Modern cuisine review: Kinou at 81 Tras Street, Singapore 079020

Kinou means yesterday in Japanese, but Kinou actually comes from the French word, kinouign, which refers to the ends of the baguette which Chef-Owner Ben Tilatti's mother loves to eat (the owner of the place). The globetrotter was inspired by travel, which brings everyone together, and so conspired to create a restaurant that serves up a combination of French, Spanish and Singaporean food. 'Modern' would be the best description for their cuisine. Note that it is not the dirty f-word, fusion, because as the restaurant manager explained, that's rather two-dimensional as a mashup of two dishes (think laksa spaghetti) whereas at Kinou, it is all about surprising combinations.

They also serve up some really delectable cocktails. I had an Old-Fashioned, which packed a punch despite not having the alcohol taste come through. There's also over 150 varieties of wine for you to pick from!

Here's the menu. Prices are not very low but it alright.

Kinou Prawning Spot (S$14) reminiscent of the Spanish gambas aioli using fresh prawns and garlic oil. For some reason the seafood flavour has completely infused into the oil, making it an irresistible combination with the Sourdough Basket bread that's baked in-house. We couldn't stop having it! 4/5

Then there's A Leggy Encounter (S$15) referring to the seared octopus and poivron. TBH the octopus felt a little too solid for me, even though it is not rubbery. Octopus is a really tough dish to manage - I'll just avoid ordering it in restaurants! 2.5/5

Instead, get the Bone To Be Wild (S$16) using roasted beef bone marrow with garlic, served with a Tennessee Surprise (whiskey!). Bone marrow is quite a raw but delicious dish that I liken to meat jam, or butter. So fatty, so yum. 4/5

Heres the restaurant manager getting the marrow off the bone, so he could use it as a pipe to pour some whiskey down the patron's throat. That way you get the oily goodness mixed with the hot liquor. What an experience!

More of that delicious sourdough bread to support the bone marrow!

Then we sampled a Platter of Three (5% discount for 3 dishes), much like going around the world. First there's Kinou, Lost In Peru (S$22), which is a ceviche of red snapper with tomato and lime marination and corn guacamole. Tomato juice is seldom used as the acid to 'cook' the fish and this was a great touch. 3.5/5

Then there's the Whack A Quack (S$21) which is duck breast paté with a couple of slices of sweet gingerbread. We were warned that it is going to be gamey, and they weren't wrong! However, the berries and gingerbread helped to balance out the duck's gaminess. It wasn't as bad as described, and the gingerbread alone I could eat more! 3/5

The Kinou Signature Beef Tartare (S$20) using raw angus beef with some sharp comté cheese was however not my favourite, out of the trio. I felt it lacked some sort of oomph, even though there's a generous sprinkling of green onions. 2.5/5

When it comes to beef, just have the Benjamin's Meat (S$95/kg). It is actually a 1-1.5kg grilled tomahawk steak served with the bone still intact, so you could gnaw or cut the meat off it if you like! This was undoubtedly the star of the night. The meat was really tender, juicy and flavourful, though for that price unfortunately you'll probably need to have at least 4 pax to share! 3.5/5

We ended the night with a dish by their dessert chef, Nadya's "Some Sort Of Chocolate Dessert" (S$15). It was made with miso, caramel, chocolate mousse and shouyu glaze. The combination of very sweet and salty was a flavour fight in our mouths! 3/5

We were also led to a tour upstairs - there's a private room meant for functions and private events called Karousel, which features a central cooking station (if you like). The tables/chairs can be re-arranged, for 16 seated or 36 standing guests.

Then there's the Konnoisseur, a smaller speakeasy bar of sorts with its own liquor selection and menu. 

There's even a tattoo corner! Not a great idea to go there if you are drunk and prone to making hasty decisions...

This is not a great restaurant, but it is a decent enough one for me to go back again for gatherings or meet ups with good friends. The location is excellent, and the food is interesting enough especially for a fellow world traveller like me! I do hope they are able to get the business going enough to sustain themselves for the future ahead. Get the steak, bone marrow, some bread and wine and you're set for the night!

81 Tras Street, Singapore 079020
62240463 or Chope to reserve
Tuesdays to Saturdays - 5pm to 11.15pm (last order)
Closed on Sundays and Mondays

Thanks to Food News PR and Kinou for the invite!

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