Burnt Ends in Singapore has gotten a lot of great press since it opened up in 2013; among other things it were named "one of the hottest restaurants in the world" by Zagat. The premise for the restaurant is great— "elegant barbecue" where all food is cooked in a custom-built kiln to get a serious char on just about everything. We simply had to try this out!
The restaurant is located in Chinatown, in a rather non-spectacular setting; boxed in between hotels and shops. The inside on the other hand has been made into the cool and hip place the restaurant sets out to be. One single long bar-table for all the guests overlooking the kitchen and the massive wood-fired kiln. It's simplistic and minimal, raw and unpolished— just what's needed.
As we sit down, people start filling up the space— creating a great vibe; this is a cool place.
The menu consists of a lot of different items, and it's hard to grasp how much to order of everything. We do our best to sample as much as we can— but get a feeling we'll miss out on some gems. The staff isn't very helpful as "everything is good" apparently.
We start off with a few quail-eggs, which is always a treat. The kingfish with lemon is fresh but nothing spectacular. There's no "serious char" or taste out of the ordinary.
The leek and fennel dishes are the first dishes where we truly feel the "burnt" sensation— great!
It's a lot of fun watching the kitchen staff cook everything in front of us. Today there's a new member of the staff, and we feel a bit sorry for him as he's struggling with a lot of the choirs (the downside to new-hires with an open kitchen).
David Pynt that usually runs the kitchen is away for Meetopia in London, but in his place is Jeff Claudio (which among other things trained at Noma in Copenhagen) overseeing the orders.
Halfway through our dishes, a group of 5 guys enters the restaurant, and the servers immediately goes to greet them with hugs. This apparently are "regulars" which is treated to their own table with sofas— where champagne is brought. If you run a restaurant hyped as "one of the hottest in the world" you surely need customers like these (but to us it feels a bit "comical", like something you would see in a movie).
We've started to get into the "groove" of Burnt Ends when we're presented with the "Sanger", with pulled pork shoulder, cole slaw, chipotle aioli in a brioche bun. Wow! This is great— we could eat a ton of these! This dish alone would make us recommend this place.
Our "main" dishes of the night is King crab and rump cap.
The problem with ordering seafood is that there's a lot of work to retrieve the meat— and this surely isn't an exception from this. As the king crab is drenched in butter, it all gets rather messy as well. The effort to eat the dish takes away from the enjoyment. The high we got from the "Sanger" is at this point almost lost sadly.
The rump meat in the next dish is however just perfectly cooked. Great char and tender meat— and the bone marrow brings it all home. Though, we wanted to try a meat dish to see the full extent of "burnt ends" in action. The conclusion is however that we should've gone for more items from the "starter menu", as those combinations were of more interest to us.
The meal is finished with a great ice cream dish.
Burnt ends is a really cool place; and it's no wonder it has gotten really popular. We must say it feels a bit "over-hyped" though. The food is great, but not sensational. Wood-fired food with great sear can't go wrong though and we had a great time here.