Birds of a feather flock together – that’s what Amoy Street’s new café-restaurant hopes to accomplish; for like-minded people to enjoy their quality east-meets-west dishes amidst a heritage-rich setting.
The folks behind Birds of a Feather are also owners of the Good Wood Coffee chain in Chengdu (Sichuan, China), so it’s not surprising that the city, with its rich culture and fertile lands, serves as the inspiration for both the interiors and the menu.
Defining its food as contemporary western with pronounced Sichuan influences, the all-day dining establishment has more than mala – the spicy and numbing flavour dominant in Sichuan cuisine – up its sleeves (though spice lovers can still look forward to plenty of it).
For instance, the lunch offerings feature the comforting Grilled Cheese Panini ($20), stuffed with traditional Sichuan braised pork belly and pickled cabbage, served with tasty potato and sweet potato home fries.
CBD lunch seekers can also look forward to lighter plates like the Roasted Chicken & Avocado Salad ($20) with green bell peppers and twist of Szechuan pepper.
Many dishes that shine are on the small plates menu, available throughout Birds of a Feather’s opening hours. Served in a manner reminiscent of McDonald’s Shaker Fries (we’ve all had that guilty pleasure at some point), the Crispy Pork Trotter in a Bag ($12) sees braised pork trotter deep fried and seasoned with spicy organic soy bean powder – certainly a dish that’ll keep you reaching for more.
Equally well-executed is the more commonly-seen snack of Find The Chicken in The Chillis ($16), also known as la zi ji, where marinated chicken cubes are deep fried with dried red chilis. Think of it as extra flavourful popcorn chicken!
For something non-spicy, you can’t do much better than the Fried Calamari ($19). The fluffier-than-usual meringue batter coating the calamari pairs well with a slightly acidic yuzu tartar dip.
Those who love soups should try the Fortune Skewer in Szechuan Pepper Broth ($19). More numbing than spicy, the broth bears a variety of prawns, vegetable, and quail egg skewers. This easily becomes a heartwarming main when you add Japanese arrowroot noodle for $5.
The dinner plates are not any less inventive. While the Tofu Burger with Mapo Meat Sauce ($22) suffered from a rather dry bun, the effort in sculpting an organic tofu patty is laudable. The pork ragout topping the patty is tasty, except that it can get a tad salty when eaten without the bun.
Another truly fusion creation can be found in the Spicy Oriental Bolognaise ($22) – think angel hair pasta, mizuna, and sakura ebi topped with zha jiang (a Chinese sauce of minced pork and Sichuan salted veggies) and an onsen egg.
A hint of Japan peeks out in the Hot & Sour Chazuke ($28), inspired by the simple Japanese dish of pouring green tea, dashi, or water over cooked rice. In this case, a spicy pickled mustard green and fish broth is poured over Niigata rice, complemented by a fresh charcoal grilled barramundi and mentaiko.
While it’s quite possible to dine at Birds of a Feather without ingesting anything spicy, the two desserts that we tried are sure to cool down the palate and the stomach.
Poached with longan, ginger, vanilla, red dates, snow fungus and orange peel, most Chinese would recognize the Poached Pear ($12) as a twist on a traditional dessert. The density of the syrup is, however, balanced by the addition of caramel orange ice cream.
The Glutinous Rice Cake ($12) might not be as ‘sticky’ as other glutinous rice desserts we’re used to – like mochi or glutinous rice balls – but we have to say that the pairing of the deep fried rice cakes is brilliant but Okinawan black sugar and soybean flour.
Birds of a Feather is located at 115 Amoy Street, Singapore 069935, p. +65 6221 7449. Open Mon-Thu 10am-11pm, Fri-Sat 10am-12am, Sun 10am-6pm.
Top Image: Tofu Burger with Mapo Meat Sauce