Review : Pidgin at Dempsey Hill – Embark on an adventure of mod sin flavours!

Pidgin-2013

Pidgin Kitchen & Bar, the latest face on Dempsey Hill, is that little unique place that deserves a closer look with each visit. Housed at the former Pamplemousse, the restaurant aims to bring about popular Southeast Asian dishes, western cooking techniques and a “wicked sense of imagination” into its repertoire. Old school favourites take a unique and surprising twist, making items like Chicken Rice Arancini and Bak Kwa Mac & Cheese a familiar yet unusual choice on the menu. Would modern Singaporean cuisine be right up your alley? Let’s see if you can fanthom tucking in to a savoury Tau Suan.



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Welcome to Pidgin

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 The Bar Counter

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The Crab Otak Croquettes ($12++) stood out a lot more with flavours that pack a punch in generous portions that will make you smile. The croquettes stuffed with spices, go extremely well with the side of Chye Poh Remoulade for an audacious creamy and hearty finish.

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Chicken Rice Balls are given a makeover with this creation of Chicken Rice Arancini ($8++). The balls of Carnaroli rice, lightly flavoured with chicken broth and herbs and stuffed with Scarmoza, are coated with crumbs and deep fried for a luscious golden brown coating. Pair it with the garlic chilli jam for an extra kick. A unique offering with a pleasant and courageous take on one of Singapore’s iconic dishes. Though definitely nothing excessively impressive or memorable.

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This simple platter of Uni, Comte and Brioche needs no further introduction. All ingredients are kept simple and clean in this dish, allowing the creamy yet sweet musky sea urchin to stand out nicely while complementing the delicate essence of cheese. A delectable crunch is added with the slices of brioche. RT’s Uni Toast ($18++)

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There are also ten different labels of artisanal beers available. Tongerlo Brown, Abbey Dubbel, 6.5% ABV, Belgium ($19++) is one of the mix that make up the list for a full bodied and nutty offering.

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iKi Yuzu, Ale with fruit and herb infusion, 4.5% ABV, Holland ($16++)

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One of the two specials for the night, Duck Rilettes ($15++), was next served to the table. I half anticipated a fatty and wonderfully oily portion of duck rilette to go with slices of toast and I must say the one served up and mixed with foie gras at A for Arbite is better with its fattier and juicier portion. Still, a pleasant addition to the meal with little complaints.

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One unique dish that deserves a closer look is the Lamb Meatballs ($12++). Served with a Tulang (bone marrow) Merah Sauce and Hay’s Diaries Goat Milk Yogurt, this dish wins for innovation. It had been a long time since I had a good bowl of Tulang Merah in Singapore and this dish brings back fond memories. Still, the slightly dry lamb Meatballs might not be for everyone as it carried a strong flavour that was a touch musky. Give it a try if you are keen but it will definitely be for acquired tastes.

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The Pork Terrine ($18++ Specials) takes its inspiration from Steamed Minced Pork with Salted Egg Yolk. Pieces of the yellow goodness are embedded through the portion, with a good amount of meat complementing the process. The flavours are generally savoury with a good touch of fattiness. Though I still think the salted egg yolk could do with a stronger presentation, perhaps if contrasted with some salted egg whites.

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The Lobster Wonton Capellini ($26++) is the restaurant’s take on the ubiquitous Wanton Noodles. My best descriptor for the dish is an Italianized portion of the local favourite, in albeit warmer tones and lesser spice. The touches of Chorizo Iberico lift the dish to tastier dimensions, and the fried lobster wontons add a delicate crunch.

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The Uni Tagliolini ($28++) was by far the best dish for the night. Freshly made Tagliolini is served steeped in a Crustacean cream, and then topped with simple portions of sea urchin and Truffle oil. To make the dish even more mouthwatering, bits of Pork Gratons (lard and oil) are served by the side for a wholesome and gorgeous final touch to the already decadent dish. Thumbs up, and a must order. Be prepared for a petite portions. Then again, with flavours and freshness like this, I think it’s well worth it.

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Comfort food never got better till its introduction of pork belly Bak Kwa into the mix. The traditional Macaroni and Cheese is given a beautiful touch with bits of Bak Kwa cooked within. The portion of dried barbecued pork adds a sweet sparkle to the dish in notes of varying meatiness. Beautiful just got redefined. Love it with intense notes of Gruyere, Cheddar and Truffle Oil! Bak Kwa Mac & Cheese ($20++)

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The dish that will shock most Singaporeans is the Razor Clams Tau Suan ($20++). The veritable sweet Tau Suan is given a makeover with the removal of its sugar base, substituted with an overt savoury Seafood stock. The razor clams for the night were a touch salty and did not do the dish justice but I reason that if it was a little milder, it would have passed off as the next unique dish on the menu.

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Spicy Tuna Tartare ($24++) Sambal Belacan Oil, Calamansi, Furikake, Wonton Skins

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Scallops ($26++)  Thai Green Curry Emulsion, Savory Granola, Kaffir Lime Salt

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These Baked Sambal Eggs ($12++) with Sambal Tumis is an interesting concoction altogether. Sweet, and not the least spicy, the eggs were a touch runny and comforting with each portion. Could do with something extra to take the dish to the next level, but I can’t place my finger on it at the moment.

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Jungle Beer Tropical Wheat – Mango & Orange, Fruit beer, 4.3% ABV, Singapore ($15++)

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This is my first time trying Foie Gras with the Rojak sauce ($28++) and it has become a new found favourite! Ordinarily served with a sweet complementary dip by the side, the foie gras is no stranger to the sweet and prawn rich Rojak dip. The best way to see this dish is as a Chinese Rojak, complete with toasted you tiao but now served with foie gras to recreate flavourful expectations. Served with Sarawak Pineapple, Jicama, Hazelnut & Almonds. Excellent!

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Quinoa ($13++) Tomato & Pandan, Chinese Olive Vegetable, Parmesan, Almonds

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The take on Bak Kut Teh at Pidgin results in the restaurant’s serving of Pork.Bone.Tea. ($24++). A tea sauce is served by the side, with some tea smoked bone marrow within to enliven the dish. The pork ribs are a touch tough with the slightly salty sauce with garlic and pepper jus leaving me with mixed impressions.

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Frog Legs ($19++) Jurong Frog Farm Frog Legs, Barley Risotto, Parsley, Laksa Leaf, Brown Butter

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“Milo Dinosaur” Version 2.1 ($15++) 72% Dark Chocolate Flourless Cake, Milo Ice Cream, Milo Streusel, Dulce De Leche

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Creamy sweet panna cotta, blended with the floral flavours of bandung make this an interesting dessert worth its local presentation. Nothing too heavy, and a beautiful way to end the meal. The side of Rhubarb contrasts nicely with the sweetness. Bandung Panna Cotta ($12++)

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The Kaya Bread and Butter Pudding ($15++) is freshly prepared, served hot and amazing. Luscious fragrance of pandan and egg emanates strongly upon serve, whetting the appetite to a final seductive end. Order to share as it can get a little gelat.

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As a whole, Pidgin Kitchen & Bar is that innovative place you want to visit and be adventurous in trying dishes that are a unique take on what is the most familiar in Singapore. The dishes are generally good, with some misses along the way. One thing to note is that the flavours are not meant for everyone. Those who find it hard to appreciate Rojak with Foie Gras or even a half blasphemous take on Bak Kut Teh may want to stick to more traditional flavours. But for those who love to try all things that are modern Singaporean, this could be the very place for your next journey in exciting, contemporary flavours!

 

Pidgin Kitchen & Bar
7 Dempsey Road
#01-04
Singapore 249671
Reservations : 6475 0080
Opens from:
Mon to Sat
Lunch 12pm – 2.30pm
Dinner 6.30pm – 10.30pm
Closed Sundays