Burnt Ends sits just off the achingly cool Keong Saik road which is full to the brim of seriously impressive eateries & bars. With such competition on its doorstep, I was excited to see what Burnt Ends did to receive its unanimous positive reviews & ‘no sorry, we’re fully booked’ reputation.
Once you have muscled through the chunky, heavy doors you know you’re in a unique restaurant. Counter top seating faces the amazing & beautiful scene that Burnt Ends is famous for. Enormous, custom built barbecues roaring with flames & gigantic brick ovens that would quite comfortably heat all of Singapore for decades to come. This open flame, hell-like chaos is coordinated with precision by the team of talented chefs all dressed in their heat-proof brown leather aprons & armed with cleavers, saws, knifes & other such weapons more frequently seen in horror movies. It’s an awesome sight & remarkably they keep the restaurant itself cool [some impressive air vents somewhere] & informal.
We went on a Wednesday night & had a 6.30pm booking & the place was packed. It was just a good friend & I so the counter seating worked perfectly. If you were in a larger group you’d have to hope you had good company on either side, or else try & get the big chefs table where you can enjoy more traditional seating.
The menu is pretty tight & compact which I like. It is also a vegetarians nightmare. This is meat, meat & more meat. I do recall seeing some oysters on there somewhere but that’s a rare break from the staples of beef, lamb, pork & their much loved bone marrow which seems to crop up on most options. We ordered more than we should have, and more than is necessary for 2 blokes but when you see a menu loaded with exciting, delicious-sounding dishes as is the case here, decisiveness goes out the window & you just strap in for a feast.
Food is delivered as & when it is ready, straight off the grills & delicately presented by the cleaver wielding chefs. With the exception of one dish, the food was stunning. It is the best barbecue restaurant I have ever eaten in. The quality & cooking of the meat is world-class & they remarkably missed out on a Star when the Michelin Guide recently came to Singapore. That was a mistake given there are inferior restaurants in Singapore that were rewarded.
Onto the food. The wonderful chunks of freshly made sourdough that kicked us off were a good start. Chewy, crusty & with delicious salted butter on the side. From this, we moved into the Sobrasada, which was the weakest dish, but still a tasty, generous slice of raw cured sausage with buttery toast. The dishes then came thick & fast. The highlight was the ‘beef marmalade & pickles’. Rich, tender beef that must have been braising for months, sitting on toast & topped with pickles to cut through the richness. It was just about the tastiest thing I can ever remember eating. Total heaven.
We also had the ‘fennel, orange & burrata’ which was delicious & everything you want from a good burrata. Creamy, rich & well balanced with the hit of orange citrus. Next came the ‘Lamb Kebab’. Simple in title but far more than your average kebab. Generous lamb chunks presented quite literally, on a sword, beautifully marinated in a deep meaty sauce, topped with yogurt & served alongside a fresh-from-the-oven flatbread. Stunning. Next came their specialty. The ‘Burnt Ends Sanger’ which is wonderful pulled pork shoulder, cole slaw & aioli crammed into a fresh brioche bun. Just go & try it. We mopped up every last bit. It’s that good. At this point they would have had to roll us out so it was totally unnecessary to order 200g of Black Angus Australian Onglet. Cooked perfect medium rare, doused in bone marrow sauce & topped with burnt onions. We both inhaled deeply as it was presented & managed to force it down. It was, like everything in Burnt Ends, a wonder of meat cooking but I think we would have enjoyed it more if we hadn’t already already consumed Octobers entire calorie intake.
As we wallowed in our meat coma, head chef was preparing in front of us the main event ready for the private party on the chefs table. Standing with meat cleaver in hand, he masterfully butchered a whole, spatchcocked piglet fresh from the mighty oven. We left the restaurant with the sound of crackling breaking & the smell of wonderful pig filling the air.
I would recommend Burnt Ends to anyone. It is one of the most exciting, memorable dinners I have had in a long time & the food met all expectations. Loaded with calories, light on vegetables but a collection of wonderful meat dishes prepared & presented by seriously talented chefs. Go [unless you’re a veggie].
Burnt Ends, 20 Teck Lim Road, Singapore