions are huge, and well worth the money. Most of the dishes I sampled pack good flavour, are tasty, and are freshly prepared daily. The Penny Black also has several ongoing promotions that change quite regularly.


Designed like a typical British English public house, both the exterior and interior transport you into England!

The Penny Black Facade

Beer Old Speckled Hen has a full, smooth, malty flavour, a fruity aroma, and a deep amber colour. With tastes of toffee and malt, followed by a mild bitterness and sweetness, and a dry finish, this English beer is rather untraditional. Beer Old Speckled Hen is named for an paint speckled English car used by factory workers.

Beer Old Speckled Hen 01

Beer Old Speckled Hen 02

Beer Kilkenny Irish Ale has a dark ruby colour with a smooth foam head, a malty taste with hints of caramel, toffee and roast, slight bitterness but smooth texture, and a light malt aroma. Beer Kilkenny Irish Ale can be traced back to the 14th Century, where it was first brewed in Ireland.

Beer Kilkenny Irish Ale 01

Beer Kilkenny Irish Ale 02

Cider Strongbow is a popular English cider, with a pale straw colour, an aroma of apples and a dry mouthfeel. It's quite light on taste, and some consider this not a 'pure' cider because of carbonation.

Cider Strongbow 01

Cider Strongbow 02

Pimm's And Lemonade (SGD $15) is a traditional British English summer cocktail, perfect on hot days. Made with Pimm's No. 1 liqueur, lemonade, lemon slice, orange slice and mint, I love this for being a refreshing thrist quencher.

Pimm's And Lemonade 01

Pimm's And Lemonade 02

Pimm's And Lemonade 03

Beer Heineken is a popular Dutch brand of lager beer that is very common in Singapore.

Beer Heineken

The Sunday Roast, also known as Traditional Roast Beef (SGD $18), features slices of tender, medium-rare beef, in a savoury brown meat gravy. The house signature Parmeson mashed potato is smooth and creamy, while the Yorkshire pudding is perfectly baked, crisp outside and soft inside. The vegetables of broccoli and carrots were almost an afterthought, and not very good, but the sauteed button mushrooms are fresh, not the canned variety. I also loved the house made potato wedges, thick cut with full potato flavour.

Sunday Roast Beef 01

Sunday Roast Beef 02

Sunday Roast Beef 03

Sunday Roast Beef 04

The Bread & Butter Pudding (SGD $10) features layers of buttered bread tightly packed together, then baked in an egg and milk mix, served with a generous drizzle of house made custard sauce. Sweet, filling, and satisfying!

Bread & Butter Pudding 01

Bread & Butter Pudding 02

Bread & Butter Pudding 03

Not many places in Singapore can get Yorkshire pudding right, which is why I'm very pleased to see the Toad In The Hole (SGD $19) here. A huge Yorkshire pudding, perfectly baked with crisp exterior and warm, soft, fluffy interior holds slices of an English herbed pork sausage and meaty Harris pork sausage, with savoury sweet caramelised onion gravy on the side. A rather uncommon dish, even in England.

Toad In The Hole 01

Toad In The Hole 02

Toad In The Hole 03

Toad In The Hole 04

The Traditional English Fish 'N' Chips (SGD $16) lives up to its name. A large, fresh fillet of Dory fish, coated in a thin yet crisp ale batter, cooked to order. The batter shatters easily when cut, and the fish is perfectly done. But I find the side of mushy peas slightly too grainy, though the taste of peas is there. Straight cut English chips sit under the fish, and I noticed that some tend to soak up oil from the batter. Splash some malt vinegar and a dash of salt, and this is one proper meal.

Traditional English Fish 'N' Chips 01

Traditional English Fish 'N' Chips 02

Traditional English Fish 'N' Chips 03

Traditional English Fish 'N' Chips 04

The Cottage Pie (SGD $14), also sometimes known in England as Shepherd's Pie, features a thick layer of the house signature parmesan mashed potatoes on a thin layer of savoury minced beef and diced carrots. The dish is savoury and tasty, without being too salty, but I wish there was a thicker layer of meat and vegetables. Overall, a rather average dish.

Cottage Pie 01

Cottage Pie 02

Cottage Pie 03

Cottage Pie 04

The classic Sticky Toffee Pudding (SGD $10) is served with a moist, warm sponge cake stuffed with dates, and doused in a rich, thick, caramel toffee sauce. The vanilla ice cream provides a nice cool foil contrasting the warm cake, while the strawberries, blueberries and raspberries provide a refreshing zing. I loved the authentic taste of this dessert!

Sticky Toffee Pudding 01

Sticky Toffee Pudding 02

Sticky Toffee Pudding 03

Bangers 'N' Mash (SGD $16) is a traditional British English pub grub, and the version here doesn't disappoint. Meaty, perfectly grilled sausages that are still moist within, with a hint of herb, on a bed of fluffy mashed potato and warm baked beans, all covered in a savoury brown onion gravy. Lovely and satisfying.

Bangers 'N' Mash 01

Bangers 'N' Mash 02

Bangers 'N' Mash 03

Bangers 'N' Mash 04

The traditional classic Full English Breakfast (SGD $17), also called the English Fry Up, is a decadent, unashamedly unhealthy dish, loved by the British. I loved the perfectly grilled, meaty harris sausages, and the smoky, salty back bacon. The sauteed mushrooms were juicy, as was the nicely grilled whole tomato sprinkled with black pepper. The 2 sunny side up fried eggs still had semi runny yolks, and the baked beans were warm and satisfying. I also loved the thick cut English chips, but I didn't like the oily fried toast which tasted of frying oil.

Full English Breakfast 01

Full English Breakfast 02

Full English Breakfast 03

Full English Breakfast 04

The Blackened Salmon (SGD $20) was the most disappointing dish here. Yes, the salmon fish was tasty and meaty, and the portion was generous. But the flesh was dry. The mashed potato, while smooth, could have been better with some sauce, as the overall dish was dry. The salad was fresh, and I especially loved the juicy cherry tomatoes. But it was also oily. Also, I couldn't detect the use of black peppercorn as stated in the menu description. Skip this.

Blackened Salmon 01

Blackened Salmon 02

Blackened Salmon 03

Blackened Salmon 04

A British English dish that was adapted from Indian cuisine, the Mulligatawny Soup (SGD $8) differs from its origin by consisting of root vegetables such as carrots and celery, along with onions and white rice. The flavour of the broth is from spices such as curry powder, along with chicken stock. Served with a slice of garlic bread, this is a satisfying and lovely start to a meal.

Mulligatawny Soup 01

Mulligatawny Soup 02

Mulligatawny Soup 03

Mulligatawny Soup 04

A spin on the Ploughman's Lunch, the version of Ploughman's Salad (SGD $18) here is more like a main course than a salad course. A half loaf of crisp baguette bread sits on top of butter, mesclun salad, pickled pearl onions, capsicum / bell peppers in mustard sauce, slices of perfect roast beef, and 3 types of cheese! Pair with beer for the classic feel!

Ploughman's Salad 01

Ploughman's Salad 02

Ploughman's Salad 03

Ploughman's Salad 04

The Beef And Ale Pie (SGD $18) isn't exactly a pie, more like a beef casserole with a puff pastry crust. The crust is perfectly flaky, shattering when poked. Within, an average sized portion of fork tender beef, marinated in a savoury onion and meat brown gravy, spiked with Old Speckled Hen Beer. The mushy peas were average, being a little grainy, not as smooth as I like.

Beef And Ale Pie 01

Beef And Ale Pie 02

Beef And Ale Pie 03

Beef And Ale Pie 04

I was marginally displeased with the vegetarian Bubble & Squeak (SGD $15), not because of execution, but because of substance. The individual components of potato & onion cake, sauteed button mushrooms, and 1 fried egg were all perfectly cooked and delicious, but I can't help feeling that for the price, this was rather unsubstantial. Could be better if they added another fried egg, or put some vegetables on the side.

Bubble & Squeak 01

Bubble & Squeak 02

Bubble & Squeak 03


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