Burnt Ends is well-known for being notoriously hard to get a table at. In fact, I had to take a day off work just to make my lunchtime booking. Jumping through hoops of fire may be slightly more achievable than being able to secure a dinner reservation here.
Oh, not to mention it has a One-Michelin star rating.
This dining establishment specializes in marrying meats with fire, and then some. A venture by award-winning chef Dave Pynt, it recently relocated from its humble abode along Keong Saik to a much bigger premise in Dempsey.
Despite its higher-than-average price point, it doesn’t have the stuffy air that some fancier joints seem to inculcate. I found it unpretentious and frank, with nothing to detract from the food. Its premise in Dempsey Hill boasts warm, woody furnishings, with the overall vibe being rather laidback and relaxed.
Pro-tip: you’ll want to get a table at the counter because that’s where all the action is, though getting a prime seat (read:. right in front of the chefs) may require utilizing connections.
During our premier visit to this popular eatery, we tasted a variety of dishes that were probably meant as a single portion, but easily shareable.
First, we tried the Grissini and Taramasalata — a Burnt Ends staple. What exactly is taramasalata? Well, think of it as a “fishy” mayonnaise (in a good way!).
Showered with a generous heap of chives, the crispy, burnt Italian flatbread paired well with the umami-laden cod-roe dip.
Next came the Beef Cigars. While these were delightful, they were also forgettable.
The beef was tender and brimming with flavour, but it pales in comparison to the rest of the menu items, so you can give this one a skip.
For the main course, we ordered the Flat Iron, Burnt Onion, and Bone Marrow ($38 per 100g). Undoubtedly, this dish was the star of the show, the lead actor.
While this isn’t your standard prime cut, the beef was brimming with beefy goodness and was the paragon of what “melt-in-your-mouth” should be. A 180g steak was more than enough for the two of us.
The cook was perfect, and the accompanying watercress salad helped cut through the richness of the steak that may have otherwise made it too “jelat”. I was left to wonder exactly what the more pricey cuts would taste like…
Burnt Ends’ Sanger ($20) features a fluffy brioche bun, pulled pork shoulder, coleslaw, and chipotle aioli. At its price, this behemoth of a sandwich was more than affordable, and it’s easy to see why it’s such a hit with regulars.
We ended the lunch with the iconic Marshmallow ($3), another Burnt Ends staple. Torched to perfection, the marshmallow was sweet, creamy, and oh-so-delicately smoky. The charred surface gave a nice textural contrast and a slight bitterness to balance out the sweetness. The marshmallow itself had a subtle, but noticeable hint of an orange flavour.
Move over chocolate, it’s now marshmallow and orange for me.
All-in-all, securing a table here might be a bit of a hassle, but it’s well worth it. If not for the sheer exclusivity, I could see myself returning here every month.