the naked finn, gillman barracks

expensive seafood at this uppity too-cool-for-school restaurant at the gilman barracks. this place – well. the food is good (let’s get it out of the way), but it’s simply cooked, it’s simply expensive, and service is pretty inadequate for the price you’re paying.

I simply don’t understand the hype – seafood is abundant in singapore, and a more-than-decent dish is more than easily found (even at your neighborhood czechar store) – it’s the sort of seafood restaurant I’d imagine in a land-locked part of the US, where seafood is both posh and inaccessible.

but I’ll give it to them that the seafood is fresh and delicious in its simplicity, but I’d hazard a guess, too, that anyone with half-decent cooking skills can churn out similar dishes.


the most economical option here would be to take their set menu (which is still pretty price-hefty) for a taster of their dishes. it starts with a simply dressed salad, and fried vermicelli noodles (simpler-ly known as fried beehoon in this part of the world) are brought to the table as accompaniment to the subsequent dishes.

and it’s good right, but a lot of it is due in part to the fresh produce they’ve got (which is admirable) as opposed to any particular skill (which is the point of visiting restaurants). not that not-overcooking seafood is not a skill (omg, triple negatives!) – but it’s a pretty basic one.

fat, plump clams in an easily-drinkable, more-ish soup that went well with the beehoon, and plainly seared scallops served in-shell with garlic. plump and sweet, those were delicious.

these were followed by grilled mozambique – read: skinny – lobsters (no photo, because it photographed terribly) that had a good charred flavor, the same of which you could smell and taste in the seared fish and baby squid. that baby squid was pretty delicious – they were chewy but tender, with none of that crisp nothingness that happens with deep-frying.

so the food was good – even if I might complain about price – but service is pretty hit-miss. the good thing was that we had chirpy waiters dishing up our food – but we had to be chased out after barely two hours of a long many-coursed dinner (such is the quirk of trendy, busy restaurants), and they refused to bring me a glass of water when I first walked in (IT’S SELF-SERVICE, PLEASE) even though there was no one else in the restaurant and the waiters were milling about.

have a look at bernie’s review on the naked finn, visit it yourself, and let me know what you think.

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pasarbella, turf city

it could almost be tsukiji market right, but it isn’t. it’s a tiny japanese corner hidden in the depths of pasarbella, the new gourmet marketplace that’s taken singapore (and its expat/ hipster/ moneyed population, especially) by storm.

pasarbella suffered a lot of flak from loads of unappreciative dissers who couldn’t reconcile this plastic, covered sprawl to the european food markets it supposedly took reference from. but it’s an unfair comparison – I don’t think this was meant to be the sort of down-to-earth daily-marketing style you see in places like d’aligre; it reminds me instead of that tiny market I used to visit in london’s duke of york square. a little posh, more-than-slightly wallet-emptying, but satisfying both gastronomically and as a worthy day out.

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