I’ve held off writing about this place for a while now. One reason is that I lost the notes from my first visit detailing the names of dishes The other reason is that as much as I think this place deserves customers, money and a slight bit of fame… I want it to stay smaller, more intimate, and I don’t want to have to wait weeks to get a table (not that our little review would launch it into a new level of success). But honestly every time I’ve visited with someone who hasn’t yet had it, or suggested this place to a friend looking for a new al fresco casual dinner place… every time they themselves have become regulars and gone back on their own. So in my mind if something as craptastic as Buko Nero can have a 2-3 month waiting list… why on earth isn’t everyone raving about Raw Kitchen Bar?
The location is laid back and hip without having to strain for it (cough, cough every restaurant on Dempsey Hill should go pay a visit to this place please). Finally a restaurant in Singapore that pulls off the mix matched tables and chairs. The interior space features rotating art work to view or perhaps purchase if so inspired. The atmosphere is open and suits any evening… quiet dinners, group get togethers… I’ve even seen folks bring their dog and enjoy a meal out back in the lawn!
As comfortable as the place is, it’s the food that brings me back. Nothing on the small, two-sided menu screams look at me, but everything is perfectly executed and offers something a bit more than what you expect. There’s always a slight refinement to every dish.
I almost always start with either the zucchini pancake with balsamic goat cheese and iberico ham or the wasabi tuna tartar with thyme flatbread. Both of these are sure to please just about anyone. The pancakes are creative and hold unexpected flavors combos. The iberico ham cuts through the goat cheese and balsamic, lifting a decent pancake into a truly special bite.
The tartar is fresh and inspiring. I’d wager that even those who don’t normally appreciate tartar can find something to like here. It’s not overly mushy and the wasabi refreshes as it brings a fresh lift to the palette.
For something different altogether you can get the mushroom bisque scallops with sweet tomatoes.
For mains someone at the table has to order the balsamic duck with butter potatoes and asparagus. The duck is fork tender and if you hold it up will just fall instantly off the bone. I’ve been completely full from apps and still managed to scrape the dish clean.
The two steaks on offer are a great value. I ordered one the first time just to get the sweet potato mash and roasted vegetables. The sides didn’t disappoint and the steak was way better than the price point would indicate (cheaper than most Dempsey hill hamburgers for crying out loud).
I’ve also ordered (but don’t have pictures of) the nori salmon with wasabi mash, bbq ribs, sweet marsala wine lamb chop, and the love raw! not war! burger. All have been excellent and I’m always hard pressed to choose a main. Everything’s a stand out to me.
As if all this wasn’t enough they have the decency to price the desserts reasonably. Molten chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream at 6 bucks.. done!
It might seem that I gush too much about this place. And setting the expectations so high, some might leave disappointed. But this place, to me, is perfect for what it is. A nice restaurant that’s not too snooty. It’s not the fanciest place in town with the most imaginative menu, but what they do they do really well and it’s a place you can go to more regularly and feel comfy and well fed. The chef/owner team is almost always on hand and greet you at the door, shake your hand or assist you in getting a cab home.
There should be more Raw Kitchen Bars in Singapore and less 30 dollar wagyu Dempsey Hill clone “hole in the wall” locations. If it were a bit closer I’d be there more than I already am.
Raw Kitchen Bar
276 Upper Bukit Timah Rd (tell the cab to head for Spectre or the old Firehouse)