The Singapore Restaurant Neil Perry Raves About

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Jun 25, 2018

by NEIL PERRY, Qantas Creative Director – Food, Beverage & Service

Need another reason to visit Singapore? Then try feasting on the much-lauded barbecue of Burnt Ends restaurant.

When I walked into Burnt Ends in Singapore, I knew I was going to love it. Not because I had heard so many good things about the barbecue restaurant or that it had won a lot of accolades (number 12 on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list in 2018). I just loved the whole idea of it.

Diners sit in a long, narrow room facing the kitchen. In fact, the chefs are prepping and plating right in front of the guests. The fabulous timber that separates customers and workers is really the thing that brings them together – you can even feel the heat from the grills. Two woodfired ovens – plus the coals glowing within – are the heart of the kitchen (and the inspiration for the venue’s name).

Perth-born chef Dave Pynt, who has cooked under Spanish grill master Victor Arguinzoniz of Asador Etxebarri, opened the restaurant in Chinatown five years ago. He’s in the kitchen tonight with about 10 other chefs, all of whom cook and plate in front of us in a relaxed manner that belies their intense care and concentration.

And the menu? It’s thrilling. We started with smoked quail egg with caviar; the creamy texture of the egg complemented the salty caviar perfectly. The burnt-flour grissini with taramasalata was next and even more delicious – the slightly smoky crisp bread carried a velvety taramasalata that was just about the smoothest I’ve ever had.

I want the steak frites – fried potatoes topped with steak tartare and caviar – every day, please. And add the beef and uni (sea urchin) to my daily wish list, too. The smoky flavour of the beef and the salty, creamy sweetness of the uni were sublime.

A procession of dishes followed: corn lardo; Jamaican chicken with lime crema; eggplant and miso; asparagus in bacon with furikake; beef marmalade with housemade pickles; leeks, hazelnut and brown butter; marron and tobiko beurre blanc; and, to finish, 45-day dry-aged Blackmore Wagyu.

It was simply awesome – every dish had that wonderful smokiness from the grill, which was matched by perfect seasoning and spot-on cooking. This is a restaurant built on top produce and a real understanding of how to cook with wood. It also felt like a community. Dave and the crew knew many of the diners, greeting them with wide smiles. We were taken on a wonderful journey. I can’t wait to go back. 

SEE ALSO: The Definitive Dining Guide to Singapore