The Place Opened more than a year back, Neon Pigeon has been on my radar but I only have the chance make my way down recently. Located along Keong Saik Road within The Working Capitol premise, the modern Japanese Izakaya restaurant spots a quirky vibe, decked in a casual dining setting with a distinct bar section. Expect a noisy ambience here, akin to izakayas I come across in Japan, except that Neon Pigeon is a more refined version without the working men in suits and cigarettes in hand.
The Food It’s best to come with a group, based on how the menu is designed in a small and big plates format. The concept of the dishes are a fusion of different Asian flavours, as evident from names like Korean fried chicken and roasted bone marrow with furikake seasoning. Do note that the menu here changes periodically, some of the dishes we tried may no longer be available.
We started with some bites from the Birdfeed section of the menu. I love the Soft Shell Crab Bao (SG$14/S$26) with black pepper teriyaki and pickled cucumber, one of the better dishes of the night. The soft shell crab was fried to perfect crisp, which went well with the punchy black pepper teriyaki sauce.
After having one of the best bone marrow in Melbourne, I doubt I will have a better one anytime. The Roasted Bone Marrow (S$19/S$36) garnished with crispy garlic was nothing to shout about. The furikake seasoning lends the dish a Japanese touch but the flavour came across as too oily for me.
For some bits of greens, the Crispy Brussels Sprouts (S$15/S$28) with mirin glazed bacon and karashi was delish and addictive.
Being a big mushroom fan, the Big Woks’ Mushrooms (S$12/S$ 22) with butter and soy and sesame came across as overly salty for our table. The seasoning was too heavy to enjoy this dish proper, and it didn’t help that it was too greasy as well for my liking.
For meats, I will recommend the Smoked Baby Back Ribs (S$21/S$40), well-seasoned tender meats with sake barbecue sauce.
The Braised Beef Cheeks (S$20/S$38) with red wine soy braise and stewed vegetables was disappointing. I found the taste too singular, and it did not help that it was a tad too salty as well. It will probably go better with some rice.
Feeling greedy, we ordered the Korean Fried Chicken (S$16/S$30) with gochujang glaze as we thought it will be a hearty indulgence. Alas, the batter was not what I imagined it to be. It was anything but the crisp texture I was expecting. Moreover, the texture of the chicken was somewhat rubbery and tough for me.
We under-estimated the portions of the food and went on to have the Mushroom Rice (S$16/S$30) with pickled shimeji, burnt garlic, chicken crackling and egg yolk. It is roasted zuchinni rice with shiitake mushroom, which has a risotto-like texture – creamy, sticky and packed with the right mix of ingredients like the sinful fried chicken skin and oozing egg yolk.
You have two choices for desserts, the Bonsai (S$12) or nothing. This beautifully dressed bonsai is loaded with chocolate mousse, matcha soil, honeycomb, crustal almonds and raspberries. The overall flavours balanced out well, with each ingredient having a distinct flavour without masking the other. My only gripe is that the size is too small, size matters you know.
Rants As an izakaya style restaurant, the ambience is definitely a noisy affair. If you are looking for a restaurant ideal for an intimate conversation, you may wish to skip this. The service was lacklustre as well, to say the least. There were multiple moments where our water was not refilled, not less the work required to grab some attention from the service crew.
Will I Return Again? Overall, I feel that the addition of Neon Pigeon to the haps Keong Saik Road further seals this street as one of the most interesting dining area in Singapore. There were hits and misses during our visit, while prices ain’t cheap. Doubt this requires a return visit.
Make your reservation instantly at Neon Pigeon here.
Taste bud: 3/5
Hole in the pocket: 4/5
Overall Experience: 3/5
Monday to Saturday: 6pm to midnight
Ranted by The Ranter