East-meets-West food mash-ups are a dime a dozen, but the restaurant commands attention with its contemporary Sichuan creations
It takes a peculiar kind of masochism to relish the intensively spicy and tongue-number flavours of Sichuan cuisine. Nevermind the woes of profuse perspiration, swollen lips, and lightheadedness that stemmed from the fiery essence of chillies and peppercorns, because one does not simply stop after the first taste.
From specialised restaurants to the all-in-one stirfry hotpot stalls, getting your mala fix comes in a myriad of forms. Then there is Birds Of A Feather, located along Amoy Street, that has so cleverly taken the beloved cuisine and gave it a little shakeup. The result? A slew of contemporary creations moulded by Western techniques, yet distinctly reflect the irresistibly spicy Sichuan flavours.
Birds Not Stinky Tofu ($16)
Dishes are not all ultra-spicy here at Birds Of Feather, as noted from the lineup of Baked Eggplant ($14) and Birds Not Stinky Tofu ($16). The former is a vegetarian offering that has the eggplant slices marinated in a homemade chilli bean paste-based fish sauce (no seafood here!), before they are baked and served with mantou blocks cloaked in mozzarella cheese. Also baked is The Birds Not Stinky Tofu, where silken tofu goes through the oven after combined with vieux lille cheese. The pungent cheese is used to mimick the traditional smelly tofu dish.
Sichuan Oxtail Soup ($24)
Another non-spicy variant is the Sichuan Oxtail Soup ($24) that checked off all the boxes of a good soup. Displaying a depth of flavour, the soup draws richness from beef neck bones, and then further brewed with other ingredients including western white oxtail, ginseng and yuzhu. Tender beef chunks swim in the broth. In between noisy slurps, we break apart the accompanying spring onion Arlette, a Western rendition of spring onion pancake, that sports a makeup of a laminated puff pastry. The crackling nibble is to be eaten after dipping into the sauce of soya sauce, garlic, a bit of ginger, sze chuan pepper oil, coriander.
But if you do not have the time and day to meddle with the mellow, then make a beeline for the food items that promise the spicy and tongue-numbing flavours of Sichuan cuisine.
Sweating Mussel ($29)
For a gradual introduction to the heat, order the Charcoal Grilled Pork Bits ($15) – a delightful appetiser featuring crispy pork chunks that have luxuriated overnight in a seven-ingredient marination (one of which is, of course, peppercorns) before deep-fried and charcoal grilled. If you’re gung-ho enough, then make a beeline for the Sweating Mussel ($29), where mussels, after steamed, are cooked in its own juice, chicken stock, Chinese yam noodles and, along with other codniments, finally dried Sichuan peppercorns for some numbing fun.
Good Slime Shine ($24)
While the peppercorns gave the mussels that satisfying spicy and numbing kick, it is the Chinese yam noodles component that steals the show. Flat, thick and delightfully chewy, these little yam silvers are a product from Sichuan province and thankfully, make another appearance in the Good Slime Shine ($24). Cooked al dente for more bite, the noodles are presented in a sour and spicy sauce, alongside greens of baby bok choy, chive sticks and asparagus. The dish can be ordered in a non-spicy variant as well.
Cool respite comes in the form of Ice2 Baby ($15), which essentially is ice jelly adorned with the frills of assorted seasonal fruits, crushed peanuts, burnt cucumber, rice wine granite and red sugar caramel – a fitting end to a fiery meal, if we do say so ourselves.
Address: 115 Amoy Street, Singapore 069935
Contact No.: 6221 7449
Operating Hours: 10 am to 11 pm (Daily)
A Chinese version of the article appeared here.