Burnt Ends: Can I have a little bit of smoke with everything?


To say that this was a long awaited experience is certainly an understatement. After a futile visit the first time around during the hectic lunch hour (before reservations were accepted); we were glad to find out that Burnt Ends had started to accept lunch reservations. We jumped the gun quickly and made the call just in time for our monthly celebrations.

Entering the domains of the restaurant, you are greeted by a bustle of action, deliberate movements all around the tight space of the open kitchen that spans the length of the establishment. A circus act of agile chefs dancing around the heightened flames of the four-ton, double-cavity wood burning brick kiln. The elephant in the room. One who's ominous presence dictates the flavors of the entire menu.

The restaurant's color palette is kept light and natural. Shades of greys and cream are complemented by occasional pops of colors from the bespoke varnished burnt rain-tree wood counter. Loh Lik Peng evidently blowing a breathe of magic into the place, stylising it with a touch of industrial-chic.

We kick off the much anticipated meal with Smoked Quail Eggs ($6) , bouncy balls reminiscent of tea-smoked eggs with a thick veil of smokiness. Flecked with large crystals of sea salt with an irresistible burst of fatty sunshine yolks within. These were an absolute showstopper of a starter.

The Smoked beef and horseradish ($18) was a refined dish comprising of beef tartare once again imprinted with the slightess hint of smoke topped with a magical shower of fresh horseradish done at the pass by Chef David Pynt himself . 

The next dish takes the seasonal humble leek and turns it into something novel and delicious with the inclusion of some other unsuspecting ingredients. Leeks, hazelnut and browned butter ($16), turned out to be my favourite dish of the evening. Unassuming in terms of looks, the smoked leeks peeled out from its charred outer leaves were elevated by the generous dose of buerre noisette, parsley, capers and toasted hazelnuts.

One of Mr. Pynt's favourite dishes on the menu is the Kingfish, apple and seaweed ($21); a slab of kingfish collar with sweet flesh perfumed with umami flavors of its soy and mirin marinade under its carbon treated exterior. Not too flattering to look at to be honest but it does speak volumes for the type of cuisine Burnt Ends is proud to produce.

To top our experience off, we dived in straight for the kill. The Burnt Ends Sanger ($20); pulled pork shoulder, cole slaw, chipotle aioli, brioche bun. What more can I say? The fork tender pork, subjected to a gruelling 10-hour of cooking ritual before being smothered in an angry sluice of tangy chipotle aioli in a airy sesame seed bun. The mixture of textures, freshness of the coleslaw and punchy flavors created a sweet dance of sensations on the palate. It was at most good, but didn't provide the 'smack-down' I was hoping for with its terribly good looks.

Burnt Ends have received unprecedented media attention since its opening and I'm sure its novel concept has a part to play, especially amongst a constant gang-bang of restaurants with a contemporary fusion themed menu. With dishes highlighting David Pynt's Australian 'laid-back' nature, each of them simple but given a little snap, crackle and pop; most of them end up being more satisfying than its meek description on the menu. A place for special occasions and special occasions ONLY. (Unless you've got loads of moolahs to spare; then in that case, knock yourselves out!)

Burnt Ends
20 Teck Lim Road

Tonkichi: my steadfast love


When I crave a good tonkatsu (once in a bluemoon), I only turn to one place.

My rock, my steadfast love, that manages to fill the entirety of all my cravings, nooks and crannies inclusive; that is Tonkichi. And if that isn't specific enough, I implode you please patronise the Takashimaya brunch for the most outstanding meal.

Deliciously golden brown, rich and salaciously juicy, the fried rosu katsu is the perfect thickness with the panko crumb crust adhering with a gentle magnetic touch to the flesh. With free flow of cabbage and rice thrown into the mix, one can fill up on the slight excessive tangle of greens with the addictive Japanese wafu-style salad dressing which helps to keep everything in check and cuts through the fat.

Question: Where would you turn to for the best tonkatsu?

Tonkichi (Takashimaya)
391 Orchard Road #04-24
Takashimaya Shopping Centre
Tower A, Ngee Ann City
Singapore 238872

Spathe Public House: #Savour2014 throwbacks


#savour2014 was pretty much the most frequently used hashtag in the month of March. A relentless stream of posts on my instagram feed that I treated like a monkey on my back. Mainly because of the fact that I couldn't be there. A gourmet food festival featuring the likes of Michelin starred chefs and other illustrious restaurants in Singapore all convening in one single convivial location. I was sore.

Hence, when I chanced upon Savour recap of festival favourites, I jumped aboard eagerly. For 2 weeks, a specially created SAVOUR inspired menu had been crafted at a few bespoke establishments around the island for those meaning to "keep the savour buzz going". I was one of the fortunate few who was able to squeeze it into her visiting schedule.

SPATHE PUBLIC HOUSE was my choice, drawn to its innovative 5 course menu and copious amounts of good reviews to its savour offerings. 

At first glance, my breathe was stolen by the sight of a fleet of low sofas and mismatched chairs. The brick walls jazzed up by a fresh coat of paint in bold colors and brave artistic prints. Self professed to be serving "European" fare, the menu featured a few playful injections of local influences that steered it towards the "fusion" side of cuisine, a potential dangerous casting as it is rare for a restaurant to come swirling out of the chaos; when most of the time, this choice of direction coughs up half-formed and unconvincing places. 

Our first two courses came out swiftly, Charcoal Smoke Tomato Soup with crispy St Maure goat cheese, extra virgin olive oil & Sous Vide Spanish Octopus Salad with baby spinach, orange, garlic soil, honey, wholegrain mustard vinaigrette. With the former dish, its all about the details in the fabric; the slight char on the tomatoes, the crispy bits of ooey gooey goats cheese. It was a fabulous tomato soup, one that spoke maturity in terms of balance and seasoning. The Octopus salad was stellar as well, the sweet tart tension of the honey wholegrain mustard vinaigrette pulling the dish together; the orange segments introducing fresher and brighter flavor; the octopus, however possessed a rather incomprehensible texture, almost like chicken but underscored with a sense of rich, sea-slicked spice. Intriguing.

The menu steers off-course towards a more whimsical approach with the next offering, Belgian Waffles & Fried Chicken with Mornay Sauce. A fluffy lattice of conjugal bliss of flour, milk, sugar and salt creates the hinterland of your food fantasy, the cracks and crevices forming pockets for the nappage of that sweet sweet cheese sauce to rest in. The crisp fried chicken perfumed with spices and paprika cumulating in a smack down when the triad convenes in one mouthful. 

Sambal, triple cheese, bacon, crispy chicken Truffle Melt. You know I love my burgers but this unfortunately didn't quite float my boat with its inharmonious flight of flavors, the piquancy of the sambal failing to sing in unison with the overdose of truffle oil. 

Desserts arrived in a true Aussie fashion (the long wait now understandable), a bold brick of Sticky Toffee Pudding with Hokey Pokey Ice Cream. Laced with a rim of butterscotch sauce, my preoccupation with digging into the dessert was not one shared by my partner. That's alright, more for me. More dates could have been employed in the pudding, the excess of sultanas thrown into the mix, quite a turn-off for me; the hokey pokey ice cream studded with crunchy bits of honeycomb toffee was a perfect match to the warm pudding. A beguiling slice of dessert that I greedily polished off.

Spathe is a perfect backdrop for creative fine dining menu with a languish chilled vibe. Coupled with earnest, civilized and unhurried service, it isn't difficult to see myself back here for another meal in the near future.

8 Mohamed Sultan Road
Singapore 238958
+65 67351035