Bincho @ Tiong Bahru

Bincho shares the same shop space as tiong bahru’s acclaimed Hua bee mee pok. Hua bee makes use of the front half, so take the back entrance for bincho.

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Essentially, bincho is a yakitori restaurant. But that is quite the understatement. I visited for lunch – they do yakitori rice bowls set lunch for $25-30. It is definitely one of the best, and most value for money set lunches in Singapore.

My dining companion ordered a pork don while I ordered a chicken patty don (they go by their japanese names on the menu, but I cannot remember them).

The set lunch comes with a slew of side dishes, and first of the lot is this cooked chicken/ carrot/ radish/ onion dish, drizzled with a light soupy gravy. Heart warming and appetizing.20140701-090305-32585673.jpg

Next was the salmon skin salad. Who doesn’t like fried salmon skin, right? Dressing for the salad was also a winner.

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Chicken wings in sweet sauce. I was surprised by their generosity. There were so many side dishes, and all of them quite good.

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Miso soup was special, they added some beans/ bits inside to add a crunchy texture. It was fun to drink the soup. I suspect they cooked the soup with pork bone because there is a unique flavour.

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If you have a small appetite, you might already be full by now. But the dons finally arrive and they are amazing!

My chicken patty don came with sweet potato, zucchini, jalapeño, onions, ginger, and topped with raw egg. I cleaned up the bowl spotless. So delicious. The chicken patty was so thick and juicy. I enjoyed the vegetables too because I don’t like too much meat. And the raw egg just took it to another level. I can’t even. I suspect this might be their signature dish, because it is at the top of their menu?

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My dining companion’s pork don came with a generous serving of pork, onions, and ginger on the side. The pork was a bit tough in my opinion, but it isn’t my favourite meat to begin with. My partner liked it though.

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Ended off with either a black sesame or green tea ice cream.20140701-090001-32401780.jpg

The gastronomic journey was exciting, and very affordable. Everybody should try bincho. There is no reason not to! I can see myself going back again and again for lunch. I wouldn’t mind going alone, or with an old friend for a catch up session. Note that it is not suitable for big groups as it is a very small place.

If you are interested in dinner, they have set meals at $60, 80, 120. Which I feel is reasonable as there is a lot more food.

aside: a few interesting things…

-it would be nice to cross over to plain vanilla nearby for a post-meal coffee and cake. I love the outdoor spacious concept of this space.

-furniture, chopsticks, etc are shared between Hua bee and bincho. It is interesting to see their different takes on the same items. While Hua bee looks old school, bincho looks rustic chic.

-menus are written on blackboards on the wall. There are no paper menus. If you have difficulty reading, they will happily take the blackboard off the wall, and hold it up in front of you!

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Bam! Tapas Sake Bar @ Tras Street

I do enjoy a good sake every now and then, but realize it is never consumed outside of japanese cuisine. Whereas wine and beer are universally accepted.

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I guess the founders of Bam think so too – executive chef of now defunct Santi at Marina Bay Sands worked together with sake expert Derrick Lim to start Bam, where tapas plates are recommended to be paired with their extensive list of sake. The choice to serve sake in wine glasses is also a symbol of fusing two different cultures.

The adventurous concept does not stop there. Dishes incorporate fine ingredients from Japan, Spain and around Asia into Spanish style dishes. The results were impressive – creative, refined, and tasty.

The first dish we had was “kampong egg with baby sotong and chorizo ($16)” This was great, but to be fair, you really can’t go wrong with a runny egg. But to add, everything on the plate was so refined, even baby sotong. It was a perfect deep fried golden down, crispy and flavourful. The textures of the crispy + runny + ham = winning formula.

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Next, we had “uni with burrata, salicorn and chicken soft bones ($33)”. This was foodgasmic. With every bite I put into my mouth, I closed my eyes and imagined a better world. Creamy uni mixed with milky buratta, why has this never been done before? They are a match made in food heaven and I still remember the explosion in my mouth today. I will go back just for this dish.

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“Pasta a la plancha with prawns and sake butter ($26)” was a bit less revolutionary, but comfort food at its best. Fresh and plump shrimp!20140701-085643-32203912.jpg

We ordered a bottle of sake to accompany our food. And all in all it was about $200 for everything. Prices are a bit steep here, considering the portions. But if you are in a group of friends and you are sharing it, it isn’t that bad. Plus it is deffo quality food.

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I really like the concept, and am happy that sake is growing more popular in Singapore.

Bye!

Dinings @ London

Let this post go out to my dining companion; who brought me here knowing I would love it, who always seems to know what I would order from ANY menu, and who generously picked up the check for this meal. Thank you. (Disclaimer: My horrendous photography obviously does no justice to Dinings)

“Everybody talks about Dinings,” my friend said to me. Here’s why.

Chefs Tomonari Chiba and Masaki Sugisaki hail from Nobu London, but left to found Dinings – a Japanese small plates concept adapted from traditional izakayas. The innovative menu shows European influences, but authenticity and freshness are never compromised under these chefs. They cooked their way to place Dinings at the top of Zagat’s “Best Japanese Restaurants in London”.

For a top restaurant, there is not a trace of pomposity here. The decor is utilitarian and there is no dress code (my partner even advised me to change out of my dress into jeans instead). The waiters are so friendly and knowledgable, eager to talk at length about the menu, from cover to cover. This is because Dinings has always pride themselves on making customers feel comfortable in a friendly atmosphere. Be forewarned that the space can get quite cramped, but I rather enjoyed eavesdropping on neighbouring conversations.

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First dish to arrive was our tartar chips, which are homemade potato crisps, filled with avocado, toro fatty tuna, vegetables and wasabi-jalepeno sauce. This is a signature of Dinings, and there are other variations of these chips if tuna is not your thing. Whatever you do, this is a must order. I had a conversation with my colleague the other day wholly on the chips at Dinings. (£8.50)

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The seabass carpaccio with fresh spring truffle and ponzu jelly, some say the best dish at Dinings (according to our waitress). Get used to it, because every dish here is decadent as hell. Check out the generous layers of truffle on top. The sour and tangy flavours whetted our appetites. However, we noted that if this dish were to come later during the meal we would not like it as much, because the sourness is very strong. (£19.80)

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Tuna tartare with fresh truffle was an off the menu item. Can you tell that I love my starters? (£17.80)

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Wagyu beef tataki with ponzu and porcini oil (£18.85) Picture below from zagat because my own picture sucks.

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Time for some hot food, because everything before this was cold. The grilled aubergine with sweet miso was a beautiful giant half piece of aubergine, great texture (firm yet melt in your mouth), cooked in sweet miso paste and served piping hot! This would convert even eggplant haters! I still dream about the flavour! (£6.70) We also got a miso soup with salmon that is not pictured, (£4.75).

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Seared yellowtail belly with yuzu kyosho (yuzu with a black pepper kick – another signature at Dinings) (£5.45)

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Scottish salmon “zuke” style topped with caramelized onion-soy-jam. (£4.95)

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Seared Yuzu-soy marinated Santa Barbara shrimp sushi topped with kizami-wasabi, which is a Dinings version of wasabi. (£6.45)

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Seared wagyu beef sushi topped with foie-gras and sweet soy (£8.45)

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I always have the best dessert at Japanese restaurants. Below is mustard shiso ice cream, topped with a pork slice. (£6.70) The mustard was mild, yet undeniable. So ingenious and one of the best things I’ve had in life. I like to think of it as a new age salted caramel.

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We booked 2 weeks in advance and the total damage was £150 after tax. Amazing meal and will definitely come back.

Fat Cow

Got back from vacation a few days ago. Landed at 3am, and with bare minimum shut-eye, I made it out to Fat Cow for lunch. Purely out of impulse. At 1pm I called them up “Can I come in for lunch now?”. Well it actually doesn’t get that crowded (especially not on a Monday) but I would rather be safe.

So you’ve heard of the famed wagyu bowls. Seen them on instagram for sure. At $50 for the lunch set you’re still contemplating. Well I know whatever I say here (good or bad) you’re still going to want to try it for yourself. But let me share my thoughts anyway.There’s surprisingly quite a selection for set lunch. But we still did the predictable and ordered the wagyu-foie gras rice bowls.

Prior to this I always thought of Fat Cow as a magical place where every bite is an orgasmic mouthful of unicorn shit. Every grain of rice is instagram-worthy and you kind of die a little thinking of the juices from the meat.

What I was about to find out sorely disappointed. Maybe they packaged things a little differently – sophisticated interiors, luxurious ingredients – and that’s what people dig. But food-wise, what we tried failed to live up to the hype. Stop overhyping for the wrong reasons people.

The lunch set comes with salad, miso soup and chawanmushi as starters. There is also ice-cream for dessert.

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The salad was so good. I drank up the tangy dressing. I detected some plum in there! I don’t understand why the group of indonesian girls beside me didn’t touch their salad at all. Like not one bit. They returned it to the waitress untouched.

I was shocked that the chawanmushi was so bland. I thought, maybe they made the egg bland to let other things stand out. I tried to reason for them. I was still on their side.

When the rice bowl came I wanted to love it, but the beef was so tough. I asked for medium rare… We’ve had better beef at New Ubin Seafood. That’s zichar. This is fine dining. Something’s wrong here. I found myself saving the foie gras for last because that was the saving grace of the dish. You can’t really make bad foie gras. Also my lunch companion noted that they did not even use sushi rice? (I can’t recall now.)

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When the ice cream came I didn’t want it at first. But I took a spoonful and all changed. Was it chocolate-caramel? Best part of the meal. Best ice cream of my life even. I kept joking that I would go back to Fat Cow just for their ice cream.

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Overall we spent $54 per person for the set lunch. Ironic because I probably spent that amount on food for all 3 days of my vacation in Bali.

Address
#01-01, Camden Medical Centre, 1 Orchard Boulevard
Phone
67350308