Listen to this week’s smokelicious episode!
There’s nothing quite like the smoky-charred flavour of grilled meats treated with respect and skill, except maybe fresh seafood done the Japanese way and this week, our Makan Kaki Chef Anthony Yeoh recommends a restaurant that combines the best of both worlds.
Chef Asai is the affable grill master of Bincho, a tiny little Japanese Yakitori joint in Tiong Bahru. Literally a hole in the wall, you enter through the coppery back door that it takes you into the bar area, which is decked out in metals, so it’s like being in a submarine. The story goes that the mee pok man running his stall was looking to retire, give way to the setting up of Bincho and simply collect rent from that enterprise, but there was a certain amount of backlash about the gentrifying of Tiong Bahru and edging out of old businesses, so they hit upon a more collaborative idea. Mee Pok man came out of retirement to serve his beloved noodles at lunchtime, whilst Bincho operates side-by-side.
Ultimately, what you get from Bincho at Hua Bee is the unique look and ambiance of a 70-year old traditional kopitiam featuring said old school mee pok stall, classic coffee & kaya toast, classic marble tables with wooden chairs PLUS the modern open-concept yakitori bar with playful Japanese-inspired cocktails as well as Japanese whiskies, sake and shochu.
Bincho serves up wonderful lunchtime Donburi sets ranging from $25++ that includes appetizers, salad, pickles, karage, soup and dessert. Chef Anthony recommends the Uni Ikura Donburi set – it’s luxurious, super-fresh and so delicious.
For dinner, there are three types of set menus but be sure to order off the à la carte menu for some extra tasty specialities.
The menus at Bincho change frequently depending on what fresh produce is available that day, but chicken in various ways, shapes and forms will always remain the star of the kitchen (that’s where the tori in yakitori comes in!). In fact, if you’re feeling adventurous, don’t miss out on the cock’s comb – gelatinous & soft in texture, it’s a delicacy that Chef Asai does exceptionally well!
Other smoking-hot favourites include Yakitori shio: grilled parts of chicken served with three types of condiments – yuzukoshō, freshly grated wasabi and mushroom salt an Yakitori tare: Grilled chicken parts dipped into a homemade sauce and served with Japanese mustard, wholegrain mustard and kuro shichimi ‘Black Japanese Seven Spice’.
But do save room for the tsukune, which is essentially a chicken meatball/ patty that is grilled to juicy, tender perfection and made even more delicious with its crowning glory – a raw quail egg cracked right on top!
Bincho at Hua Bee
78 Moh Guan Terrace (Tiong Bahru)
Tel: +65 6438 4567
Tuesday – Sundays: 12pm – 3.00pm
Tuesdays – Sundays: 6pm till late