2022 is a promising year for the one Michelin-starred barbeque restaurant Burnt Ends.
Having opened its doors at Teck Lim Road in 2013, which boasts an open kitchen concept and customers can witness chefs grill, smoke, barbeque and bake in the formidable four-tonne, dual cavity oven with four elevation grills, Burnt Ends has recently relocated to the quaint neighbourhood of Dempsey Hill.
The modern Australian-style barbecue restaurant is helmed by chef-founder Dave Pynt, who has had stints with culinary heavyweights Rene Redzepi from Noma in Demark and Victor Arguinzoniz from Asador Etxebarri in Spain. Chef Pynt, who is of Australian descent, used to run a pop-up restaurant in London in 2012, before opening Burnt Ends in Singapore with restaurateur Andre Chiang and businessman Loh Lik Peng. The restaurant went on to receive its first Michelin star in 2018. “It was humbling and pretty amazing for all our staff, guests and partners,” he said in an interview with Michelin Guide.
Buoyed by the success of Burnt Ends, Chef Pynt decided to expand the barbeque empire with two new barbeque restaurants, named under the moniker “Meatsmith” and specialising in wood-fire barbeque, in Telok Ayer and Little India. The former is akin to an American smokehouse with international barbeque offerings, while the latter serves up modern Indian barbeque.
Presently, Burnt Ends is ranked 34 on the 2021 San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants List and 14 on the 2021 San Pellegrino Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants.
In this series of Crew Eats, we hear from executive chef of Burnt Ends Patrick Leano; head chef Yvette Lin, restaurant manager Lyon Leong; Head of Service at Burnt Ends Hospitality Group Thomas Koh; and executive chef of Meatsmiths Eddie Goh, about their favourite dining haunts.
Patrick Leano, Executive Chef at Burnt Ends
Having worked at Michelin-starred restaurants, such as Coquille Seafood Bistro and Scarpetta, in Shanghai, Canadian-born Patrick Leano moved to Singapore to work with the team at Burnt Ends post-Circuit Breaker only in 2020. According to Michelin Guide, Chef Leano, who has known chef-founder Pynt for 11 years, first heard of the opportunity from Chef Pynt himself when he attended the Singapore F1 in 2019.
When Chef Leano came on board in 2020, working in an open kitchen was both an interesting and new concept for him then. As someone who is used to working abroad in London, Denmark, Spain, Hong Kong, China, and now Singapore, Chef Leano believes in taking time to settle down, interacting with others, and going with the flow. Case in point: one of his favourite dining haunts in Singapore, You Kee XO Restaurant Singapore, is a recommendation from his neighbour.
For the uninitiated, You Kee XO Restaurant is founded in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, and is famous for its herbal soup and roast meats, of which, Chef Leano recommends trying the latter because they are “very authentic”. You Kee XO Restaurant only has one outpost in Singapore. He adds: “I rely on word-of-mouth recommendations from my friends or acquaintances to figure out where and what to eat. I’m relatively new to Singapore, so I am still exploring the vast options.”
You Kee XO Restaurant Singapore
Address: 43 Joo Chiat Place, Singapore 427767
Opening hours: Monday to Friday: 11am – 3pm; 5pm – 9pm; Saturday & Sunday: 11am – 9pm
Yvette Lin, Head Chef at Burnt Ends
Head chef Yvette Lin fancies herself a plate of curry scissors rice because the messy but scrumptious dish reminds her of her childhood.
Chef Lin has led the team through the gruelling Circuit Breaker period with innovative strategies that run the gamut from expanding the restaurant’s bakery offerings to drawing up new recipes for fuss-free takeaway dishes. “Singapore is built on a lot of hawker culture, comfort food, street food. So when you think of takeaways, you need to tap back to that primal desire to want to have simple foods,” she said to Michelin Guide.
She recommends ordering from Beach Road Scissor-Cut Curry Rice at Jalan Besar. The long-time food establishment is a crowd favourite proffering a variety of dishes, such as fried pork cutlets and braised greens, alongside its signature curry gravy or sweet braised gravy. Chef Lin recommends first-timers to get the braised pork belly, steamed cabbage and fried egg, which to her is the “winning combination”.
Beach Road Scissor-Cut Curry Rice
Address: 229 Jalan Besar, Singapore 208905
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday: 11am – 3am
Eddie Goh, Executive Chef at Meatsmith
For Meatsmith’s executive chef Eddie Goh, having a good breakfast is key to him starting the day right. In this regard, he plays it safe and goes for traditional minced meat noodles, or bak chor mee. While he always heads to the minced meat noodles stall near his home in Bukit Batok, he would almost always give in to a bowl of bak chor mee from Ah Ter Teochew Fishball and Minced Meat Noodles at Amoy Street Food Centre.
He says, “I love the combination of the ingredients, sauces, chilli padis and most importantly the pork lard! There is a lot going on in a bowl but the balance in it is …. no joke!”
Ah Ter Teochew Fishball and Minced Meat Noodles
Address: Amoy Street Food Centre, 7 Maxwell Road, #01-14, Singapore 069112
Opening hours: Monday to Friday: 7am – 8pm; Saturday & Sunday: 7am – 3pm
Thomas Koh, Head of Service at Burnt Ends Hospitality Group
“These days, I have been urging my six-year-old son to be adventurous and try new food. So honestly, I would go wherever he wishes me to take him,” says Mr Thomas Koh from the Burnt Ends Hospitality Group.
His favourite hawker dish is char kway teow, and his favourite stall is No. 18 Zion Road Fried Kway Teow. “They only make char kway teow, and they have always been consistent and generous. Each packet is fried upon order and most of the time there will be a substantial queue,” Mr Koh says. He also has it with “extra dark sauce and spicy”.
“When Singaporeans queue for something, I guess you can say that the dish speaks for itself!”
No. 18 Zion Road Fried Kway Teow
Address: Zion Riverside Food Centre, 70 Zion Road, #01-17, Singapore 247792
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday: 8am – 10pm
Lyon Leong, Restaurant Manager at Burnt Ends
Restaurant manager Lyon Leong’s favourite dining haunt in Singapore is at the celebrated Da Dong Prawn Noodles which is located at the cross-junction between Marshall Lane and Joo Chiat Road. Now managed by second-generation owner Watson Lim and his mother, the stall is infamous for giving a sparse amount of soup, just enough to sufficiently coat the noodles, and refusing customers’ requests for second-servings.
“I used to work in a private Italian restaurant along Joo Chiat Road and was introduced to Da Dong Prawn Noodles by my then-colleagues,” Mr Leong says. “Prawn noodle soup happens to be my favourite childhood dish too.”
Da Dong Prawn Noodle
Address: 354 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427600
Opening hours: Wednesday to Monday: 7.30am – 2pm; Closed on Tuesdays