Burnt Ends won't be "new" to most of you anymore, but I figured in the off-chance that you haven't had a chance to try it/haven't read a thing about it (how can that be!!?! It's been everywhere from Soshiok to Today) then this little write up might in some way encourage you to try it out.
The establishment is the latest in LLP's (Loh Lik Peng) series of trendy upper-end eateries. Located in his favourite enclave of the Keong Saik/Jiak Chuan/Teck Lim triangle (I swear he must be buying up all the real estate in that area), it's a stone's throw from his other equally famous upper-end eateries, Esquina and Keong Saik Snacks. It's nice to have three tasty options to go to when you're in that area, unfortunately, they're normally perpetually full and do not take reservations, but three > one.
When P told me about the concept behind burnt ends (in essence, it's a high class smoke shack), I wasn't particularly enthused about paying the place a visit -- I mean, how exciting can BBQ possibly be? And that, my friends, is where I was wrong, wrong, wrong. In the event you're still under the impression that all BBQ resembles char siew, then you definitely need to do yourself a favour and have dinner here.
The food is simple, but very sophisticated. Not in the let me molecular-gastronomize the crap out of these beautiful flown-in-from-around-the-world-ingredients, but in the fact that the cooking process manages to highlight all the natural flavours, and bring out the best characters in each ingredient.
Take for example, the humble leek, who knew that smoking it would bring out all it's buttery goodness? Or the unassuming quail's egg (comes in a clean white bowl with 5 little eggs), so small but packs such an amazing smoky punch with a perfectly runny yolk. I had an entire bowl to myself, P had to order a second one for himself.
As for the meats (because BBQs should be about the meats), we had the Burnt Ends Sanger (it looks like a burger), Onglet, and Duck Hearts. Now, I never, ever eat innards of any sort, they really weird me out, but these plump little morsels, golden brown on the outside and the perfect shade of pink inside were absolutely sensational. There isn't a doubt in my mind that I'd order them again in a heartbeat (hurhur). Served with mushrooms, wilted vegetables and some kind of garlic dressing, it was one of my favourite dishes that evening.
The Sanger is essentially the Burnt Ends Burger (because it isn't a BBQ joint unless there's a burger somewhere on the menu) - succulent pulled pork shoulder mixed with coleslaw and some kinda crazy delicious dressing may actually convert me from a die-hard beef fan to pulled pork forever. But then we went and ordered a serving of the Onglet (which they portion according to the number of people dining and how much you've already ordered), and my conversion was very short-lived. The steak was lightly charred on the outside, and again, perfectly pink inside - I like my beef on the rarer side and this "rarer than medium rare" was just right, and super duper flavourful.
Finally, we ended with some sort of hibiscus dessert. To be honest, I hated the hibiscus bit, but I loved the smoked ice cream served with it. I wanted to order a second serving, telling them to hold the hibiscus, but I feared having my ass kicked out of the establishment so had to settle for just a single serve.
Like all of LLP's establishments, this place will set you back somewhat, we paid about $75 per person which isn't cheap but we think it was well worth it.
20 Teck Lim Road
Open: Mondays to Saturdays, 6pm to midnight. Closed on Sundays
They say it's no-reservations but if you call on the day-of and ask for a 6.30pm seating they will save you a seat or two.