Last Updated: November 16, 2016
With it’s fun-loving vibe and playful take on Asian cuisine, Ding Dong has finally made its way to its current home at Amoy Street. Chef Jet Lo’s Asian-inspired creations paired with a refreshed cocktail programme specially curated by new Group Bar Manager, Joe Schofield is the ultimate experience waiting to be enjoyed.
Guests coming to Ding Dong can be promised an experiential culinary journey of a life-time through the modern yet nostalgic elements of Southeast Asian flavours showcased in the dishes.
Ding Dong Daiquiri – $18
We started our experience at Ding Dong with the Ding Dong Daiquiri which is a frozen slush made with white rum, cherry eau de vie, lime and lychee topped with freeze dried raspberries. This cocktail was the perfect perk-me-up that gave off a chilly sour breeze, with the raspberries providing a nice sweetness at the end of each sip.
Once the drinks arrived, we quickly got down to sampling some of the cold plate dishes.
Homemade rice noodle roll with pork sausage & bean sprout salad – $17
Drawing inspiration from Thailand and Vietnam this dish is a true celebration of Southeast Asian textures and flavours. The smooth silky rice noodle was the perfect blanket to hold the pork sausage (made in-house) and mince pork (marinated in sesame oil and fish sauce) together, with the raw bean sprouts and Thai crispy fish garnish providing a nice freshness and crunch. The meaty flavours are complimented by the slight sour-ish tinge from the tamarind dressing and spice from the green chilli.
Hamachi sashimi with betal leaf, green mango & chilli relish – $18
This dish is a perfect pairing of Japanese and Thai flavours. The savoury plump flesh of the Japanese Kingfish yellowtail is complimented by the sweet pineapple and sour pickled mango.
A thai-style sambal chilli relish which is dry cooked with banana shallots is mixed with gula-melaka and fish sauce before being added on top to bring a hint of spiciness and saltiness to the dish. The betal leaf acts as a blanket that wraps all the ingredients together, giving the dish a nice refreshing nutty flavour at the end.
Hokkaido scallop tartare with coconut, pickled ginger & sea grapes – $19
Each charred bamboo cup is filled with sliced Hokkaido scallops mixed with a homemade chilli sauce, lime juice, pickled cucumbers and Japanese mayonnaise. A garnish of coconut, pickled ginger, pickled ginger flower and sea grapes are added to give the dish a contrast of textures and brightness to the dish.
After a delightful introduction to the cold dishes we proceeded on to the small plates for sharing.
5 spice lamb tongue with pickled cucumber & black pepper sauce – $17
I could not believe how tender the lamb tongue was when I took my first bite of this dish. No wonder since the lamb tongue is brined overnight before being marinated with Five-Spice powder, garlic and ginger. The tongue is then sous vide cooked for five hours at 92 degrees celsius, before being cubed and fried.
The pickled cucumber helps to lighten the gamy flavours of this dish and makes popping in a few more at a go that much easier. Go ahead and dip the lamb tongue in black-pepper sauce for that slightly salty and fiery kick in your mouth.
Homemade banana bread with duck liver & kimchi – $25
A crowd favourite on the menu, this dish is definitely a flavour party in the mouth. Pisang Amas (Golden Banana) from Malaysia are used to make the banana bread, giving it that distinct pungent aroma and sweetness.
This is contrasted against the creamy and savoury pan-fried foie gras and spicy tangy kimchi. I simply could not resist munching down on another one.
Thai basil quail with crispy garlic – $19
This dish reminds me of a fried version of the Indonesian Ayam Panggang. Although I must admit the flavours in this dish are pretty intense. The quail is marinated in garlic, bird’s eye chilli, sweet soy sauce, fish sauce and Thai basil before being sous vide for three hours at 57 degree celsius.
The bird then gets deep-fried to a crisp and garnished with crispy garlic and sesame seeds for an added variety of textures. Due to being sous vided, the quail manages to retain its juices after being deep fried, even though it is such a small bird.
The small plates left us wanting more that we moved on to the bigger plates.
‘Nan Ru’ pork ribs with ginger & apricot – $17
This is hands-down the best pork ribs I have ever tasted. You can really taste the fermented umami flavours that are absorbed into the ribs, similar to how it is done for prawn-paste chicken.
Fried to a crisp, the crusty exterior falls apart when I took my first bite. Go ahead and dip it into the apricot sauce for that added citrus -y brightness and sweetness.
Chargrill ocean trout with spiced quinoa & green mango salad – $24
The trout dish is a delight for all the senses, the vibrant colours of this dish really made me want to dive into it straight away. Biting into the trout, it reveals tender yet firm bright orange flesh that can only be the result of overnight curing.
The fish has a distinct smoky aroma that comes from charcoal grilling and its textures are enhanced by the sides of spiced yellow quinoa and sour flavours from the green mango salad. The tangy sweet and sour sauce made with fish sauce, light soy sauce, tamarind paste and sugar aids in lifting and brightening up the entire dish.
Ayam masak merah (red cooked chicken) with cucumber salad & onion puree – $22
While this dish is commonly found in Nasi Padang stalls all around Singapore, the version served here is no less inferior. The elements in this dish are deconstructed but when put together pack a punch of flavours.
The chicken breast remains juicy as a result of it being sous vide cooked. The sour-ish Ayam Masak paste made from tomato, dried chilli, kaffir lime leaf, lemongrass, ginger and white and red onion, balanced well against the caramelized onion puree and onion chips.
Spiced braised iberico pork with poached egg, lime & jack fruit tempura – $26
A Thai interpretation of sup tulang, the tender pieces of iberico pork are braised in a mixture of spices for over 12 hours. Spread apart the poached egg to coat each piece in that creamy gooey goodness. The crisp pieces of jackfruit tempura complement the meaty flavours of the pork and is best enjoyed with a bowl of Japanese rice.
No meal is complete without desserts, and we certainly could not miss out on the desserts that are served here.
Caramelized pineapple tart with tonka bean ice-cream – $19
The pineapple tart was definitely my favourite dessert of the lot. The crusty biscuit tart acted as the perfect base to scoop up all the yummy goodness on the plate. Pineapple flesh that has been cooked with gula melaka, coconut cream and Szechuan pepper is paired with Tonka ice-cream that is made with Tonka beans imported from Europe.
The ice-cream has a pleasant bitterness to contrast against the sweetness of the pineapple. Drop in a few beads of coconut rum pearls for that contrast of smoky flavours.
Ding Dong mango with pomelo and sago – $15
A lighter and airier version of a well-loved traditional Cantonese dessert (Mango Pomelo Sago), the dish features various contrasting textures of mango (foam, cube jelly, freeze-dried and sorbet) that are complemented by the bittersweet tinge of the pomelo and shiso leaf.
Kyoto matcha cake with morello cherry sorbet – $16
The mellow flavours of the matcha cake are a perfect marriage with the sweet and sour flavours of the morello cherry sorbet. The matcha cake has a bread-like texture that is denser.
While I like the flavour pairing in this dish I felt it could be improved by having the matcha flavours shine through more as it tends to get overpowered by the sourness of the morello cherry sorbet.
Given its popularity with the crowd while at Ann Siang Hill, Ding Dong continues to surprise us with its modernist take on Southeast Asian dishes even after its move. It’s playful vibe and eclectic ambiance makes for a perfect night that promises to excite and intrigue the senses.
Expected damage: $40- $60/pax