[Singapore] Burnt Ends | Experiencing bold new flavour combinations (1 Michelin star)
On a Thursday night, I was surprised with a flight ticket to Singapore. To fly the next night! After getting over the initial excitement, my mind jumped to making restaurant reservations. To me, Singapore is a place where you don’t really need to plan ahead food-wise unless there’s a specific place you don’t want to miss. It’s really hard to have a bad meal in the Lion City. Basically everywhere is decent or they wouldn’t survive. And it’s one of the best places in the world for eating well on a budget. Heck, even one of the hawker stalls was awarded one Michelin star. But for me, this time, there was one restaurant that I didn’t want to miss: Burnt Ends.
Even before it made the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants List (#10 for 2018), I knew of it because it was right around the corner from my church. It was always buzzing, and friends of mine who had gone raved about the quality of the meat and unique flavours. So it was top of my list for this trip, but after trying to book through their online system, it turned I couldn’t get a reservation for at least two months. Of course, where there’s a will, there’s a way, and I emailed them to see if perhaps we could walk-in during an off hour. Sheena, the restaurant’s lovely host, suggested after 10:30pm would be best. And she was right! At this time of night, the restaurant was still 75% full of new diners (i.e. not from the 6pm or 6:30pm seatings that take reservations) and quite a few were still there when we left close to 2am.
Overall, I think the experience was wonderful for three main reasons:
1. Value-for-money: For being such a renowned restaurant, the majority of things on the menu were surprisingly affordable and delicious/creative.
2. Service: everyone from Sheena the host to Dave the founder and Chef were very friendly and willing to chat and share their opinions.
3. Vibe: the chefs are so clearly passionate about what they do, it’s awesome to be able to watch them in action since the restaurant is essentially a big open kitchen.
And how was the food?
My favourite dishes were from what I would call the small bites section. The Grissini and Taramasalata (S$12 or roughly $70, shown broken in half) was an excellent way to start our meal. The addition of dill and green onion added unexpected freshness to the salty-smooth spread.
The Beef Marmalade and House Pickles (S$14 or roughly $80 for two pieces) was a perfect example of how delicious candied meat can be. With the pickles it reminded me of the sickly sweet Big Mac but in the best way. Fans of bak kwa will love this.
We also tried the Jamaican Chicken and Lime Crema (S$10 or roughly $60 for two pieces). Not bad but not mind blowing.
From the medium plates section, we tried the Leek, Hazelnut, and Black Truffle (S$48 or roughly $280) and the Burnt Ends Sanger (S$20 or roughly $115).
The Leeks were incredibly tender and moist and drowned in butter. While the whole dish was very rich and wet, the hazelnuts managed to add dryness and a slight bitterness. I’m not usually a fan of hazelnuts but wanted to try this dish as it was meant to be tasted, and do think they go perfectly with this dish. Given the price though, I’d only suggest it to people who really love leeks or truffles.
Everyone should try the Sanger, though (half of the sandwich is shown above). The pulled pork was unsauced and absolutely spoke for itself. And even with lots of coleslaw and chipotle aioli, it didn’t get soggy at all.
While we were pretty full at this point, we couldn’t leave Burnt Ends without trying some of their meat. It is known for its barbeque after all. We opted for 200g of Blackmore’s A5 Wagyu Cube Roll (also known as a ribeye, S$60 or $350 per 100g). The steak was cooked very well but just tasted...ok? A bit bland…
The Bone Marrow Bun (S$12 or roughly $70) that came with it was worth every single calorie. I love bone marrow and this was absolutely packed with it...and garlic butter. Delicious.
By the end of our meal, it was nearing 2am so it felt too late for dessert. And anyway we were really full so we opted for two of Burnt Ends’ signature orange cinnamon marshmallows (S$2 or roughly $12) which was the perfect gooey way to end the meal.
I realized I used the word ‘perfect(ly)’ in this post three times but I meant it when I said it. At various points in the meal, the flavours were so fresh yet satisfying. The prices are reasonable for the quality of the food, the service is great, and the overall experience is great fun. Also, it’s worth mentioning that Dave himself stayed all the way until the restaurant closed at 2am (now that’s dedication). If you can’t get a reservation, risk a walk-in after 2pm (lunch) or 10:30pm (dinner). You won’t regret it.
20 Teck Lim Road, Singapore 088391, +65 6224 3933