Kite – the mention of this word brings back childhood memories of when my family and I enjoyed picnics togthering, occasionally flying kites and having good fun. General Manager William Liou and his team have embraced the abstract concept of childhood familiarity and wonder, in establishing this new shophouse restaurant and bar.
Situated along the stretch of Craig Rd, a street associated to the concept of nightlife, Kite can be easily missed in favour of its buzzier neighbouring bars. William runs Kite with the support of Head chef Dannel, Bar Manager Samuel and Restaurant Manager Yanyi, a dream team carefully put together.
The interior features a narrow room, with a requisite coffee-making machine holding fort at a long bar counter, along with shelves that hold dozens of liquid gold – fine spirits.
Kite beholds an extensive menu inclusive of Asian-inspired mains, desserts and cocktails. But when William explained that dining at Kite is in the style of small sharing plates, we were underwhelmed.
Chicken Skins ($6.00). Dehydrated and having the fats removed, the fried chicken skins take up twenty-four hours of preparation time.
The texture is thin and papery crispy. The removal of all of its oil content delights me, to come to know the existence of a not-so-sinful fried bar snack. I love the dry and light sensation when munching into this savoury treat.
Saba Rillette ($10).
This dish consists of rye chunks served with house-made butter, with the latter consisting of nori and furikake. Croutons and cucumbers are also packed into the adorable canned food-like presentation of the dish.
It was a heavenly blend of texture and flavours. I could taste the rich, meaty saba fish, which paired well with the toasted bread that was served alongside. With courtons and cucumbers as its toppings, the dish is yummy and refreshes the taste buds.
“Dirty Vegetables” ($10).
The vegetables included are asparagus, carrots as well as homegrown sorelle found in the backyard of Kite restaurant. The description does give an impression of irkiness to the dish. Nonetheless, this item on Kite’s menu is actually one of the most savoury sweet treats offered at the restaurant.
What contributes to the “dirty vegetables” as described by its name, is the layer of soil-like looking brown butter and coffee that covers the greens. The butter emulsion is done by rolling ground peanut bits into chocolate and coffee, and makes up a heavenly-tasting layer of crunchy and sweet topping.
I must say that this is a wonderful idea for enticing kids to eat vegetables.
The highlight of this dish lies in Kite’s specialty lap cheong oil, i.e. oil sucked out from Taiwanese sausages. The team at Kite had put in a lot of hard work extracting oil from various Taiwanese sausages, before arriving at the best quality of taste.
The lap cheong oil had added a Chinese cuisine taste to the very thin Japanese noodles, which worked really well. Finely textured, similar to angel hair pasta, biting into the somen elicits the fragrance of the lap cheong oil.
Salmon Trout 42Deg ($15).
We were being informed that 42 degree celsius is the point right before salmon meat starts to flake. Indeed, the conjuring of the product is one with very thick and rich meat, emitting a fresh, chewy flavour and texture.
Another point of highlight for this dish is the compressed apples served with the salmon. These savoury cubes were made from the use of vacuum packs.
Corn & Mushrooms ($12).
Served lukewarm, I had found this dish overly sweet in terms of taste. Nonetheless, I like the wild and fresh taste of the mushrooms. However, the polenta was a bit too starchy and too sweet.
I would say that the ingredients are healthy, but that kinda doesn’t work for me because healthy, I am not. I would personally prefer to go for Kite’s niches in their inventive rendition of Asian-based fusion dishes.
Ubin Sea Bass ($14).
Covered with a thick layer of umami butter, the sea bass is delectable, with an awesome combination of rich meat with delicate umami texture.
Topped with sprouts, lotus root as well as sunflower seeds “hidden” beneath the generous serving of fish, the entire dish has the aura of a natural and horticultural feel.
Iberico Pork Collar ($16).
I must commend Chef Dannel and his team for coming up with this brilliant dish. Imbedding local flavours to the Spanish Iberico Pork, the result is a marriage made in heaven. The entire dish is likened to bak kut teh, our local delicacy, or I should say, even more flavourful.
The pork pieces were boiled soft, chewy and tender. The you tiao cum bak kut teh inspired white sauce added a savoury fragrance to the meat. Definitely a must-try at Kite.
Panna Cotta ($10).
Not the usual panna cotta which you’ve tasted from elsewhere. The pink peppercorn as well as the red coriander leaves give this dessert item a slightly spicy taste.
The balance of sweet flavour comes from both the topping of Korean dessicated coconut as well as the chunks of coconut foam. The latter had a texture similar to that of icing sugar. It was made via freezing it to the form of foam.
I love the entire dessert dish, it was a good balance of sweet and spicy flavour as well as good combination of soft and hard texture. Indeed a refreshing round-up to one’s dining at Kite.
Another must-try item on Kite’s dessert menu, the s’mores at Kite is made up of a rich content of ingredients. Healthy wheat crackers are half-dipped in warm chocolate, and served together with chewy, melt-in-your-mouth brown butter flavoured marshmallows.
The thick chocolate coating contains hazelnut flavour, and is hence not overly chocolatey. As a fan of the hazelnut flavour, I had felt that it gave the entire dish an aromatic base flavour.
Another point of highlight of this dish is the praline nuts hidden at the bottom. Similar to the hazelnut flavour, I had found the pralines very fragrant in taste. They were a delightful crunch that paired well with the chocolate coating.
With the light-hearted setting and chillax ambience, coupled with small dishes that bring out the essence of well-infused local and Western flavour, Kite is an ideal hangout place to celebrate friendships.
Be they camaraderie forged during the innocent childhood days or those formed in the later years, as Kite is also able to accommodate the taste buds of our overseas friends whom we cross paths with in our adulthood. On the whole, I very much enjoyed my dining experience here at Kite.
Expected Damage: $50 – $60 per pax.