The Place The dining scene at Amoy Street is heated up once again, not a bad news for CBD folks. The latest entrant is the few weeks’ old Birds of A Feather, an all-day dining, cafe and bar inspired by the green, laidback and serene teahouse in Chengdu, China. Of course, it’s the Chengdu spirit we are referring to, as the restaurant is not a teahouse per se.
The experienced owners managed about 40 cafes in China, under the brand Good Wood Coffee, and they aspire to bring the same nature and laidback vibe of Chengdu to Singapore. Hence, it is not difficult to notice that the interior of Birds of A Feather takes inspiration from nature, which we feel is a nice respite from the busy Amoy Street. Upon entering the restaurant, we were immediately greeted by the lush green, woody and sanctuary alike backdrop of the restaurant.
The Food Before you read any further, just so you know, this is amongst our favourite new restaurant for the year. The cuisine here is contemporary Western with Sichuan influences, think Sichuan sauces and spices in the dishes. For all-day snacks, the Find the Chicken in the Chillies (S$16) makes a good teaser to whet your appetite. It looks spicy but the spiciness of the chicken is not overwhelming, which reminded me of popcorn chicken in the Sichuan version.
Another crowd’s favourite from the small plates menu is the Fried Calamari with Yuzu Tartar Sauce (S$19). The fresh and addictive calamari is coated with egg white batter, fried to a nice crisp texture and paired with yuzu tartar sauce. This sounds like a very common and simple dish, but this version is exemplary.
Presented in a bag, the Crispy Pork Trotters in a Bag (5 pieces – S$12) works like shaker fries where you pour the spices into the bag of crispy pork and shake it before eating. One aspect to note is that the spiciness level of the dishes in general is relatively mild even for me, which is supposedly the average spiciness level back in Chengdu.
Even potatoes can be so delicious. The Fried Potato and Japanese Sweet Potato with House Seasoning (S$8) is great for sharing given that it shouts carbo overloaded. My preference here is the Sweet Potato, which I have never tried such an appetising and crispy version before.
A fun dish to order is the Fortune Skewer in Szechuan Pepper Broth (S$19), resembling that of Chinese fortune telling. The idea is that you won’t know exactly which vegetable lies beneath the skewer you pick, but one thing we can guarantee is that the broth is going to satisfy your palate for sure.
The Crispy Gyoza with Trufﬂe Soy Vinaigrette (S$16) is relatively pedestrian in terms of concept as compared to the other dishes we tried here. That said, it still is an indulgent dish to share, espeially if you have a knack of trying anything truffle.
For lunch options, the Roasted Chicken & Avocado Salad with Szechuan Pepper (S$18) was delicious. This is a nice twist on the usual avocado salad dish as I can taste the tinge of ‘Ma’ or spicy flavour in the dish, which was extremely appetising.
The Grilled Cheese Panini with Sichuan braised pork belly, pickled cabbage and fried potato (S$20) is no doubt one of our favourite dishes here. The amazing combination of flavours aside, much credit has to be given to the perfectly crisp texture of the panini which puts other renditions to shame. This is a must try dish for us.
For dinner options, a nice play on Sichuan influence is the Tofu Burger with MAPO Meat Sauce (S$22) , as inspired from ‘Mapo Tofu’. The crispy Tofu was a delight to bite into, providing a nice contrast with the soft oriental bun texture. The play of Mapo Meat Sauce on this unique burger blends consistently well with the theme of the restaurant.
If you love your ‘Zha Jiang Mian’, here’s the western interpretation from Birds of A Feather. The Oriental Bolognaise (S$20) of angel hair pasta comes with pork ragout, onsen tamago, with a choice of spicy option. Do expect al dente pasta, mixed with very comforting ingredients.
The Hot & Sour Chazuke (S$28) is served with Niigata rice and a spicy pickled mustard green broth, charcoal-grilled barramundi and mentaiko. This dish feels like a comforting home cooked meal which I don’t mind to return home for. My only gripe is the mentaiko element could have been more intense to lend the dish a stronger flavour.
For desserts, the Deep fried Glutinous Rice Cake with Okinawan Black Sugar Syrup (S$12) is something I will recommend. It reminded me of our local version of ‘Muah Chee’, but this version is much more flavourful all thanks to the Okinawan black sugar. Other dessert options include the Poached Pear with Citrus, Ginger and Longan with Orange Caramel Espuma (S$12) and cakes.
Rants Don’t mistaken. You don’t get the true authentic Sichuan food here, if that’s what you are looking for.
Will I Return Again? Birds of A Feather is easily one of the more outstanding new restaurants this year. The food is delicious, hearty and stays true to its theme. The beautiful and spacious space is something lacking in restaurants in CBD, which is a good deviation from most restaurants in this area. It probably needs more time to prove itself in the culinary scene, before it fully takes flight and spread its wings. One thing for sure, we will be back.
This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.
Taste bud: 4/5
Hole in the pocket: 3.5/5
Overall Experience: 4.5/5
Birds of A Feather
113 Amoy Street
Tel: +65 6221 7449
Daily 11am to 11pm
Sunday: 10am to 6pm
Ranted by The Ranter