Posted June 22, 2015on:
By day this is Hua Bee, an small old-school kopitiam serving traditional bowls of fish-ball mee pok noodles and other similar fare.
It was even featured in Eric Khoo’s cult movie Mee Pok Man!
But come nightfall, the shutters close at Hua Bee and the same space turns into Singapore’s most atas and hidden yakitori joint – Bincho.
Yet another one of Loh Lik Peng’s restaurants in his Unlisted Collection, Bincho is named after the Japanese binchō-tan, or white charcoal, which is special in the fact that it doesn’t release smoke.
The concept and decor are based on the traditional tiny and squeezy yakitori joints found in Japan.
It reminded me of the yakitori joints I visited in the infamous Yurakucho yakitori alley in Tokyo, but merged with a Singaporean identity from the kopitiam furnishings.
The one in charge of Bincho, and also busy grilling the chickens for us is chef Asai Masashi from the Hyogo prefecture, and spent 13 years in Osaka and Kyoto, honing his skills.
There were 3 omakase menus that night, and I picked the cheapest one called Fuji (though it seems they’ve added an even cheaper one since then).
Assorted appetizer. Can’t remember exactly but going from top right clockwise, it’s a chicken terrine, yamaimo soba, boiled egg, toast and chicken liver pâté spread.
Chicken skin karaage, and some of the tail cartilage (bonjiri).
Yakitori shio platter – tail, breast, wing.
Chicken chawanmushi. The use of chicken stock here really enhances the usual dashi-based chawanmushis.
Yaki yasai – sweet potato, manganji, koshin daikon. Nice trio of grilled vegetables.
Yakitori tare – it was supposed to be liver, heart and thigh but I wasn’t into eating organs so chef Asai gave me some different chicken parts which were still pretty good.
Zōni is a Japanese soup with a mix of vegetables, fishcakes and mochi.
Dessert was an amazuke cheesecake and an orange jelly.
Verdict is that the food was good but too little for the expensive prices. If I really wanted to eat atas yakitori again, I’d return to Bird Land.