Thursday, 11 May 2017

No Bullshit At Bread Street Kitchen

No Bullshit Cuisine

 I spent a few weeks searching for the perfect restaurant to celebrate the hubby’s birthday and our 16th wedding anniversary.  David had always been a practical man.  So yes, he chose to get married on his birthday so he would never forget our wedding anniversary…you know, “Happy Wife, Happy Life” and all that.  Being practical meant that he would appreciate a meal that was practical and without frills.
For a cheapskate Scot, that would usually mean Pie and Beans at our local.  However, it was his 53rd birthday and our 16th wedding anniversary, so I was not going to be happy with just that meal of Pie and Beans.

That search for the perfect restaurant began with my hunt for the right cuisine that I felt he would enjoy.  Would he prefer the exotic taste of Indian food, or perhaps the comfort of British food, or would he veer towards healthier fare like Japanese food?  To be honest, the choice was a headache, until I walked past Bread Street Kitchen at Marina Bay Sands one day and it dawned on me that my man would truly enjoy a “No Bullshit Cuisine” from a restaurant owned by a “No Bullshit Chef”. 

Bread Street Kitchen

 Togged in our No Bullshit casual weekend garb, we sauntered into Bread Street Kitchen expecting not to be served Bullshit and we were not disappointed.
We were about an hour early for our reservation, and were promptly ushered to the bar for some pre-dinner drinks.  We ordered some sensible Prosecco to kick-start the evening but our 23 year old son decided to opt for a drink for 13 year olds - the Vanilla milkshake - which was prettily served with chocolate chip sprinkles and wee marshmallows. We had a good laugh over it and the guys at the bar did the same, asking if he wanted a little umbrella to go with his drink.  The jokes and laughter that ensued just put us all right into a relaxed mood and ready to enjoy an evening of great food and even more laughter.

Delighting The Customers
After our glasses of Prosecco, we were ready to order our bottle of wine.  David chose a bottle of Syrah which we both sampled after the bottle was open.  It tasted terrible.  I rejected the bottle and was prepared to pay for that bottle but the server apologized for my experience with it, and told me not to worry about that bottle of wine.  Mind you, that bottle cost $129 yet they were willing to absorb the cost for my erroneous choice.  I was delighted by that touch of customer-service because I had been to a restaurant where a server once retorted when I rejected a vile bottle of wine,  “Well you chose to have something medium-bodied so this was medium-bodied what!”   Instead, this  server at Bread Street Kitchen was apologizing for my poor choice! What a breath of fresh air.  He asked if we preferred something that was fuller bodied or medium bodied and because David and I loved a full bodied wine, he pointed to the Chateu Le Boscq Saint-Estephe 2008. It was a great choice and I was glad he pointed us to the right choice.  This kid definitely knew his stuff.

No Bullshit Food

 We started our meal with a Cider Onion soup.  As unadventurous as we were, we were expecting a clear broth of French Onion soup, “but this one had that bullshit addition of Cider”, I thought.  However, I canned that thought at the first taste of the soup.   It was not bullshit at all. The Cider gave the soup its hint of sweetness, made it richer, full-flavoured and so robust. As David put it, the soup was “bowl-licking” good.  We mopped all that soup up with 2 bread baskets and swore not to order a 3rd one if we could help it.

At most fancy celebrity chef-owned restaurants, we would expect food described like this -  “Stout Battered Wild Haddock Served With White Wine, Crème Anglais And Truffle Reduction Fried To A Golden Brown Perfection” and then only to be served 7 thickly battered pieces of shrivelled white bait each served on a single French Fry and plated on what looked like a used diaper when they swirl a dollop of mushy peas on the side of the platter.

 We would not appreciate that kind of Bull Shit.

 David is a simple man.  He would be happy with just steak and chips.  So that was what he ordered.  He ordered a tenderloin, and was asked how he would like it done, what accompanying sauce and what sides he wanted.  There was nothing fancy in the dish.  What was served was a near- perfect medium rare tenderloin, served with a peppercorn sauce on the side and some chips. It was near perfect because David expressed that his steak was not hot enough, as if it had sat on the counter top for awhile as the chef took time to plate it with some cherry tomatoes.  The server was prepared to take the steak back immediately and exchange it for another one but David felt it was a waste of good steak and told him that he was okay with it.  As you can see, the servers did not attempt to offer an excuse.  They were prepared to change it. Perfectly No Bullshit.  

Joel chose to have the Dingley Dell Pork Belly.  I had heard friends raving about the pork belly before and I knew he would thoroughly enjoy the dish with its phenomenal crispy  golden skin yet juicy and tender belly meat served with spiced apple puree on the side.  The portion was huge yet Joel did not leave a single morsel on his plate.  At the end of his meal, he proclaimed, “Speechless.”  That had got to be “delicious” to  the millennial generation I thought.  That pork belly was again a No Bullshit dish.  It was just pork belly cooked to perfection no more no less.  It was not overly dressed with garnishing and anything colourful because the star of that dish was just that piece of pork! They got it.  No Bullshit.

I was vegetarian that day and entered the restaurant thinking that any of Gordon Ramsay’s kitchens worldwide would not know what vegetarian meant. I was surprised that they had a separate vegan menu.  I chose a risotto with semi-dried tomatoes.  Yes that was what it was called in that menu, just “Risotto With Semi-Dried Tomatoes” so I would not expect anything fancy.  Risotto is a dish that is so difficult to cook.  I was often disappointed by over-cooked mushy oatmeal like dishes served at restaurants which tried to tout that as risotto.  This Risotto With Semi-Dried Tomatoes did not bury its lack of meat and other ingredients with any fancy names, sauces, or garnishing.  It was plain and simple – risotto with semi-dried tomatoes served with some arugula for colour.  Semi-dried tomatoes and cheese were a winning combination. They were not overpowering each other and I could taste every grain in that dish.  Even my vegetarian dish was No Bullshit.

The Banana Sticky Toffee Pudding served for dessert and as part of his birthday celebration was a delight.  I had stopped him from having too many sweets for health reasons and was pleased that the pudding was not overly sweet.  This sticky toffee pudding was the best we have had in a long time, definitely unrivalled.

Celebrating Real Moments With Real Food

I was glad David enjoyed that dinner.  We were not served Bullshit the way many fancy restaurants would. The team at Bread Street Kitchen had a simple goal to just serve good quality food with great service. It did not claim to be anything else other than a restaurant that was good for casual dining.  Although every table at the restaurant was filled, they never once faltered in their service.  They just wanted to delight their customers in any small way they could.

 Another example of this was that the table allocated to me initially was at Basement 1 level.  While we were about to finish our glasses of Prosecco, the server led us to another table on the same level as the bar, at Level 1.  She said, “I think you might prefer this table because the other table initially allocated to you is just beside a long table which is expecting a party of 8 diners.  It could get noisy.”  Bless her heart.  I would not have written this blog post if I did indeed occupy that table.  Great customer service come from staff that is mindful about fine details like these.  They could have laid the bullshit on about a “fully booked restaurant” and not bothered about it.  But they did not. 
 I love the No Bullshit quality about Bread Street Kitchen and am now keen to explore Ramsay’s other offerings in London at the end of the year during our trip back to the UK.



About The Writer:

This blog post was co-written by my brother Jerome and I. Although we are siblings who grew up 11 years apart, shaped by differing experiences to see the world from different perspectives, we do share a common obsession – FOOD.  We celebrate our passion for life with food.  However, our attitudes to food are quite different and the way we celebrate our love for food are also quite different.  Jerome lives to eat and hoovers everything edible that crosses his path.  As he shovels food into his mouth with that fork in his right hand, he takes photographs of what he eats, and posts pictures and notes up on Facebook with his left.  Often, his beautifully written prose about what he had eaten would be 7 paragraphs in length and would not have any punctuations in between because he had been too busy multi-tasking. 

I, on the other hand, eat to live. It is not just about my attempts to eat healthily. As I am a “cam-whore” and “social media hussy”, I spend about half an hour styling my food, taking photographs, writing notes and posting them across my social media platforms before eating them, right after the hubby has paid for the bill and is about to head out of the restaurant.  I enjoy reading all my posts about what I had eaten because I know that I had lived fully in spite of watching what I eat.  Welcome to the foodie world of the quirky Ong siblings.


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