Every food writer has one or two favourite joints hidden under their belt. While we’re usually quite hesitant to share these places with the general public for fear of generating long queues, I thought I’d share mine this time.
Behold, my favourite gastrobar: Birdie Num Num.
Since Birdie Num Num (or Birdie’s, as my friends and I affectionately call it) opened in June 2015, it has been my go-to place whenever I wanted to wind down after work.
The only gastrobar at Kembangan, Birdie’s is a small and cosy joint that serves up mean plates of charcoal-grilled mains and loaded bites, which go perfectly with an ice-cold pint of beer.
Hidden between a Muslim coffeeshop and a nondescript laptop repair shop, Birdie’s is located opposite the soccer field and playground, just a few minutes walk from Kembangan MRT.
My close friends and I visit this joint so often that the owner has come to recognise us on sight, and often pops by to have a chat with us while we sip on our beers.
In fact, I believe we’ve ordered almost everything on the menu. Almost.
What I tried (this time, at least)
If there’s one thing I would recommend you to order, it would be Birdie’s Sinful Fries (S$13.90). I’ve ordered this dish on almost every occasion (not kidding) and it still never fails to impress me.
This plate of loaded fries consists of seasoned hand-cut fries, bonito flakes, a house-made vinegar-based sauce, wasabi mayonnaise and a runny sous vide egg.
Eating the fries became a gloriously messy affair, especially after cutting into the sous vide egg.
Deliciously addictive, the crunchy fries were salty and had a savoury aftertaste. I loved the slight sweetness from the bonito flakes and wasabi mayonnaise, and appreciated how the house-made vinegar-based sauce helped to cut through the jelak-ness of each bite.
If you’re not a fan of runny eggs, you can consider going for Birdie’s Duck Fat Fries (S$12.90) instead, which consists of hand-cut fries tossed in duck fat and topped with melted cheese. Still equally delicious, if you ask me.
We also tried Birdie’s Kushiyaki (grilled meat and vegetables on skewers), which is a new addition to its menu.
Here’s what we ordered: Chicken Soft Bone (S$2.50), Chicken Skin (S$2.50), Pork Belly Wrapped Enoki Mushroom (S$3.50), and Pork Belly Wrapped Asparagus (S$3.50).
The Pork Belly Wrapped Enoki Mushroom (S$3.50) was my favourite item from this menu.
Covered in a sticky sweet glaze, the juicy pork belly was tender and had a tinge of smokiness from its time on the charcoal grill. Plus, the enoki mushroom was delightfully sweet and provided a nice crunch.
Be sure to try the Chicken Skin (S$2.50) as well. While I was expecting something similar to deep-fried fish skin, Birdie’s chicken skin was surprisingly different — in a good way.
It reminded me of crispy pork belly in the way that it had a good amount of fat and wasn’t completely brittle, like chips or fish skin.
Birdie’s has an extensive food menu, ranging from pizza to mains, but the one dish I keep coming back to is its Cheeky Cow (S$20.90) — fork-tender beef cheek seared to crisp, and served with handmade mashed potatoes and garden salad.
The beef cheek was so tender that we didn’t even have to use a knife. Prodding at it with our fork was enough for the meat to come apart like melted butter, and I couldn’t wait to taste it.
The meat was soft, smoky and juicy. I loved the crispy layer of skin, which had been glazed with a barbecue brown sauce. The way this dish melted in my mouth reminded me of oxtail, and every mouthful was an absolute delight.
I also got to try its handmade Aglio Olio Pasta with Tiger Prawns (S$19.90), which was tossed in garlic, chilli padi and olive oil.
I was surprised to find that Birdie’s aglio olio used thick noodles instead, which resembled tagliatelle or even pappardelle. I realised it was because Birdie’s handmade pasta is cut by hand.
They must’ve used a lot of garlic in this dish, because each strand of pasta was peppered with finely minced garlic. Each mouthful was fragrant and sweet, with a hint of chilli creeping in at the end. The pasta had a nice bite to it, but I personally would’ve liked it if the pasta was thinner in width.
While there are many things I love about Birdie’s, the one thing I’ve come to enjoy is its evergreen beer promotion.
Available any time of the day, order five pints of beer for S$55, which works out to be S$11 per pint. For this promotion, mix and match from any of its draught beers (Asahi Super Dry, Asahi Super Dry Black, Guiness, Kronenbourg Blanc) or any of its bottled beers (Corona Extra, Erdinger Dunkel, Kilkenny, Tsing Tao).
While I enjoyed a pint of Asahi Super Dry, my colleague went for Birdie’s Latte (S$5) instead.
Coffee is a recent addition to their menu, thanks to its newest La Pavoni coffee machine. I prefer coffee without too much milk, so I really appreciated how well-balanced this cup of coffee was. Not too sweet, not too creamy, with just the right amount of roasted nuttiness to it.
Aaah, perfect with its all-day breakfast menu.
Whether you’re looking for the next gastrobar or looking for a place to chill at after work, Birdie Num Num is worth the visit. Not only do they provide warm and friendly service, but the food that they dish out is also honest and delicious.
Just a heads up that they do have limited seating, so be sure to make a reservation via their Facebook or Instagram channels before dropping by to avoid long waiting times. I’ve personally had to wait an hour or two for impromptu date nights at Birdie Num Num, but as always, it was worth the wait. Every single time.
Expected damage: S$15 – S$30
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Price: $ $
Our Rating: 5 / 5
Birdie Num Num
54 Jalan Kembangan, Singapore 419119
Birdie Num Num
54 Jalan Kembangan, Singapore 419119