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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Open Door Policy @ Tiong Bahru

On my birthday weekend, I invited a few friends to dinner. I didn’t want a place that was too solemn, just somewhere casual and cool. Open Door Policy is perfect as it is a café but with an adult vibe. Adult – that’s what 22 calls for.

The menu was contemporary western, and slightly unconventional. I was intrigued at first but then I realized there was nothing I was dying to order from the menu. At last we settled for a tuna tartare that came with keropok, and a quail dish as starters. The quail tasted very Asian, like a tze char dish with sweet n sour sauce + crispy noodle. MISS. Tuna tartare was a HIT, everyone loves keropok right?

Tuna tartare hiding under kerepok

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The restaurant that night was flooded with angmohs, there were only two groups including us that were locals. This is when we figured that angmohs would be into such cuisine. Coupled with the Manhattan vibe of the bistro.

I decided to get a duck pasta and I expected slices of duck, but was presented with minced meat. It’s a very simple dish with tomato sauce, minced meat and not much else. But done very well. I think the other dishes my friends ordered were executed well too, beef was tender, fish was fresh.

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The dessert was the best part though. I saw a watercress and blue cheese dish and my curiosity got the better of me. No one dared to touch it when it came. It was in no way sweet at all. It belongs on the salad page for sure. Poached peaches were unimpressive.

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Anyway the starters and mains were all really good, the food here is great but I don’t think it’s for me ~~ I will not be intruding on this ang moh land anytime soon!

(About $60 a person)
19 Yong Siak Street
62219307