Don Ho Social Kitchen @ Keong Saik Road~Invited Session~
Keong Saik Road has a new kid on the block, DON HO Social Kitchen, a hip bar and casual diner that is all about spending good times together with friends. For all you know, you may just befriend someone new on the dance floor or at the bar counter over a handcrafted tipple or seasonal nibble.
Doors swing open at 6pm sharp everyday and be early to grab one of those cosy pods, anyhow seats are limited. Once clock strikes 10pm, the dancefloor is open and the disco ball starts spinning!
Looking like straight off the pages of a home and furnishing magazine eh?
Peaty Monkey ($20)
Monkey Shoulder, Ardbeg 10 years, Orgeat Syrup, Fresh Lime, Pineapple
Birds and Bees ($20)
Solerno, Organic Almond Milk, Homemade Honey Lemon Syrup, Egg White
I posed a challenge to the bartender to concoct a mocktail version of this with grapefruit juice.
They recommend 3 dishes per guest and hoarding dishes are completely against their policy. I kid. Communal dining is highly encouraged, afterall intimate conversations begin from sharing.
Crispy Eggplant ($10)
Spicy Fragrant Sauce
Eggplant tempura would be the best description for this small plate and promises to convert non-eggplant fans. I like how this remained crispy for a long while and was tasty right to the last crumb.
Pimientos de Padron ($14)
Sherry Vinegar, Sea Salt
Smoked peppers make tasty pub grub I realise, these do not set the tongue on fire thankfully and are pretty to nibble at.
Pair of Ox Tongue Sliders ($20)
Cabbage Slaw, Pickled Cucumber, Chipotle Mayo
These make beef sliders seem very passe. Tender ox tongues amidst a flurry of flavours, from the piquant chipotle mayo to the zesty pickle cucumbers before ending it off with a crunchy slaw.
Red Snapper ($18)
Cauliflower Puree, Hazelnuts, Puffed Wild Rice, Herb Salad
Grassfed Black Angus Striploin 120g ($20)
I found this needing more jaw work than necessary but that said, the chimichurri had a mild heat and was very refreshing.
Roasted Iberico Pork Jowl ($16)
Slow cooked Egg, Miso, Radish, Burnt Onion
On all accounts a dish with an instagramable egg porn moment and while I enjoyed the ingredients on their own, consuming all in a bite did not quite work for me.
Ash cured Ocean Trout Pastrami ($14)
English Mustard Cream, Trout Roe, Crisp Bread, Fennel Tops
With eyes closed, the ocean trout could have passed off as smoked salmon. Eaten like a tapas with a cracker and a ton of ingredients on top, this would go well with a cocktail or two.
Flower Clams ($16)
Iberico, Zucchini, Chicken Broth, White Wine, Chilli, Garlic, Mint
I am easily sold when it comes to clams in dishes, throw in white one and I would've ordered two plates on a whim. The iberico gave this an edgier finish, an intense savoury finish to the otherwise very comforting garlic broth with little heat.
I'd highly recommend ordering the Zaatar Flat Bread ($12) with this. Somehow just bread and broth made a super delicious meal on its own.
Beef Short Rib 600g ($44)
This was thoughtfully separated from the bone and served. The fragrant spice crust of the short rib was particularly enticing, except this was a tad too dry at some parts. Otherwise, best paired with a salad or those clams. (As you can tell, I am a mega fan of the clams which went well with almost every other dish that was served).
Passionfruit Marshmellow ($10)
Citrus segments, Lemon Curd, Shortbread Crumbs
Unfortunately, this did not work for me. Perhaps they sought inspiration from the famed Dominique Ansel's marshmellow creation but there were just too many things vying for my attention, from the too tart curd and citrus segments to the shortbread crumbs and a marshmellow that had a dense texture.
I like how Don Ho connects people but the single most bewildering question that bugged us the whole night is - who exactly is Don Ho? Is he the friendly dude in the crowd, or the dashing one by the bar or the very same one who'd breakdance once the music is turned on the disco lights come on? Social kitchen, in my opinion, would be a good enough name.
Don Ho Social Kitchen
Keong Saik Road 1