It’s quite an exciting moment when you actually personally know someone who is opening up a new restaurant in Singapore and you can’t wait to go down and try their menu. Last Friday was one such occasion for me. The latest offering on Keong Saik road, Neon Pigeon, had just opened the Tuesday of the same week and after having missed out on the tasting sessions, Friday seemed like a good opportunity to try what this new establishment had to offer. The first thing you notice when you walk in is this huge pigeon graffiti on the wall followed by the open kitchen on the right and the bar right next to it. Decor is simple and minimal, we sat at one of the few high tables for dinner.
A quick note on drinks. I feel it’s always quite important to find creative and interesting names for your cocktails, that’s really how you keep people curious and wanting to try that “drink”. Neon Pigeon does this, but what is also cool is that Aloysius, the bartender, makes bespoke cocktails as well. Challenge him with a few adjectives like, “sake with fruit”, “fruity but sour”, “whisky and strong” and he’ll whip something up for you. All of us decided to get bespoke cocktails for the evening and we ended up with some very nice concoctions. I especially liked the sake-peach cocktail that he made for J.
So on to the food. We ordered quite a variety of dishes. Again, this is a group of girls who do not diet and actually do eat.
COLD GRILLED SQUID SALAD: wasabi tempura seaweed, shiso ponzu
This was a nice starter to kick off the evening. The squid was well done (not overcooked) and the crunchy vegetables added a nice contrast to the texture of the dish.
TUNA CRUDO: miso, pickled apple, sprouts
Again, another nice complement of textures between the tuna and the beansprouts. The miso sauce went very well with the dish, though strict sashimi eaters might note that the tuna was not very evenly sliced.
SMOKED PORK BUNS: pickled daikon & ginger, umeboshi hoisin
This came compliments of the chef. This dish reminded me a lot of a chinese dish: Kong Bak Pau. The pork belly was cooked perfectly and seasoned well, but perhaps my propensity towards kong bak pau meant that I wasn’t as wowed by this dish as I could have been.
STEAMED SNAPPER: umeboshi ginger broth, tomato
Remember in my earlier posts when I commented that I’ve not been having much luck with steamed fish this year? Unfortunately, it appears this streak is set to continue. I’m beginning to realise that I’m really sensitive to the freshness of the fish and this dish didn’t really do it for me. The girls also commented that the fish was a little under.
GRILLED DUCK BREAST: “katsu curry” pumpkin puree, japanese red pickles
This came out with the snapper and if anything, it made up for any disappointment that was felt. The duck was cooked perfectly, and I really enjoyed the pumpkin puree that came along with it. I could not stop swiping my duck with the puree every chance I got!
ROASTED BONE MARROW: furikake seasoning, crispy garlic, toast miso
If I had to name one dish that the girls loved, this was probably it. After our disappointing experience with bone marrow at :Pluck, this was a real win for the girls. Soft, creamy and extremely indulgent. The nori on top was a wonderful touch, it made a lot of difference to the dish
MISO ROASTED PUMPKIN: sugar snap peas, crispy garlic, egg yolk
Nothing like a little “cooking in front of you” action to get excited and the tummys rolling again. I’m not usually a rice person, but this dish went down really well and together with the duck, made up one of my favourite dishes of the night. The egg yolk helps to keep the rice moist but it’s best to dig into this dish immediately once it’s served.
BUTTER BRAISED MUSHROOMS: soy and sesame
This dish was tasty, but it was a bit too much on the salty side. Luckily, this came together with the rice, so we were able to offset the saltiness, but definitely we could not manage this on our own before digging into our glasses of water.
CRISPY BRUSSEL SPROUTS: mirin glazed bacon, karashi
Interestingly, this dish took a long long time to arrive. It came to a point where we actually were wondering whether the dish was coming! Nevertheless, the girls really loved this dish, it was rather addictive. Just when you thought you had your last one, you found yourself reaching for another one. I’m not a big fan of brussel sprouts, so this was just all right for me.
Dessert is not on the menu, but if you ask, they do have some tarts available in matcha, yuzu and chocolate flavours. None of these really stood out for me, they weren’t something that I would especially come back for but it’s always nice to end the meal with something sweet.
In all, this was a really enjoyable meal. They do not charge service charge here but you are encouraged to tip if you found that you had great service, which we did! The staff were really attentive and very polite. For all these dishes, the cocktails and the three bottles of sake we had, we paid about $136 per person. Definitely a place to consider for a night out with friends!
Add: 1 Keong Saik Road