Friday, April 4, 2014

I call Dibs on that at Duxton

The f&b scene is so breathlessly competitive nowadays with restaurants popping up almost every other day on the island.  The lions do, however, have a particular soft spot for local guys who dare brave the volatile and toilsome scene with their own creative take on what would usually be a run-of-the-mill menu. The latest entry to the already boisterous Duxton Hill is the low key Dibs. Boasting neither a superstar chef or exotic grub from some remote part of the world, Dibs still manages to charm in down-to-earth fashion, serving up unpretentious off-cuts and comfort fare executed with finesse and a cheeky hint of Asian flavours at play. 

Whimsical Alice in Wonderland-esque
menu illustration.
The ladies will be pleased with Umeshu in playful flavours
like Strawberry Milk, Yuzu and Lemon & Ginger.
Give the macho male his draught beer ($14). The Quollfrisch
Swiss Beer on tap was too light though. The ladies love the
winsome Strawberry Milk Umeshu ($8). Description read: rich,
tangy and candy-scented with lingering notes of freshly
picked strawberries

Someone in the group just came back from Korea with
a souvenir - high class seaweed snack pristinely sealed in a can.
Noti noti - they shouldn't have snacked but the crispy
vege sheets were too hard to resist.
Meat Butter ($15): veal marrow, teriyaki, bonito, parsley. This was the most
gorgeously executed marrow dish the lion has ever tucked into. It was not slimely
and had the sinful texture of foie gras. The scatter of bonito flakes was ingenious,
making this a satisfyingly rich dish full of bold umani flavours. 
The accompaying crusty baguette was also worth a mention.
It was fresh and addictive on its own. Yes, the lion is usually not partial
to bread as it fills up the belly fast but this is worth the calories and
extra slices. Mop up all the deliciously gooey bits of marrow.
An extra order of baguette was agreed upon unanimously at the table.
Smokey Cockles ($8): fresh cockles (not bloody at all)
with smoked chillis, bacon dashi. An aphrodisiac, one of
the ladies quipped. 
Despite the obviously frozen fish slices, this is a must order
dish. It reminded the lion of the hearty seafood stew that he had in
Nazare, Portugal cooked by a toothy grandma. This stewed seafood
pot ($65) was chockful of clams, prawns, halibut, monkfish, daikon
and bacon. It comes with a side of that addictive baguette.
The group weren't so fond of the Charred Lamb ($28)
though. Yes, the lamb short ribs were fall off the bone tender
but after sampling other strong tasting dishes,
this dish was surprisingly tasteless. More sauce please!

Steak & Radish ($34) with bovril, daikon, bonito and crispy
fries. The group loved this dish as well. The beef short ribs,
sous vide for 24 hrs, was succulent with surprisingly good
marbling. We hear that it's a cut from the prime Black Angus.
The meal ended with everyone sharing the dessert of
Bacon & Apples ($14). Thumbs up. It seems like the dessert was
no push over compared to the mains. We love the homemade
apple pie crust, candied bacon and buttermilk ice cream.
Lines of poetry etched in wood hang on the walls.
Chic dark woods, raw concrete and a soothing grey palate
make up the decor.
Open concept kitchen. The gang emerged relatively unscathed from fumes
in the enclosed area so kudos to the strong exhuast... .... 
A corner for large groups
You might like the friendly wait service to give their take
on the cheem poetic lines... ...

After reading about Chef Leong Khai Git's adoration of Fergus Henderson's nose-to-tail dining in the news, the meal here was a decidedly mild and palatable affair without all that gory guts. We call dibs on the grub here for its fine execution and subtle play on familiar Asian flavours in the modern European menu. Come in a group as the food is made here for sharing.

51 Duxton Road
Singapore 089515

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