Modern yakitori eatery established within 70 year old Singapore kopitiam in multi-faceted dining concept
February 17th, 2014
Inspired by the popular yakitori eateries and tiny alleyway bars that are ubiquitous throughout urban centres in Japan, Bincho at Hua Bee in Singapore deftly combines both activities within a traditional local-style coffee shop. Opened late 2013 in the fashionable Tiong Bahru heritage neighbourhood by the hospitality group Unlisted Collection, Bincho was named after bincho-tan or white charcoal- a smokeless type of charcoal traditionally used in Japanese cooking. Set within the rear space of the original “kopitiam”, Bincho combines a diminutive drinking den with the authentic yakitori kitchen and counter, while the front section continues to operate during the day as Hua Bee coffee shop and mee pok stall. Bincho accommodates 9 diners at the kitchen counter, with a further 27 seats at tables in the front kopitiam section. The intimate bar at the rear has seating for just 10 guests- the utilitarian decor belies some serious mixology- and impressive selections of Japanese whiskeys, sake and beers.
Under the direction of experienced Japanese chef Asai Masashi, the kitchen at Bincho utilises traditional yakitori cooking techniques, enhanced with a light touch of modern presentation. Three set menus (including one hot-pot Miyabi set) are chalked up daily on a large blackboard. With the emphasis on chicken-centric ingredients- cuts include all parts of the bird- everything from thigh, wings and breast to tail, neck, liver and heart. Grilled fresh vegetables complement the chicken parts. A concise a la carte menu offers some additional dishes of seafood and other meats for diners seeking non-chicken options. For the authentic yakitori experience, the recommendation is to select either the classic “Fuji” set (S$80) or the expanded “Bincho” set (S$120).
Ensconced within the rear passageway of the restaurant (which also doubles as the nighttime entrance to Bincho), the bar channels the fashionably grunge style of alleyway bars in urban Japan. The minimalist decor features extensive deployment of polished copper surfaces and wire mesh that envelope the space. Conceived as a relaxed haven for either pre-dinner apertifis, or post-dinner libations, the bar offers an enticing selection of Japanese-inflected cocktails- whimsically titled “Japertifs”, plus a thoughtfully assembled list of sake, Japanese whiskies, and craft beers.
Bincho opens Tuesday to Sundays from 6 pm for dinner, with lunch also served on Saturdays and Sundays between 12 pm and 3 pm.
Dinner reservations are taken for two sittings- first seating from 6 pm to 7 pm; and second seating from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm.
The kitchen and dining counter occupy a narrow space behind the front kopitiam table settings. The dining counter seats 9 persons, with additional seating at a few tables opposite the kitchen, and in the front room.
Chef Asai Masashi adopts an unconventional yakitori technique- ingredients are not prepared on skewers for cooking- instead each piece is individually grilled for a more controlled result.
Three set menus on the chalkboard are updated daily with fresh ingredients. An a la carte menu offers additional selections.
Assorted grilled fresh vegetables- including daikon, soramame, Manganji peppers and lotus roots.
Yakitori Shio (salt)- chicken tail (bonjiri), breast & chicken neck (seseri)
Tsukune-don- chicken meatball with raw egg yolk.
Yakitori Tare (sauce)- Grilled chicken parts- heart, thigh & wings.
The Bincho bar
A narrow room behind the kitchen and dining counter holds the compact bar- utilitarian furnishings are enveloped in gleaming copper and wire mesh.
Guests enter Bincho from a doorway off the rear laneway and pass through the dimly lit bar to reach the restaurant.
Paper Crane- Saffron infused shochu, Amaro Nonino, Aperol, lemon & raspberry. (Selection from Japertifs)
Yuzu Be Alright- Nigori Sake, Gin, Gran Classico, lemon, yuzu & mint. (Selection from Japertifs)
Ichi-go-ichi-e- Ginger-Sencha Nikka, lemon,maple, wasabui salt. (Selection from Japertifs)
Selection from the range of Japanese craft beers.
Bincho offers an impressive selection of rare and vintage Japanese whiskies- with over 30 labels available.
Bincho at Hua Bee- yakitori restaurant & bar- Singapore
Address: 78 Moh Guan Terrace, # 01-19. Tiong Bahru. Singapore 162078
MRT station: Tiong Bahru
Inquiries: +65. 6438 4567
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/binchohuabee
Tuesday to Friday 6:00 pm ~ midnight
Saturday & Sunday Lunch 12:00 pm ~ 3:00 pm / Dinner 6:00 pm ~ midnight