May 11, 2018

Singapore hop 2018: bongwater hit

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After taking a break last year, I'm back in Singapore again for an annual conference.  As usual, I am spending the weekend meeting up with friends and hitting a few dining spots.  Thanks to my flight getting delayed, my original plans to meet up with a friend for drinks had to be rescheduled.

This morning as I was catching up on Instagram stories, I saw that my friend visited a new bongwater natural wine bar.  Naturally (pun intended) I got curious, and since she posted a picture of their list, I decided to scan through it to see if I recognized any names.  Lo and behold (pun not intended originally), there was something listed whose production is pretty small - and the price being charged was somewhere around a 30% premium to the wine's retail price.  I knew immediately that I had to hit this place tonight.

After dropping off our luggage, we grabbed a taxi and headed to Le Bon Funk.  We were lucky to grab a well-lit table - one of only two, I believe - as it had just been vacated.  I asked for the wine list and immediately pointed to the bottle I wanted.

Sommelier Josée Yeomans brought over the bottle and extracted the cork.  I asked her to pour the wine into a decanter, knowing that the wine needed lots of help to aerate.  She also brought us an ice bucket, and left the decision of whether to ice the decanter up to me.  Thumbs up.

2004 Ganevat Les Vignes de Mon Père - a little flinty, dusty, and a little pungent at first.  After 20 minutes in decanter, a hint of honey emerged on top of citrus.  More than an hour later, toasty notes started to come out.

We were also a little peckish, so a couple of small plates were ordered up:

Marinated squid - the squid was shredded into thin strips, and their texture became incredibly soft with just a touch of springiness.  Drenched in a onion and tomato sauce and served on pre-cut toast.  This was pretty decent.

Deep-fried gnocchi with aioli - these were damn good...  They almost reminded me of the crispy rice flour rolls with X.O sauce (X.O醬煎腸粉) from Chef Siu Hin Chi (蕭顯志).  The aioli was pretty heavy on the garlic and basil - so it was almost like a pesto cream.

When the bottle of wine ran out at midnight - which was also the official closing time of the bar - I decided to go for supper.  I had heard about JB Ah Meng (新山亞明小廚) for years, but somehow never managed to make it here.  Thankfully the place was half-empty as it was past midnight when we arrived.  As there were only two of us, we were pretty limited in terms of what we could order...

J.B. san lou meehoon (新山三樓米粉) - we took the small size, but this was more than enough for the two of us.  The rice vermicelli has been browned until it was crispy on one side, and certainly looked drool-worthy.

This came with diced shrimp, egg, and a small pile of Chinese spinach in the middle.  Plenty of wok hei (鑊氣).  Delicious on its own, but miles better with some sambal mixed in.

White pepper crab (白胡椒蟹) - we got the smallest crab available, but this was sufficient for a fix.  The signature white pepper crab came with a ton of white pepper, and almost overpowered my palate.  Thankfully I could still kinda taste the sweetness of the crab meat, and I was ever so happy that this came with plenty of crab tomalley and roe.

I was kinda surprised to see aiyu jelly (愛玉) on the menu, so I ordered it.  Instead of shaved ice, this came with large, boring ice cylinders.  Accompanied with classic lime syrup.

It was getting kinda late, and our bellies were definitely full.  Time to hit the sack...

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