The Place I checked out the new contemporary Sichuan dining concept Basdban located in Telok Ayer, from the same team behind Birds Of A Feather. Basdban took over the space of 51 Soho, and is helmed by Chef Pang who is formerly behind Antoinette. Pronounced as ‘bahs-de- behn’, this is a very Sichuan exclamation “巴适得板” which is an expression of awesomeness.
The space of Basdban is split into indoor and outdoor dining, and exudes a chill-lax dining vibe with an in-house bar as well.
The Food Rock & Roll Sichuanese food is what Chef Pang has coined Basdban, where the dishes are experimental and accessible.
I started with the Roasted Eggplant (S$14) smothered in a minced garlic sauce speckled with Sichuanese smoked pork belly, then baked under a browned cloak of cheeses and topped with house-made caramel popcorn sprinkled with Sichuan spice. A surprisingly good dish for me where the combination of flavours gel well; it is flavourful, but not too cloying.
Go for the Burn Baby Burn (S$14), a dish of charred wawa greens with lard, preserved soy bean and aged parmesan. This is a vegetarian dish, but it packs a punchy flavour which is surprisingly moreish.
A fun dish to share is the Sichuanese Skewers (S$22), where the skewers are presented like a mini hotpot version. You get skewers of seafood, vegetables other ingredients dipped into a mug of chicken broth mixed with sesame and peanut paste, chilli oil and Sichuan peppercorn oil. The spiciness kicks in with every bite, so be warned if you cannot take spice very well.
Alternatively, the Fried Crispy Pork Trotter (S$14) is inspired from shaker fries where the bite-sized chunks of braised trotter fried to a crisp are served in a paper bag of gentle spice mix. Shake it all up and this makes a good bar snack to go along with the cocktails.
For mains, I had the Barramundi en Papillote (S$32) served with pickled vegetable broth, shimeiji mushroom and bamboo shoot. This is one of the lighter dishes I had, where the fish is delicious with the light broth. This dish is not at all spicy.
If you need a carb dish, there is the Crab Meat Mapo Tofu (S$20), a twist from the classic version with the addition of crabmeat and ikura with mixed grain pearl rice. Moderately spicy for me, the tofu is also accented with aged dou ban jiang (豆瓣酱), Sichuan peppercorn and chilli powder.
For dessert, I had the Don’t Break My H(t)art, a beautiful mess of chocolate tart, candied orange, raspberries, hawthorn flake and grand marnier. A dessert which is good to share for singles or couples regardless.
Rants Just note that the flavours of the dishes here are generally quite rich and punchy, just in case you are thinking it will be a “mild” meal.
Will I Return Again? Sichuan food is typically very spicy in my impression. Basdban has a good variety of dishes to cater to the crowd even if you cannot take spice very well like me. It is a convenient after-work or lunch spot for the CBD crowd should you be craving for a modern Sichuanese dining experience.
This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.
Make your reservations instantly at Basdban here.
Taste bud: 4/5
Hole in the pocket: 3.5/5
Overall Experience: 4/5
51 Telok Ayer Street
Tel: +65 9755 1058
Monday to Saturday: 11am to 3pm; 5pm to 10.30pm
Closed on Sundays
Ranted by The Ranter