We walked past a coffee shop named Hua Bee Restaurant a few times before we found the Bincho Singapore yakitori restaurant. We were using Google maps and we kept getting led to this place. But there was no sign of a Japanese restaurant – the only eateries in the vicinity were Hua Bee and the Flock restaurant next door. It was only when we conceded defeat and telephoned Bincho that we learnt that it was located inside the Hua Bee kopitiam. In fact, Bincho expands from the inner cavern of this place to take over the whole coffee shop at night.
It was only at the end of the meal that we saw this narrow Bincho signboard on the side entrance to the coffee shop. By day, Hua Bee Coffee shop operates like a normal coffee shop selling wanton noodles and drinks. Except that there are air-conditioning units lying idle until things come alive at night. Bincho occupies a small space in the inner bowels of the shophouse, separated from the kopitiam by the frosted glass panes.
As we walked inside, we got a peek into the Bincho space through the half-length curtains.
We walked past the curtains and entered a small chamber which had two small tables and the open concept kitchen. The yakitori grilling took place in full view, within a glass enclosed area.
Inside Bincho, there was a narrow tunnel-like passage way that led to another tubular chamber which had narrow bench seats and small tables. It reminded us of the dining car in a train. Right at the end of this area was the other end of the building. The doorway led to the carpark behind the building.
After our exploration of this interesting Bincho Singapore restaurant space, we were finally seated at the counter – with a ring-side view of the food preparation process. The chefs were smiley and hospitable.
Here are pictures of the Bincho lunch menu and other menus displayed on the chalkboard. The lunch items include appetiser, salad, karaage (fried chicken), soup and dessert. We decided on a yakitori don set ($25) and a clam ramen ($30).
This is a picture of the appetizer – some small pieces of braised meat and vegetables. Very tasty and the type of food that would go well with Teochew porridge.
The salad was a dish of fresh cucumber slices, lettuce and deep-fried chicken skin. Not bad. The chicken skin was very crispy.
The karaage item was two chicken drumsticks. Quite good but not very distinctive. The ice tea was complementary.
Now we show you the main courses. The yakitori don was a bowl of rice topped with some pieces of grilled chicken meat and chicken wing. We liked the chicken pieces as they were boneless. Nice chunks of meat, perfectly grilled – charred but not burnt. The chicken wing parts were the same except that you have to deal with the bones. Lettuce and onion provided some crunch in between eating rice and chicken.
If not for this blog, we would have just ordered two yakitori dons. But since we were going to write this story we decided to order a second dish that was completely different. So we ended up with the clam ramen. There were quite a lot of clams – the small and sweet type that we like. The other important component of ramen is the broth. This was a milky meat-flavoured broth which somehow reminded us of the local pig stomach soup (but without the peppery part). In other words a medium-bodied flavourful stock.
Finally, time for desserts. There were only two options so we elected for one of each – mochi and green tea ice-cream. Both were good and best to have both to be shared by two.
As a sign of good neighbourliness, the folks at Bincho encouraged us to try the coffee from the coffee shop outside, which was what we did. Total cost was $2.20 for a kopi-o and a kopi-siew tai which brought us to the end of a most interesting meal at Bincho where the atmosphere was as enjoyable as the food itself.
Overall Rating: 4 TOPs
78 Moh Guan Terrace
Tel: +65 6438 4567
Tuesday – Sundays: 12pm – 3.00pm (Last order at 2.30pm)
Tuesdays – Sundays: 6pm till late