Benjamin Tilatti, the chef-restaurateur of Kinou, contributed to the vibrant life along Tras Street with the opening of this multi-concept space, comprising restaurant-bar on the ground floor, a meeting space and a members’ lounge on the upper floor. From the get-up to the naming convention on the menu, it bears no trouble for one to identify the cheeky and brazen-faced disposition the restaurant is headed towards.
Where it concerns alcoholic drinks at Kinou, to say that one would be spoiled for choice would be an understatement. We exaggerate not to report that the extensive selection of cocktails, wine, and hard liquor must be in the hundreds in aggregate. Cocktails are mostly in the range of $18 – $21 before taxes. As always, we shall stop short of pretending to be someone who drinks and who knows their drinks.
While not unheard of, Beef Bone Marrow (Bone to be Wild) ($16++) is not available routinely in local restaurants. If you have not tried it, giving your first time to Kinou might just be worth your while. The texture is reminiscent of a broken-down foie gras, and it similarly possesses a rich buttery flavour. To further boost the value of this starter, it comes with a side of Tennessee surprise – that is, a shot of Tennessee whiskey ($4++), with the bone as your receptacle, no less. This is our favourite of three starters, of which we categorically recommend, if not for the great taste, then for the potentially wild experience.
The Prawns Poached in Garlic Oil (Kinou Prawning Spot) ($16++) was quite a highlight too, mostly owing to the abundance of garlic oil, so comfortably flavoured and fragrantly intoxicating. We found ourselves wiping it clean with our side of sourdough. The prawns in itself, however, lack the succulence that would otherwise have been perfect. For that, we thought this starter could be skipped.
The ceviches and tartares (menu can be found here), essentially the highlights of Kinou, can be mixed and matched into platters of three, five, and seven. We have had ceviches and tartares multiple times, but we admit we are no expert. When it comes to them, we look for firmness in feel and cleanness in taste. Any accompaniments should only supplement rather than complement, so that the meat, at its most basic form, could be tasted. We felt that Kinou achieved this, and we were pleased with the portion too. The Kinou Signature Beef Tartare ($15++/half size; 24++/full size) comes with comte cheese, while the Duck Tartare (Whack A Quack) ($15++/half size; $24++/full size) comes with blackberry. Do note that the latter comes decidedly more gamey, and it could be overpowering for some. We prefer it.
While we find the taste to be of standard, we do feel that it’s slightly pricey.
At the end of the day, if you can only have one thing here, you must have Nadya’s “Some Sort of Chocolate Dessert” ($15++). The name gives the impression that no thought was put into it – as if just some sort of dessert. Boy were we wrong. The interplay of textures and flavours was flawless, there is something sweet (caramel), something salty (miso; shoyu glaze); something to crunch on (cashew brittle), something to lick (mousse). It is light on the palate but intense on the flavours.
Cocktail Bar, Tartare, Ceviche, and a Secret Getaway. If you pay close enough attention, you would notice the absence of the last-mentioned. This shall remain a secret until you pay the restaurant a visit. In particular, lock yourself away in the toilet. You will be in for a treat.
What’s worth ordering:
Beef Bone Marrow (Bone to be Wild)
Ceviches & Tartares
Nadya’s “Some Sort of Chocolate Dessert”
Photos by Kathleen.
Address: 81 Tras Street, Singapore 079020
Contact: +65 6224 0463 / firstname.lastname@example.org (accepts reservations)
Opening Hours: Bar from 3pm – 12am (Tue – Sun); Food from 5pm – 11.15pm (Tue – Sun)
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