Bincho at Hua Bee, quite literally tucked away in a disguised heritage coffee shop near Tiong Bahru, is an attention-grabbing new spot by famed restaurateur Loh Lik Peng. Inspired by a yakitori-ya in Osaka, the all-in-one Japanese yakitori restaurant by Chef Asai Masashi is a true find for more than one reason!
Head down the Moh Guan Terrace alley and around the back of the unassuming Hua Bee stand to find a metal door with small, wiry Bincho lettering. Then down the rabbit hole you go, transitioning briskly from the traditional neighbourhood feel to the likes of an underground bunker, complete with rough edges, shady lighting, and oxidized copper tones. Take a seat at the marble bar for a front row seat to all the grilling action, or the domed booths to get your drink on, like the restaurant's most notable fruit, herb and sake-centric cocktails from the resident barkeep. With both food and drink menus largely in-flux at the whim of the chef and cocktailier, it's best to go with the daily recommendations.
Food wise, get ready for a smoky experience of grilled goodness and smoky delights. With a menu inspired by the 24 micro-seasons in Japan, expect only the best produce of the season being featured on the menu. Available all year round, try the restaurant's famed protein - the tori (chicken), popular cuts like wings, breast and thighs masterfully executed over the bincho-tan charcoal. Or for a unique experience, chicken tail, cartilage, heart, gizzard, liver and cockscomb. (Apr 2019)
"Fronting the store is a seemingly inconspicuous old-school mee pok stall. Venture further in and you'll discover a modern open-concept yakitori bar, helmed by Chef Asai Masashi, and a cocktail bar, with playful Japeritifs concocted by Stefan Ravalli of The Library." -Honeycombers
"It's all about omakase (chef's selection, with sets from $50-$80), with Head Chef Asai Masashi turning out a variety of small plates (chicken tsukune with egg yolk; salmon avocado yukke wrap with seaweed; lots of grilled meat and veggies) most of which are cooked over the charcoal grill." -SG Now
"Bite-sized chicken breast morsels retain their juices and get a pleasant hit of wasabi; chicken wings are split and splayed for easier eating and enjoyed with a salty-fragrant condiment of minced yuzu and pepper; tender morsels stripped from the back of a chicken's neck are very good; and grilled chicken thigh gets added kick from black chilli pepper and sweet mustard seeds." -The Business Times
Chicken finds unexpected pride of place on the menu. The yakitori shio platter sees grilled soft chicken bone, gizzard, and breast, lightly seasoned with salt and served with a contrasting trio of mushroom salt, wasabi, and yuzu peppercorn." -Asia Tatler Dining