Okay okay so all that was really just supporting anecdotal evidence that Aussies make the best barbecues, and to segue into one of 2016's best eats, modern Australian barbecue joint Burnt Ends.
I've put off dining at this trendy hotspot for a couple of years, waiting till the hype died down and snaking lines dissipated at the itsy-bitsy galley of a restaurant. But now that I've finally tried this award-winning restaurant, I'm kicking myself for missing out for so long. Burnt Ends is phenomenal, and totally deserving of every accolade extolled. Every dish a slamdunk, Burnt Ends makes the barbecue an exquisite affair. You wouldn't expect barbecued fare to be this polished, but Burnt Ends' mastery of the grill is inimitable. Prices are a little steep, considering the tapas-portions of most dishes, but well worth it.
Service was extraneously amiable and chipper in attitude, as Burnt Ends doesn't charge for service. And because the menu was impossibly succinct, scant almost, the staff's fair grasp of the menu helped inform our choices.
The Smoked Quail Egg ($15 each), crowned with caviar, cost a pretty penny, but wow was this glorious. I finally get why caviar is prized as a delicacy. These inky black pearls lent a plush briny counterpoint to the nuanced smokiness of the perfectly soft quail's egg. An absolute can't miss.
The Tomato Toast & Lardo ($18) looked rustic but was exquisite. The blobs of tomatoes, lightly torched on the grill, were bursting with an incredible sweetness.
The Beef and Mustard ($18), a beef tartare of sorts, was my favourite version ever. It was clear and refreshing, the bite of the mustard restrained the rounded body of the beef.
A signature, the Burnt Ends' Sanger ($20) was to-die-for. Best pulled pork burger I've ever had in my life. In fact, best burger I've had in a long time. I'm still dreaming about it.
A peek inside the exceptional confection, with pulled pork shoulder, coleslaw, chipotle aioli, and melty cheese sandwiched between a pillowy sesame seeded brioche bun.
The lobster thermidor-esque W.A. Marron ($90), accented with kombu and gilded with tobiko beurre blanc and chives, was sumptuous and succulent.
The Onglet ($35.10 for 150gm at $26/100gm), topped with burnt onion, was slathered in the most divine marrow jus. Decadent and heart palpitatingly sinful but so wonderfully superb. An oft-overlooked detail, I loved the crisp peppery contrast of the watercress salad to the richness of the meat and jus.
20 Teck Lim Road
Tel: 6224 3933
Open for lunch Wednesdays to Saturdays from 11.45 am to 2pm;
Dinners Tuesdays to Saturdays from 6pm to 12am-ish
Closed on Sundays & Mondays