Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Pidgin Kitchen and Bar @ Dempsey


The same team behind the defunct Pamplemousse Bistro and Bar is back with a bold concept that will blown you off with the innovative creations inspired by popular Southeast Asian cuisine. The restaurant is reborn as Pidgin Kitchen and Bar with an industrial chic interior, combining raw finishes with an abundance of natural tones.

Iki Yuzu

Pidgin Kitchen and Bar also boasts an extensive list of cult spirits, artisanal beers, craft cocktails and over 150 labels of wines. Interestingly the wines are categorised in terms of flavour profiles instead of the usual country of origin.

I started with an artisanal beer, Iki Yuzu ($16). We all thought it was a Japanese beer but reading the label made us realized our limited knowledge of beer. It was actually a 4.5% ABV from Holland. The ale was infused with fruit and herb, pretty light and easy to drink.

Chicken Rice Arancini 3.5/5

I read mix reviews of the Chicken Rice Arancini ($8) and so I thought I should tried it myself. I like how Pidgin has transformed my plate of chicken rice into a ball shape snack accompanied by a sweet garlic chilli jam dip. I understand the carnaroli rice was cooked with "old hen" chicken fat but I had problem tracing that chicken stock. Personally the sweet garlic chilli jam dip was the star of the whole dish. If Gordon Ramsey has used the recipe for the dip, he would have won the hawker challenge against Tian Tian Chicken Rice.

Spicy Achar Pickles 3/5

If I am not wrong Achar means Indian pickles but in Southeast Asian it is quite common to see different version being used in the different cuisine across the races. The playful interpretation of the Spicy Achar Pickles ($6) at Pidgin uses califlower instead of cucumber which was still quite delectable and more refine.

Lamb Meatballs 3.5/5

Remember those bright red sauce sup tulang? That is where the idea behind the Lamb Meatballs ($12) comes from. For a more meaty satisfaction, lamb bone marrow is added into the mixture of ground Australian lamb. Lamb is best paired with yogurt and Pidgin uses the local farm, Hay's Dairies goat milk to make the yogurt that is served on the side. The lamb meatball was a pleasant dish but lacking in wow factor.

RT Uni Toast 4.2/5

In my wildest imagination I would not have ever paired Uni, such an expensive ingredient with toast. The RT Uni Toast ($18) was an accidental dish created during a home gathering and RT was to credit to the person that came up with the dish. Brioche, comte and uni, just 3 components to bring the enjoyment of uni to a new level.

Crab Otak Croquettes 4.5/5

Among the snacks and bites,  the Crab Otak Croquettes ($12) was my favourite of all. The croquette is stuffed with generous chunks of crab meat in a rempeh spice paste and coconut milk. I was told that the remoulade sauce comes with chye poh but I could not taste it. Nevertheless, the crab otak croquette itself already won me over.

Duck Rillettes 4/5

Do check out the chalk board at Pidgin for their daily special items that is not in the regular menu. I have the privilege to try 2 of the special items when I was there. The Duck Rillettes ($15) went very well with the bread. If not that I am controlling my carbo intake, I would have love to go for more of it. The question left to be answered is where is the Southeast Asia influence? Apparently the duck rillettes was prepared with five spices.

Pork Terrine 4/5

Whenever I ordered my dishes from the 'Cai Fan' stall, I will always order the minced pork ball and some comes with salt egg yolk. My eyes sparkled when I saw the other special of the day, Pork Terrine ($18). This is so close to my heart and the rendition was simply beautiful. There were different layers of flavours and textures at play. Okay now I need my plate of rice with another 2 side dishes to complete my meal.

Uni Tagliolini 4.2/5

Moving on the pasta section of the menu, I started with the Uni Tagliolini ($28). It is a rich, creamy and strongly flavoured pasta dish with pork gratons, nori, crustacean cream, shallots and uni. I love my pasta to be rich and creamy and the uni tagliolini simply met all my criteria. If only I can be selfish and not share with the rest.

Lobster Wonton Capellini 4.5/5

This is probably the most expensive wonton noodle in Singapore. The Lobster Wonton Capellini ($26) is tossed in lobster oil made painstakingly from lobster heads and garlic. The char siew is replaced with the chorizo iberico while the wanton is stuffed with Canadian live lobsters. My palate is more incline to Chinese cuisine and especially hawker fare so I was very excited that Pidgin has recreated this humble hawker dish into an exquisite dish. My own complain about the dish is it lacked the pork lard flavour and so I told the pork gratons from the uni tagliolini and tossed in the capellini.

Bak Kwa Mac & Cheese 4/5

The classic Mac & Cheese is given a new twist with the Bak Kwa Mac & Cheese ($20). The penne and pork belly bak kwa were served in a delightful sweet and savoury cocotte. A few drops of the truffle oil further enhanced the aroma of the dish.

Razor Clams Tau Suan 4/5

The chef must be crazy with the Razor Clams Tau Suan ($20), combining the popular Asian hot dessert with clam dashi replacing sweet with savoury. The split mung beans were cooked al dente so it still had a crunchy bite to it and topped with dough fritters. It is really an unique and interesting dish in a good or rather excellent way but the flavour was so foreign that everyone has a hard time finding the right words to describe it. Because of the savoury and textures of the split mung beans, I felt that it can be passed off as a risotto dish.

Spicy Tuna Tartare 4/5

The Spicy Tuna Tartare ($24) will make a good beer/wine snack. The tuna was tossed in a sambal belaccan oil, calamansi and furikake, served with wonton skins chips. I enjoyed eating the spicy tuna tartare with the wonton skin chip as if I was eating nacho.

Scallops 4.2/5

The Scallops ($26) was cooked to perfection and served with Thai green curry emulsion, savour granola and kaffir lime salt.

Sambal Eggs 3/5

There is a Kampong Chicken Eggs section in the menu which has a selection of Oyser Egg, Eggs Meurette and Sambal Egg. I tried to the Sambal Eggs ($12) which was baked and served with sambal tumis, piperade and baguette. I was expecting the dish to be very fiery but I hardly break a sweat for it which left me quite puzzled.

Quinoa 4.2/5

This is my first encounter with Quinoa ($13). Quinoa is a kind of grain like crop grown for its edible seeds. Pidgin's version comes with Chinese olive vegetable, parmesan, almonds, tomato and pandan. It has a very enjoyable texture and each mouthful of it is filled with beautiful flavours.

Foie Gras with Rojak Sauce 4.2/5

Foie Gras with Rojak Sauce ($28) expertly incorporated the used of Asian flavour into a classic French dish. The combo simply demonstrated that if you know your ingredients, there are no boundaries to creativity.

Frog Legs 4/5

The tender Frog Legs ($19) are from Jurong Frog Farm Frog Legs. Love the fact that the restaurant is supporting local produces. Cooked to a nice golden brown, the frog legs were served with a bed of barley risotto.

Pork. Bone.Tea 4.5/5

The Pork.Bone.Tea ($24) is inspired by the local bak kut teh. The prime ribs were marinated Amercian style with tea-smoked beef bone marrow sealed in a flavourful garlic and pepper jus. The prime rib was very flavourful and fork tender.

Milo Dinosaur Version 2.1 4.2/5

Bandung Panna Cotta 4/5

Kaya Bread & Butter Pudding 4.2/5

Have you ever walked into a neighbourhood coffeshop and ordered a cup of milo, a cup of ice milk tea, a glass of bandung or kaya toast? Tell it to the waiter/waitress at Pidgin and you will be served! Don't believe me? Check out Pidgin's own creation of these coffeeshop drinks and snacks in the Milo Dinosaur Version 2.1 ($15), Bandung Panna Cotta ($12) and Kaya Bread & Butter Pudding with milk tea ice cream ($15). To be frank, I could not decide which was my favourite, so just order all of them!

I am very impressed with the bold and playful creations at Pidgin inspired by Southeast Asian cuisine. There are many restaurants out there calling themselves fusion or East meets West cuisine but it usually went horribly wrong or simply by adding a few minor touches of Asian ingredients to the dish. At Pidgin, I can totally appreciate the meaning of fusion or East meets West. In a way bringing it to a whole new level. They have simply deconstructed the whole meaning of fusion and conceptualized an unique and out of this world dish but not losing the association with the Southeast Asian cuisine.

Pidgin Kitchen & Bar
7 Dempsey Road
Singapore 249671
Tel: +65 64750080
Nearest MRT: Orchard (NS Line)

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 12pm - 230pm, 630pm - 1030pm
(Closed on Sun)

1) Alight at Orchard MRT station. Take Exit B. Walk to bus stop along Orchard Boulevard, opposite Orchard Parksuites (Stop ID B09022. Take bus number 7, 77, 106, 123 or 174. Alight 7 stops later. Walk to destination. Journey time about 25 minutes. [Map]