Replacing Restaurant Ember at Hotel 1929, Bistro November is a pop-up concept restaurant with an exterior that garners minimal attention as the “signboard” is literally just a piece of A4-sized paper mounted just beside the door.
Why the name? Well, the restaurant will only be here till November 2017 and who knows what’s going to happen next.
With very local and seasonal ingredients sourced daily from the nearby Chinatown Wet Market, the brainchild of Chef John-Paul Fiechtner serves adventurous dishes that will definitely challenge your appetite and widen your perspectives on food.
Enter the restaurant and you’ll be greeted by the sight of a giant chalkboard that states the daily specials and wine selections. The restaurant’s interior expresses simplicity at its best.
Written in good ol’ pen and paper, there are two sets of daily-changing menus available; an a la carte and a five-course tasting menu that costs $48++ for lunch and $78++ for dinner.
A combination of what seemed the most bizarre out of the entire menu, the Parfait, Egg Yolk, Longan ($22) is a dish of frog legs covered in a crispy, red crust of flavours with middle-eastern influences.
Served atop a bed of laksa leaves, the legs are paired with longan pulp, fishbone vinegar, and a wobbly, cured egg yolk.
Almost tasting like a cross between chicken and fish, this boneless frog ‘nugget’ with a twig certainly does not taste like the usual frog leg porridge nor its claypot counterparts, either.
What’s most unique about this dish is however, the Frog-gras a.k.a the frog liver parfait! Never in my life have I tried something like that, and I really had to thank Chef Paul for intriguing my palate.
The taste reminded me a lot of sea urchin with a few drops of Thai fish sauce; creamy and briny but not lacking the natural sweetness. It was pretty addictive when complemented with the homemade crackers called ‘corn flakes’.
Another worthy mention would be the Mutton, Salted Plum, Chamomile ($18), a dish of mutton tartare blended with foie gras (goose liver), topped with shaved macadamia, wrapped in radish and served on endive leaves.
Although it did not look like much, I was absolutely blown away when I tried the mutton tartare as the taste from just one bite was already so complex. The slight bitterness from the endives, gamey taste of mutton, tartness from the radish and — for the lack of a better word — umami from the salted plum powder.
Besides, chowing it down with Korean BBQ leaf-wrap-style sort of enhanced the whole eating experience.
With its prime location near the heart of Chinatown, interesting menu rotations and such top-notch culinary creativity from the chef, Bistro November is a place that I would definitely visit again with a few friends that have a penchant for bizarre, delicious and artsy food.
Go take your palate on an adventure, before November that is!
Expected damage: $60 – $80++ per pax