I had been trying for many months to get a reservation at Burnt Ends in Singapore but could never get the availability and my schedule to match. On this occasion, however, the food gods smiled upon me and granted me a last minute booking! Camera and notebook in hand, not to mention a healthy appetite, I flew to Burnt Ends for dinner.
The restaurant itself is fairly small with very limited and desirable seating with the custom built 4 tonne dual cavity oven taking pride of place in the centre of the kitchen. The counter seats are the seats to reserve as it puts you right in the heart of the action but, be warned, this is not your quiet and romantic dinner kind of place. Burnt ends is a fiery, vibrant, restaurant that exudes a sophisticated casual vibe.
I was promptly seated and handed the menu of the day and the delightful Australia-centric wine list. With so much to choose from on the menu, I decided it best to opt for the “Chef’s Select” offering – an epic battle between kitchen and appetite was about to ensue.
The meal started off with the Smoked Quail Egg and Caviar. Perfectly smoked quail egg that was neither overly dry nor overly smoked. The subtle smokiness was complemented perfectly with the saltiness of the caviar. It was a simple dish that was presented simply too, but it all worked quite well – a great start.
The Jamaican Chicken and Lime Crema quickly followed and at first glance was nothing special to look at. A charred piece of chicken isolated on a marble slab – but the taste?! Oh my! A divine piece of chicken that was perfectly moist and tender with just the right blend of jerk spice. Honestly, the lime crema was not needed and they could have just handed me a basket of these chicken pieces and I’d be perfectly happy.
Eggplant and Miso was up next. I’m not the biggest fan of eggplant but I have tried and appreciated many great eggplant dishes around the world. Unfortunately, this was not one of them. The eggplant, was soggy and bitter and the sharpness of the miso did not flow with the dish at all. Perhaps it’s my bias against eggplant talking, but I found this dish to be flat and lifeless.
After a few rounds of smaller bites, the excellent server informed me that we were now moving on to some of the bigger plates starting of with the Kingfish, Apple and Seaweed. At first glance the fish looked like it was definitely going to be overcooked with an extremely charred skin but I was wrong. The fish was perfectly cooked and seasoned wonderfully with the flesh taking on a little of the smoke flavour. The dish itself, again, was let down by the accompanying salad which was soggy and tasteless. In fact, if you left the dish sitting for a while, the sogginess of the salad started to be soaked into the excellent fish.
All the disappointment of the fish was quickly forgotten when the lobster was placed in front of me. The W. A. Marron, Tobiko and Kombu Beurre Blanc was absolutely perfect in every way! Moist and soft with the roe just bursting between my teeth releasing intense pockets of saltiness that contrasted the sweetness of the lobster meat and all of it carried in a sea of a light and creamy beurre blanc. Finally, I could start to see why there was so much buzz about this place.
Hot on the tail of the lobster was a serving of Rump, Burnt Onion and Bone Marrow. Again, just like the lobster, a gem of a dish! Perfectly prepared beef that simply melted in my mouth taking with it my concerns about one or two of the previous dishes. The burnt onion and bone marrow had me licking my plate and wishing that we could have jumped to this earlier and had more if it!
Burnt Ends is definitely a unique restaurant and certainly one that I would rate as ‘Good’. A lot of effort has gone into creating a vibrant space that succeeds in making fine dining a casual affair and the service is definitely world class. However, the good dishes are great and the couple that are not great fall a little flat in execution. Burnt ends is also an fairly expensive restaurant compared to similar restaurants in the same city. Having said all of this, I still feel that I can recommend Burnt Ends for a visit and be confident you would come out satisfied.
‘Triple F’ Factor 0/1