Tucked in a corner at the end of Gemmill Lane is the swanky chic tapas bar and restaurant Le Binchotan.
Despite having opened its doors just over 2 weeks ago, the place is already generating buzz with its tantalizing tapas and captivating cocktails — and no wonder, just take a look at these drool-worthy items we had the chance to try at the media tasting.
The place, which can seat up to 38, prides itself on its smoked meats and yakitori (焼き鳥, skewered food) grilled over bincho-tan (便貯炭, white charcoal which burns at a lower temperature).
Just two dishes and one cocktail into the media tasting and I was already a fan.
The fascinating menu at Le Binchotan combines the best of Japanese ingredients and French technique and cooking style to churn out delectable items such as corn mousse topped with a generous portion of uni (ウニ, sea urchin) and a beautifully plated madai (真鯛, Japanese red sea bream) with cold-smoked eggplant.
The highlight was the oden-style daikon (大根, white radish) topped with shaved foie gras terrine (similar to pâté but made with more coarsely chopped ingredients), which was the perfect match of refreshing flavours and creamy umami.
The innovative menu was created by Head Chef Jeremmy Chiam, who trained extensively in Paris as well as at some of Singapore’s best restaurants (including Iggy’s), and Chef Atsuhiko Hagiwara from en.terrible, a French restaurant found in the glitzy Ginza district in Tokyo.
Aside from the scrumptious mains, the smokey flavours favoured by Chef Chiam also extended to desserts. The smoked chocolate is worth a try for its distinct almost bacon-like tang and the coconut dessert with matcha & dried berries is a sure crowd-pleaser.
Heading the bar is the talented and witty Sugar Ray Ruban, who banters as well as he bartends. Picking up his bartending from popular watering holes such as Cufflink Club and Dempsey Brasserie, he has channelled his skills and creativity into creating a series of signature cocktails. The Le Binchotan, Sake My Cucumber (heh) and <3 Xhocolate (using chocolate liqueur, YUM!) are just some of the standouts among many.
The mind behind the restaurant is none other than Jessica Lim, local restaurateur who is the Singapore co-partner of Japanese curry chain CoCo ICHIBANYA. Inspired by underground pubs in London, the successful entrepreneur (who is also the mother of two) decided to construct a similar set-up in Singapore. Jessica believes in individuality; from handpicking every single staff to personally decorating the walls with pieces of white charcoal, the place undoubtedly shows her devotion to making Le Binchotan a cozy place to chill out.
The bar seats are good if you’re just hanging out with your posse, but if you’re looking for something a little quieter, there are a limited number of private seats within the premises as well. For parties or special occasions, you can even put in a request for a customised omakase course that is suited for your budget!
Go for the food, and most definitely stay for the drinks.