Burnt Ends (B.E.) needs no introduction. It is Singapore’s fourth best restaurant for 2016 and Burpple’s hottest place for 2014 and 2015 with 3,327 recommendations. With accolades aplenty, four friends and I visited B.E. with excitement and high expectations. But after spending S$382 (S$79.92 myself) on our lunch, I have to say: it was not worth it.
Out of seven dishes, only two floored us (both coincidentally the beef dishes). Three were disappointing(!) Two were just alright. In fact, five of us could not help but remark while paying the bill, B.E. was mostly disappointing.
The biggest letdown of the afternoon was B.E.’s famed Sanger burger ($20). Guys, what’s the hype that we five managed to miss out altogether?! The burger was just soft brioche buns, that were undeniably fluffy, sandwiched with a generous amount of wet soggy slaw and an equally generous amount of pulled pork, that was thankfully not stringy or dry, but its flavour completely overwhelmed by the slaw. It was soft soft and soft with no crunchy elements present. We took a bite, immediately looked at each other and remarked: mmh… o.k. only leh. Shouldn’t have ordered two of this.
The Beef dishes were the best and definitely worth the visit to B.E. From the appetizer menu, the utterly delightful Beef Marmalade & Pickles on housemade sourdough ($14 for two) was unique and a flavor bomb!
We really really liked the sticky and sweet beefy mixture with pickles to cut the heaviness. Plus there was this cheese-sauce-like thing in between the beef marmalade and crusty toast that made it even more sloppy and utterly delicious! So good.
The second dish we really liked was the Onglet, Burnt Onion and Bone Marrow ($102 for 400gm at $26/100gm). Little perfectly medium-rare pieces of onglet that melted in our mouths atop the most divine marrow jus topped with jeweled bone marrow with a heavily-seasoned watercress on the side.
Utterly decadent. This dish was superb. The cow died for a good cause. While the meat was unevenly grilled with some pieces more charred than others, we went weak in the knees for this dish.
However the rest were underwhelming. Burnt ends was unbearably expensive too. The S$42 Leek Hazelnut and Truffle dish was not.worth.it.
The blistered char-grilled leeks with crunchy roasted hazelnuts were great but the truffle flake-thing adorning the leeks bore NO TRUFFLE flavour. Gosh, I felt so cheated… $42 for leeks and bonito-like flakes. Should have I complained and asked for a refund despite the bonito flakes sitting in my tummy? Thinking back I should have. With $42, I could have walked across the road and gotten two Potato Head Folk burgers. Or one burger with Naughty Fries on the side. I am pretty sure they would have been more satisfying.
The second not.worth.it dish of the afternoon was the Smoked Quail Egg with Caviar that was going for $15 each. ONE quail egg with NO smoky flavour topped with some caviar for $15. My heart aches for my $15++. I might have been placated if it was a bigger chicken egg instead. At least it would have felt more value for money.
The Crackling with a subtle Mustard-mayo dip (S$6) was alright although did nothing to whet our appetites. Passable if one was having it at a pub.
Another protein we shared was the uber-tender and juicy Kingfish with Chimichurri (S$28). The fish was undeniably good but lacked a burnt flavor and I don’t remember Chimichurri tasting so green or grassy…
Unfortunately that afternoon, there was only one dessert on the menu. A tart (S$12) did not sound creative or magical so we skipped and called for the bill.
I still feel cheated about my meal at B.E. not least having spent quite a chunk of my bonus. A friend said “visiting with no expectations makes the dining experience better.” I beg to differ. When you have won an award as fourth best restaurant in the whole of Singapore and charging $42 for leeks, fireworks is expected. If anything, B.E. illustrates the still-dismal situation of the Singapore fine-dining scene.