Food Review: Pidgin Kitchen & Bar at 7 Dempsey Road, Singapore 249671

November 24, 2013

"We don't say the F word here. It's SEA-inspired cuisine." said our host for the night as we got introduced to Pidgin Kitchen & Bar that took over the previous namesake, Pamplemousse at Dempsey. Turns out its the same owners and chef, but a different take on the food served - hence the name change. A good one too, it turns out, as the food that night turned out to be very pidgin, very delicious'in.

The restaurant's situated at Muthu's Curry block, in case you are trying to find it. The decor is nice and simple. I love the simple metal cage structure around the little bar area.



We had a total of 3 snacks and bites, 3 pasta dishes, 2 fish and seafood, 2 assorted, 3 types of meat, and finished off with 4 types of desserts. Wow. You must hate us now. But hey, with all these selection, I could tell you which are the ones you die-die-must-try while you can forgo some if you don't have the stomach space!

We started with the Chicken Rice Arancini ($8) which basically is chicken rice balls lightly fried with batter, and filled with cheese. The proper way for me to say that is - chicken infused carnaroli rice, with scarmoza and garlic chilli jam. Great appetizer in my opinion. Not heavy, just enough to tantalize your tastebuds for more!

Yummy fillings inside!


Off to a great start, and the next did not disappoint! The Crab Otak Croquettes ($12) already sounds delicious right? 3 of my favorite words in the dictionary all strung up. This was again very delicately fried and light, with the fragrance of the crab wafting through the potatoes spiced with 'chye poh' or so it says on the menu. I couldn't taste it but it doesn't mean it wasn't good, mainly because it was. I think it's because everything was made fresh.


Lamb meatballs ($12) would be my least liked among the other 2 strong contenders. Unfortunately. If the other two weren't around I might have raved about this. The ingredients were interesting. It's actually lamb meatballs (a bit too lamb-y for me) coated with Tulang Merah Sauce paired with a light dollop of Hay’s Dairies Goat Milk Yogurt on the side. 


Moving on to pastas now shall we? We also have 3 to go. First up, the very grand Lobster Wonton Capellini ($26). Unfortunately, it did not live up to its name, even if the idea sounds good. In short, I found the noodles too salty for my liking and too little hint of lobster oil, with the lobster wonting in the wontons, and the chorizo iberico merely a bystander. But if you are curious as to how a bowl of reinvented wonton noodles might taste like, you could order it.


At least the noodles were quite al dente and not too dry/starchy even after we took our photos!


The next up knocked everyone out of the pasta park. The Bak Kwa Mac & Cheese ($20) is a winner in my books simply because it. is. bak. kwa. and. cheese. It's like taking your comfort food and adding that extra special bit. The cheese as you can see here is not your typical thick dark yellow creamy cheese in those boxed mac and cheese. Instead its a mix of gruyere and cheddar. Very addictive. Cannot stop "helping to finish the food" :P.


Last of the 3 pasta dishes is the one that made my colleague salivate. The Uni Tagliolini ($28) because of that 3 little letters. UNI. UNI so yunnnni? This was another fav amongst all, simply because the sauce is so dang umani and rich, coating that tagliolini like silk on skin. Just imagine.


A mini break with a mini drink! The Fever-Tree Ginger Beer is an excellent beverage to cut through the food. So very refreshing.


It's tiny though. Look at the bottle in comparison to us, and mind you, ms-skinnyfat here aka Cheryl's already petite herself!


Ok let's get to the 2 fish and seafood. We start with the dish that made me jump a little in excitement in my seat - the Spicy Tuna Tartare ($24) made with sambal belacan oil, calamansi, furikake and served with some crispy wonton skins. Those little red cubes were having a party in my mouth! The sesame seeds were a great addition. I would totally recommend this as an appetizer to start, actually. Or just as lunch.


Then we have Razor Clams Tau Suan ($20). Wait... what? OK read it again. Yes, this is 'tau suan' made with clams. And it's salty. And that's ok. It's not as weird as you think. Just don't imagine this as a dessert but more like a clam chowder? I thought it was a really fun dish to have, no harm trying if you want to claim you have eaten clam tau suan before!


Then the strangest dish (in my opinion) of the lot -- the Kampung Chicken Eggs' Oyster2 Egg ($19). Which you can call an orh luak, but no not really? It is made with scrambled eggs, Hai Loong’s Fresh oyster, dried oyster and konbu butter, served with some oyster leaves. Those leaves really tasted like oysters (so weird). In any case the oysters were really really fresh, so if you are an oyster and eggs kinda guy/gal, go for it!


In the veggie section we have 1 representative - the Quinoa ($13) with tomatoes & pandan, chinese olive vegetables, parmesan and shaved almonds. A very simply named dish, it is reminiscent of our fried rice, but with the grain that I love. A very fulfilling carbo dish worth ordering.


OK chop chop 3 meat dishes before we get to the desserts! We had the super awesome Foie Gras with Rojak Sauce ($28) and this really made an impression on me (and my Facebook/Instagram followers) only because it sounds so preposterous! Who does rojak with foie gras? That is really rojak-ing the rojak! But in this case it has manage to succeed by dint of the rojak sauce complementing the foie gras so nicely, along with the sarawak pineapple, jicama, hazelnut & almonds. Eh, really, you should try. and take pics of it to show your friends. 


Next, a dish with 3 words. "Pork. Bone. Tea." ($24) is literally the mandarin "rou gu cha" in English. In a more familiar local term, we call it "bak kut teh". So what it has is a giant juicy slab of pork rib, tea smoked bone marrow (the white stuff you see just beside the ribs) swimming in garlic and pepper jus with some roasted garlic. Wow. Can someone say, effort? By this time I was already quite full, but this was still super delicious because the ribs are super tender! I wish I can go in with an empty stomach and just have this now. 


Lastly, the Lamb Rack ($38). I would say you could skip this if you only have space for 1 meat, which is the pork bone tea. The wolfberry jus (or sauce) is an interesting twist, but lamb is lamb. Meh.


Now to more exciting stuff. DESSERTS! I can't even begin to tell you how excited I was over it. 

We started with the Bandung Panna Cotta ($12) which seems quite harmless and quiet, but packs a good punch with the Rhubarb 'jam' around it, as well as the sesame crunch. The rose flavor in the creamy panna cotta was light and not overpoweringly artificial or sweet, which is good. 


But I am sorry, bandung panna cotta, you have a strong competitor in the "Milo Dinosaur" Version 2.1 ($15). With a name like that, how can you compete? It's been upgraded! And the taste too. Made with 72% dark chocolate flourless cake (so rich, dense and heavenly), milo ice cream (just like how you like your milo peng) and crushed milo powder. This is absolutely wonderful. Can anything get better than this?

The answer is yes. Wait, what? 

Yes.

The best dish of the night was the unassuming Kaya Bread and Butter Pudding ($15). Dark horse this. And it was supposedly the last dish of the night too so we totally didn't expect it to go out on such a high. The bread and butter pudding is flavored with homemade kaya with raisins inside, coupled with the icey milk tea ice cream that makes eating the hot souffle-like pudding beside so much more joyous. I would really just go back to eat this, even if I had dinner elsewhere. Why is it that the combination of milk tea and kaya bread is so good? Don't ask me, I'm stumped too!


As if that wasn't enough, the chef decided to treat us to taste some of his R&D as well - ice creams! They are from left to right: pineapple sorbet, goreng pisang and black vanilla with charcoal ($8 each). All good. No favorites because I can't possibly choose, sorry. Up to your personal preference.

Also, this is what happens when you have the black charcoal vanilla ice cream. Just saying. Might not be a very good date night dessert. BUT it is a very good organic dark lipstick.


Pic of my dining companions that night. Daniel from memoirsoffood, Leroy from thehungrycow, and Edsmond from thechosenglutton,

i also have with me cheryl from ms-skinnyfat and Maureen, misstamchiak!


One of the most inspired and interesting dinners I've had where everything I knew before was given a Southeast Asian twist and interpretation. I love how food can become so much fun under the right, capable hands. I would highly recommend this place for a casual fun dinner. Just remember to choose wisely!


Pidgin Kitchen & Bar
7 Dempsey Road, 01-04, Singapore 249671
+65 6475 0080
12pm to 2.30pm, 6.30 to 10.30pm (Mondays to Saturdays).
Closed on Sundays

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