Saturday, November 16, 2013

Uniquely Singapore-inspired Cusine at Pidgin Kitchen & Bar

The lions seldom rave about restaurants in general given their fussy palates and easy ennui for run-of-the-mill 'meh' joints. But Pidgin Kitchen & Bar certainly deserves the top spot on their list of favourite dining establishments that opened this year (Oh pity the closure of Sur Nuevo!). Fresh local produce and Singapore-inspired sharing plates take centre stage in this elegant but casual Dempsey restaurant with its high airy ceilings; warm, unobstrusive service; and inventive dishes heavy on local references and inspiration. Razor Clam Tau Suan, anyone? Hey, if Chef Willin Low's Wild Rocket was the father of Mod-Sing cuisine, this would be its very precocious child. Kudos to owner Adrian Ling for re-working Pamplemousse into such a refreshing concept! Put this gem of a restaurant down on your must-eat agenda when taking your overseas friends on a local food trail. Fresh Pulau Ubin oysters featured on the daily specials when the lions were there.

Oh my, let the pigging out begin...
A bouquet of pink lilies welcome intrepid diners.
Have an aperitif at the bar before commencing your meal with friends. Oh heck,
bring all the cocktails to the table man!
Simple modern chic furnishings gave the place
an easy and open vibe that was reflected on the faces of
diners engaged in animated conversations.

The cat is pleased.
First up: Bread & Butter & More served in a
brown takeaway bag.
Tear open the package baby!
The array of bread served was honestly nuthin to rave
about. But dip them in the accompanying Marmite pesto
and oh my goodness, you'll wish you had more...
Save your carbs tho!
Highly recommended - the piquant Crab Otak Croquettes with
Chye Poh Remoulade and Southeast Asian Spices.
The lions love Violet Oon's Baltimore Crab Cakes (best on the island!)
but this really urm... takes the cake for its sheer ingenuity in
melding East and West influences.
One of the lion's favourite dishes - the popular superfood, Quinoa.
This is a rather heavy dish though. The lion is usually partial to food that is
umami-packed and this is it.  The savoury dish is cooked with Tomato & Pandan
and Chinese Olive Vegetable.
Razor Clams Tau Suan is a classy re-interpretation of the
comforting sweet and starchy local dessert. Here,
it comes in the savoury form of a well-executed clam dashi
soup served with al dente split mung beans that packed
a surprising bite. Lovely play in textures.
The deceptively simple dish of Sambal Eggs
made with kampong chicken eggs, piperade and sambal tumis
was a real treat especially when the eager spoon hits the
baguette at the bottom.
The Lobster Wanton Capellini was a bit of a let-down though.
Nothing interesting here and the portion was miniscule for the price. Should have
gone with the Bak Kwa Mac & Cheese instead.
The Pork Ribs with sinful tea smoked bone marrow tasted comfortingly
familiar; it was as if the flavourful essence of bak kut teh (a herbal pork rib soup)
was infused in every part of the tender meat. 
The more straight-forward duck confit was a safe bet with
moist tender meat under a crisp skin. This classic dish will
go down well with less adventurous palates.
The Beef Short Rib Bourguignon with Kicap Manis and Pomme Puree
is also a main worth trying for its lovely tender texture and heady mix of red wine
  flavour coupled with a kick of that infamous umami-packed dark sauce.
Milo Dinosaur Version 2.1:
72% Dark Chocolate Flourless Cake, Milo Ice-cream,
Milo Streusel and Dulce de Leche. This dessert is the
clincher that will make you come back for more
of its euphoric goodness. In fact, the sweet-toothed
lioness reckons that it is one of her favourite desserts of
the year. Nuff said.

At their next visit with Mr Business Times and gang, the lions had the sweet opportunity of trying out more items (yellowed pictures taken with crummy phone):

Foie Gras with Rojak Sauce and Sarawak Pineapple.
Another must-order delicacy that went surprisingly well
with the thick and pungent shrimp paste sauce.
Skip this dessert of osmanthus (could hardly taste it)
creme brulee with lychee sorbet and go for the... ... 
Bandung Panna Cotta subtly perfumed with aromatic rose syrup.
The tart rhubarb sauce was a great foil to the otherwise refreshingly clean
flavour of the panna cotta.
Kaya Bread & Butter Pudding is only second to the Milo Dinosaur.
Order these two desserts even if you are too stuffed for words.
The accompanying milk tea ice-cream had the taste of
a delightful cup of smoky oolong tea.

Pidgin Kitchen & Bar certainly lives up to its reputation of serving up stellar dishes with a local or Asian-inspired bent. It's moniker is no doubt a reference to the local vernacular spawned in the meeting of diverse cultures on this island, much like the East-meets-West inspiration behind each dish here. 

Pidgin Kitchen & Bar
7 Dempsey Road
Singapore 249671


  1. is this a media invite tasting ? why didn't you state so

    1. Nope it wasn't an invited session :) Went with a bunch of friends.

  2. Who is Mr Business Times?

  3. Hey there, we give all our friends pet names here. Mr Business Times is a regular makan kaki who loves his daily read of financial news.