That's Hot: Delicious Meals In Singapore Cooked Over An Open Fire
STORY: Annette Tan
06 April 2022
These days, you can’t swing a cat without singeing it on the flames of a restaurant that boasts cooking over an open fire. Almost every new eatery comes with a wood-fire oven or a charcoal grill upon which chefs flex their creative chops.
For the diner, it’s almost an added form of entertainment. It can be mesmerising to watch chefs deftly picking up and turning the ingredients searing above the open flame. Ultimately, the flavour of fire-kissed food is the delicious reward for braving the warmth of sitting close to the action.
The following are some of our favourite restaurants that cook food over open flames – some are spanking new, others old favourites.
This one’s an oldie but goodie. In fact, Bistecca celebrates 10 years in Singapore this year. For the occasion, this Tuscan Steakhouse has put together a four-course menu featuring the most popular dishes from the last decade, so you’ll get things like pan-seared scallops, a house-made pasta and one of its irresistible steaks such as the classic T-bone Fiorentina or the bone-in ribeye Costata. Both come deliciously blistered and charred from the open-fire grill with immense, meaty flavour that we can’t get enough of. Even if you don’t like beef, Bistecca’s other fire-kissed proteins such as the black cod with fregola sarda pasta, tomatoes, olives and capers are exceptional.
Former Burnt Ends sous chef Jordan Keao brings an elegant hand to cooking over a wood-fire grill at Butcher’s Block. Presiding over his open kitchen, Keao serves refined dishes such as premium Japanese hamachi (amberjack) cold-smoked with American oak, and baby corn enrobed in a black bean aioli that helps a coat of puffed quinoa stick. Of course, there’s plenty of meat, including crisp-skinned duck from Malaysia that’s dry-aged for 30 to 40 days, grilled and served with a barbequed plum sauce, and even a deliciously unique Blackmore MBS9+ wagyu sukiyaki to be dipped in smoked olive oil poached egg yolk. While the menu is à la carte, those who can’t decide can ask for a tasting menu to be tailored by Keao.
The Italian summer vibes are strong at this friendly gem. Named after the grigliata, the Italian word for outdoor grill, Griglia serves seasonal produce flavoured with Mediterranean accents and grilled over hot coals. In the Italian tradition, the menu is sectioned into antipasti, salumi, main courses, sides, cheeses and desserts. So you might find grilled asparagus served with fregola and egg yolk confit, or grilled Hokkaido scallops served with white corn, Amalfi lemons and a caper sauce. Why have a charcoal grill if you’re not going to throw in some steaks, right? It stands to reason, then, that Griglia has a Fiorentina – a 30-day dry-aged Porterhouse, but served in small sharing portions so you’ll still have stomach space for all the other delights on the menu.
Only foodies living under a brick wouldn’t have heard of Revolver. Reservations at this stylish Indian grill restaurant have been hard to snag even before it officially opened late last year. And there’s good reason why it’s so – pardon the pun – hot. Executive chef Saurabh Udinia and his friendly team consistently turn out distinctly original fare, drawing inspiration from India’s southern Malabar coast and the Northern region of Punjab. The ever-changing menu is underpinned by quality produce such as Boston lobsters, fresh paneer flown in from Delhi and local barramundi. Every season, their likes are expertly spiced and grilled to yield unforgettable dishes, such as in the case of its latest menu, Boston Lobster Malabar featuring a creamy coconut and curry leaf sauce spiked with mustard seeds, garlic and turmeric. The eight-course vegetarian menu is equally stunning. Think Jerusalem artichoke with burnt onions and garlic butter, or shiitake mushrooms cooked tawa-style and served with more-ish lotus stem crisps.
Thirty Six Brewlab & Smokehouse
A custom brick hearth anchors the kitchen at this microbrewery and restaurant, where dishes like wood-fire cauliflower with cashew butter and miso leek puree fight for your stomach space with heartier options like Sticky Pork Ribs. All these are made to pair with the 23 taps that release a selection of seasonal house brews made in its state-of-the-art 500-litre microbrewery. Pro tip: Try the Spicy Pork Belly Satay, which ticks all the boxes when it comes to everything you want in good satay – namely, succulent meat coated in a sticky marinade that is positively saturated with flavour.