Burnt Ends

Lunch – Friday, February 21, 2020

Singapore is oh-so-far-away and we visit so infrequently that I’ve accumulated a lengthy list of restaurants and bars of interest in the city-state. Burnt Ends has been near the top of that list for some time – Dave Pynt has quite a pedigree (Tetsuya’s, noma, Etxebarri, St. John…), so that certainly added to my anticipation. I showed up for lunch on Friday and was seated at a nice position along the kitchen counter, right where all the action was happening. The carte is lengthy, but dining solo, I left it entirely in the hands of the kitchen team.

Smoked quail egg, caviar

Grissini, taramasalata
Simple and unexpectedly delicious. The grissini was perfectly crisp, and the thick, roe-based taramasalata had a punchy acidity that brought everything into focus.

“Steak frites”
How can you go wrong with a combination like this? The potato “mille-feuille” was hot and fresh from the fryer, and proved to be the perfect base for the coarse-cut beef tartare and caviar. Excellent one-biter.

Beef, uni

White pepper chicken neck

Eggplant, miso, spices
The eggplant was charred in the hearth, giving it a strong smokiness, followed by an impeccable tempura fry. It was liberally sprinkled with a black pepper-dominated spice mix and set in a miso purée. The whole was greater than the sum of its parts – my favourite course of the meal.

Beef marmalade, house pickles, toast

Garlic shoots, gremolata

Maitake, soy-cured yolk, truffle congee
The first of the more substantial dishes also blew me away. The texture of the grilled maitake, with its charred edges and plump center, matched perfectly with the creamy yolk and congee. The truffle was prominent but not overpowering. Superb.

Marron, roe, kombu beurre blanc
I really enjoy eating marron, and I wish we got it more in the USA – the specimens I’ve had seem to have consistently sweeter and more delicate flesh than lobster. That said, this one here was very well cooked, but the sauce was rich.

Beef tenderloin
Onion jam, marrow, watercress salad

Pork belly chop, raspberry-apple compôte
The onslaught of heavy courses ended with this length of pork belly. This was really delicious, as they cooked it to a toothsome doneness rather than opting for the soft, unctuous consistency. That, combined with the refreshing fruit compôte, turned this into a perfectly appropriate finisher to the meal’s savoury portion.

Berry tart

Flamed marshmallow

My meal made the kitchen’s mastery of fire evident, and they worked like a well-oiled machine even with a packed dining room. I thoroughly enjoyed lunch (and the free show from the counter). In fact, one of my only criticisms is that I prefer a deeper, funkier, more aged flavour to my beef, whereas the product here was very mild – one can only imagine how much better it could be if they were using old Rubia Gallega cows, for example. Nevertheless, I’d happily return to take another cross-section of the menu.

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