Singapore may be small, but we are inundated with choice when it comes to eating out. Sometimes, this can lead to the first-world problem of CHOICE(!) ANXIETY(!!) If, like us, this leads you to becoming a sad creature of habit who keeps eating at the same old places, check out our bite-sized JUNK food reviews for what you should be eating next (or not!).
There are many reasons to not go for brunch on the weekends. Some are:
– You think it’s a bit 2000’s and a cultural attack from Melbourne.
– You think it’s only for attractive people who have mastered that art of eating with sunglasses on.
– You don’t want to turn up because it’s a gathering mainly for your more interesting friends who want to collectively exchange (read: show off?) their week-in-review via global politics and topical documentaries they watched on flights back from where ever they flew for work.
But perhaps the biggest reason why we don’t have brunch is cos so much of it is truly piddling food, designed for the camera and conceptually priced like celebrity sneakers. So much of brunch in Singapore is tedious, mediocre bullshit – one of the most vapid meals to be had. Runny scrambled eggs, and oozy poached eggs (to Boomerang). Take the avocado option for an additional $3, or go for sausages sliced in half and plated in the most sculptural of manners for no reason other than it make it look worth the thick end of $20. But does that make a factory-made sausage taste any better? No. If anything it’s now a mildly offensive meat horn pointed at your nostril.
And the flavours are all so predictable.
It’s the edible equivalent of a faux vintage Superdry™ teeshirt. Fashionably acceptable, casually presentable – but mass market and somewhat unimaginative.
Are we ready?
Kilo has been around a long time and the food and the brand is not unfamiliar to us; but we honestly didn’t know that they have not been serving brunch, it just seems the sort of thing for Kilo to do, given its expat-driven fabulousness.
Further admission: we have not been paying attention – Kilo has moved from Kallang and they have transplanted their tidy boho-chic to the most visible corner of Duxton, across from the big central carpark. It was the unit that use to be Meat Liquor, the Singapore outpost of the weapons-grade, douchebag burger restaurant from London that was too clever by half in its branding and failed spectacularly. We think it was then replaced by… an alligator meatball restaurant? We can’t remember and we digress.
We were seated comfortably at the fringe of the unit and got to ordering the popular choices on the menu, as guided by the helpful waitstaff. We had the Fried Chicken & Waffles, the Chorizo Huevos Rancheros, the BBQ Grilled Thick Bacon with Curried Scrambled Eggs and a Gula Melaka Muffin and a Chocolate Chip Cookie.
The Huevos Rancheros arrived looking like a pile of food. This was a good sign. Mixing everything up yielded an earthy, sincere mess of smoked deliciousness, every ingredient contributing to the unexpected sophistication of the dish. The chorizo was house-made (and you can see them being happily smoked over the open fire in the kitchen). The refried beans gave heft, the house-made cultured cream gave lightness, and the runny fried eggs did a good job of gathering all the elements on the plate together, ready to be forked. But the corn tortilla underneath was the master stroke; its clean masa flavour cutting through everything and bringing a light, fresh, crisp counterpoint to the proceedings. This was fun, interesting food.
The Chicken and Waffles put in an equally strong performance with a lightly crisp and sweet, egglet style waffle beneath karaage-inspired fried chicken. Happily, the chicken was also brined for extra flavour and juiciness (sorry, we can’t find another word). It’s key to eat this dish with everything in each mouthful: the chicken, the waffle, butter, and syrup. The only oddity was the hot sauce which was a raw-tasting chilli sauce. Raw like popiah chilli raw. Add that if you want; we were hoping for a regular hot sauce. Perhaps we are basic.
The only dish that left us a bit adrift was the BBQ Bacon and Curried Eggs, which read great on the menu, but seemed to give us a bit of the run-around in trying to get it. The curried eggs were tasty, but perhaps the heavy smoking and cure of the bacon collectively obliterated any clear flavour. It’s cooked over binchotan charcoal, which was also a surprise because binchotan does impart a distinct light oakiness – but we couldn’t find it. The other unclear move was the salad on the plate. Was it more a garnish? Or was it to be eaten with? Do we eat salad with bacon and eggs? (Eeeks. No.) Still kudos on an ambitious dish that only looked weaker in context of the others.
So what do we think?
We wandered in nervous about brunch, but we left happy for a chef who was clearly in control and trying to innovate where he could without losing the plot. Many of these “familiar favourites with an Asian twist”-type efforts tend to make us widen our eyes, and Kilo was at risk in that respect. But in the end the food was fun and sincere, the experimentation not patronisingly in your face.
So if your more interesting friends ask you out for brunch here, don’t worry, turn up. Even if you have nothing to contribute to the conversation, you may find your own happy space in the eating.