Yakitori gem at Tiong Bahru

The old Hua Bee coffee shop in Tiong Bahru gets a new life at night as Bincho, a Japanese yakitori omakase joint

Bincho is tucked behind a car park with a tiny sign indicating its presence, behind chill-out café Flock.

This latest dining concept by Loh Lik Peng is a unique amalgamation of the old and the new. The old Hua Bee mee pok stall becomes the modern open-concept yakitori chic joint Bincho at night, opening for dinner.

“Bincho is influenced by two traditional concepts – a yakitori-ya we fell in love with in Osaka and Hua Bee, an integral part of Tiong Bahru’s heritage. We thought it would be interesting to work with a concept that not only preserves history and tradition but introduces a modern approach at the same time,” says Lik Peng.

Resident chef Asai Masashi is well-trained in the art of charcoal grilling and brings his skill to the menu.

Unexpected Surprises

10270652_280851542083676_6250888889977728667_n
Photo credits to Bincho’s Facebook page

Do not expect the traditional yakitori sticks you get at a run-of-the-mill yakitori place. Bincho does it omakase style with an $80++ and a $120++ menu available. There are also plans to add a $60++ menu.

The meal kicked off with an assorted platter of three appetisers, which change daily except for the chicken liver pate. Don’t expect a strong-smelling French pate; this one is sweeter.

Next came a refreshing salad with slices of pork and goma dressing. The third course was a silky-smooth chawanmushi with a chicken meatball within.

The yakitori selections here are a little foreign to most Singaporean palates but the chef’s deft skills amazed me when he cooked up a selection of chicken tail (the butt), chicken breast and chicken gizzards. I don’t take the odd parts of the chicken but, somehow, the well-cleaned and tender chicken tail and the well-seasoned chewy gizzard won me over.

Filling Dishes

1003556_227396530762511_1180227821_n
Tsukune. Photo credits to Bincho’s Facebook page

We also had more filling dishes such as grilled sweet potatoes, carrots and mushrooms, a chicken neck tsukune with raw egg yolk drippings, another platter of chicken thigh, chicken heart and chicken liver and the piece de resistance of a mini bowl of oyako don.

I loved the tsukune. The mark of a good yakitori place certainly lies herein as most tsukunes in so-so yakitori places turn out too hard and dry.

Desserts at Bincho are limited. It serves a single cake from Restaurant Andre. The dessert for the day was green tea cake with a side of fresh orange. If you’re lucky, you get the illusive “cheese cake cloud” dessert.

Bincho is indeed an interesting eatery in an interesting enclave.

78 Moh Guan Terrace, #01-19, Singapore 162078, Tel: 6438 4567

 By Cheryl Chia