Knuckles Bistro: S$10 German Pork Knuckles & Other Low-Cost Western Fare Near Kovan

Let’s be real: Sometimes we just want to enjoy some comfort Western food, without having to go over the budget. Besides having to settle for the Western stall option in food courts, it would be nice to be seated in a cosy interior, serenaded with pop grooves and served a hearty fare — all at an affordable price.

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Here at Knuckles Bistro, you’re in for a treat. The rustic bistro near Kovan serves up an extensive list of Western food guaranteed to keep the wallet safe and satiate those cravings.

Once we arrived, it became apparent that the homely space was overshadowed by Nakhon Kitchen, which was just two stalls down. Still, it did not deter us from giving Knuckles Bistro a shot.

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Decked in wooden furniture, the eatery was modest and simple, with warm lights creating a snug atmosphere. We were greeted by the friendly staff at Knuckles Bistro, who was extremely accommodating in assisting us with our orders.

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To get our appetites going, we started off with some Truffle Fries (S$6). It’s no secret that food trends constantly incorporate this ingredient into dishes to amplify its worth. Plus, the nutty and aromatic hints of truffle oil are undeniably hypnotic.

The thin shoestring fries were nicely golden and had a crisp crunch to it. Having tried many other renditions of truffle fries, this version here at Knuckles Bistro did not quite meet our expectations. It could definitely do with a more generous drizzle of truffle oil. But hey, for its price, we can’t complain.

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And of course, we had the famous German Pork Knuckles (S$10) that gave the bistro its name. The dish was served alongside a scoop of mashed potato topped with brown gravy and some sauerkraut (fermented cabbage).

We were pleasantly surprised to see the hunky meat deboned, which made it easier to eat and share with others. Plus, it only cost S$10! Eager to judge its value, we quickly dived in for a bite.

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Given how the skin showcased a crackling exterior, we assumed we would be greeted with a euphoric crunch upon the first bite. However, the crisp surface was merely a facade as we found it rather stiff to chew on.

Furthermore, the meat was tough and dry which made the experience all the more adverse. The pork knuckles could use with a bit more seasoning other than salt though. The humble mashed potato and sauerkraut sides were half-decent, then again – it isn’t that hard to perfect a simple side.

In this case, I would much rather splurge a heftier amount to get a juicier, more succulent German Pork Knuckles.

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For a more indulgent dish, we tried the Truffle Mushroom Pasta (S$8). The meek dish was generous and served with a velvety cream sauce where the pasta nestled under.

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The pasta was cooked perfectly and soaked up the rich cream sauce which gave each mouthful a strong flavour. The sprinkle of truffle oil was faint but with or without it, the homely dish was delightful on its own.

This would be my recommended dish to relish in if you have a budget to keep to and happened to stop by Knuckles Bistro. It’s not every day you get to pick a dish with truffle for under S$10!

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Lastly, we gave the Ribeye Steak (S$12) a try to see how it fared against other budget eats. The slab of beef was cooked medium rare and accompanied with a red wine brown sauce, garden greens and mashed potato with gravy.

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Unfortunately, we felt rather cheated by the cut we were served at Knuckles Bistro. The slab was rubbery and cutting a slice certainly required more effort than it should. The meat was either frozen or old, as it turned out greyish purple as we sliced into it. There was no redness to the meat nor was there the satisfying bleeding of the steak to assure us of its quality.

On the other hand, the red wine sauce was tasty and full of flavour. A pity that the star of the show failed to perform.

Then again, it could just be the chef wasn’t feeling the groove and compromised on his cooking on that day. But for me, once bitten, twice shy.

Knuckles Bistro certainly appeals to the student scene with their low-cost Western fare and we’re sure they’ve got a fair amount of loyal customers in the neighbourhood. Perhaps, the next time we’re back we would stop by for some drinks and finger food.

I’m positive the team at Knuckles Bistro can definitely improve on their dishes in due time. But at least for now, I’ve learnt it the hard way that some things are worth spending a little extra on.

Expected Damage: S$8 – S$15 per pax

Price: $

Our Rating: 2 / 5

Knuckles Bistro

212 Hougang Street 21, #01-337, Singapore 530212

Our Rating 2/5

Knuckles Bistro

212 Hougang Street 21, #01-337, Singapore 530212

Operating Hours: 12noon - 2.30pm & 5.30pm - 11pm (Fri - Sun), 5.30pm - 11pm (Tue - Thur), Closed on Mon

Operating Hours: 12noon - 2.30pm & 5.30pm - 11pm (Fri - Sun), 5.30pm - 11pm (Tue - Thur), Closed on Mon