In Dempsey, it’s out with the old (goodbye Pamplemousse Bistro) and in with the new with Pidgin Kitchen & Bar. Tucked away on the far right corner of the black and white old army barracks, this unassuming spot opens into a small brasserie styled space, with a smart bar lining one wall… and it’s perfect for an intimate meal with your other half!
Open since September, Chef-owner Adrian Ling has been mixing things up, using Southeast Asian cuisine as an inspiration for dishes which are European at heart. The result is a wonderful marriage of these two cultures presented in fine dining beauty… in a nutshell, it’s Modern Sin Fusion!
Though the chicken rice arancini ($8) here doesn’t actually have chicken in them, and the crab otak croquettes ($12) are otak-less… the end result however still encapsulates the original dishes and their essential flavours. The carnaroli rice has been flavoured with chicken fat, while the crab otak sees three crispy crumbed balls give way to punchy centres of heady lemongrass and spice reminiscent of the banana leaf clad otak from which this dish draws its soul.
The concept is sharing plates (perfect for date night!) so you’ll need to have a compatible dining partner, though if you can’t agree on something order it anyway, as the dishes are on the small side, so you’re bound to be able to finish it. We love that local ingredients are used as much as possible… we spied kampong eggs aplenty on the menu, as well as goat’s milk from Hay Dairies (to make the mild goat’s milk ricotta in the lovely beetroot salad ($15)).
After some deliciously fresh entrees, we tucked into mains like uni tagliolini ($28), a delicious yet dainty portion of rolled tagliolini in crustacean cream, crispy pork gratons and two slabs of ocean urchin. Bak kut teh is reinvented with great result with Pidgin’s pork bone tea ($24) – finger licking wood-smoked tender pork ribs, the perfect balance of sweet and salty and paired with tea-smoked bone marrow and a garlic and pepper jus (it was a Sassy Mama fave!). We forget to order the Razor Clams Tau Suan ($20) and I’m still kicking myself about it now — that in itself is a reason to go back!
Those familiar with “tau suan” may puzzle over it being served as a main, as a version of this soupy mung bean and dough fritter ensemble is normally eaten as dessert, but it has been getting a big thumbs up by diners. For dessert, Osmanthus (a type of chrysanthemum flower) crème brulee ($12) doesn’t fare nearly as well as the fought-over Milo Dinosaur Version 2.1 ($15). This is the edited version of Pamplemousses’s wowzer of a dessert — it’s a 72% dark chocolate flourless cake, with milo ice cream, a crunchy milo streusel and dulce de leche sauce. What’s not to like?
Pidgin has fun with local flavours in a way that doesn’t get lost in translation. If you find yourself racking your brain for somewhere classy to take out-of-town guests (heels at hawker centres don’t quite cut it!) or if you fancy something a little bit different for a date night with the hubby, this could be just your spot.
Pidgin Kitchen & Bar
7 Dempsey Road
#01-04, Singapore 249671
Tel: (+65) 6475 0080
Open: Mon-Sat 12nn-2:30pm & 6:30-10:30pm
For more Asian-European fusion cuisine try:
- Violet Oon’s Kitchen, 881 Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 279893. Tel: (+65) 6468 5430.
- Ding Dong, 23 Ann Siang Road, Singapore 069703. Tel: (+65) 6557 0189.
- Platters, (guest Chef Jeremy’s menu available till February 2014), 42 Club St, Singapore 069420. Tel: (+65) 6223 8048.
- Ochin Tapas Bistro, 2 Marne Rd #01-03, Singapore 208393. Tel: (+65) 6294 9636.
Beate (pronounced Bee+art+ah!) is a freelance food and travel writer and full time mama to her fun-loving two year old son. She has a passion for all things foodie and most commonly assumes the position of one ear firmly planted to the ground for the latest bars, cafes and restaurants. When not penning articles, Beate can be found experimenting in the kitchen with exotic local ingredients or roaming Asia for weird and wonderful flavours (with a preference for the latter). Originally from the UK, Beate has been in Singers for 3 1/2 years and is loving being back near the equator after spending her childhood in Uganda and Kenya.