The reviews of Bellwethers on HGW have been amazing, so we tried this bistro that opened in Jan13, for a gathering of 4 on a Friday chillout night, to further my Jalan Besar Trail. Nestled in a corner of Singapore’s oldest red light district, Bellwethers Bistro Bar definitely looks like a modern oddball at the corner of the historic shophouses.
The design of Bellwethers Bistro Bar is modern, simple and unpretentious, juxtaposed against the quaint shophouses and edgy characters in the neighbourhood. Edgy enough to see police patrolling around :P. Bellwethers’ goal is to “create a quirky and offbeat watering hole away from the humdrum of Singapore’s concrete jungle and bring cool to this charming hidden gem” and they have definitely succeeded. And I am not sure what is with bicycles recently, but Bellwethers also have one in their bathroom to add to their charm. Personally feel that Bellwethers has an Aussie/NZ feel.
We started chilling over Speights Lager ($8/pint) on draught and Crispy Thinly Sliced Lotus Chips ($8), served with creamy clam dip. I really recommend the addictive lotus chips – well sliced and fried! This is a slightly healthier less carb alternative to potato chips. Also learnt from the friendly waitresses that the chef prepares all the sauces and dips from scratch – respect the effort. But the dip clam gives the lotus chips a much heavier flavour so specifically for this lotus chips, I prefer it without the sauce.
At Bellwethers, they advocate communal dining so they serve their mains in sharing portions. They just revamped their menu 2 months ago, and we tried the Iberian Presa ($40), which is grilled Acorn fed Iberian pork collar, served with acidic pork sauce. The pork is so well cooked and sufficiently fatty to a point of being unctuous, that it tastes like beef. The pork was tender, VERY juicy and it becomes stronger flavoured when eaten together with the sauce. My favourite combination is having the pork with a pinch of salt that is also served on the platter; the salt enhanced the pork flavour by drawing out the meat’s natural sweetness much more than having the pork on its own or with the pork sauce.
We also shared the Grill Herb Infused Chicken ($30) which supposedly feeds 3 but it is enough for 4. The chicken is infused with herb brine and served with chicken port wine sauce. On the side, it is also served basil spice sauce on the side. Again, the meat was extremely tender, even for the chicken breast and thigh portions. The temperature of the grill must have been managed very well for such juicy consistency.
They serve a side with every main, so we had Roasted Pineapples – Slices pineapples infused by nutmeg poached and caramelized on the grill, and Roasted Vegetables – simple roasted vegetables with garlic parsley sauce. They were both simple and fibrous and I liked the nutmeg detail on the pineapples which were sweet and spicy and not sour at all. Good complements to the amazing meats.
Even though the location may be dubious to most, the food is worth the trip down! Just writing about the food is making me hungry. We enjoyed the relaxed, unpretentious surroundings and we had very good quality food for $20/pax, if we exclude drinks. I would say overall, combining value, food quality, service and relaxation quotient, we are more likely to go back to Bellwethers often than even atas Oxwell.
If you want to adjourn after Bellwethers, we actually wanted to head to Lowercase for round 2, but though their Facebook page said they close at 1030pm but when we reach at 910pm, they were already closed. zzzzz. Wasted my carpark fee. We ended up back at Butter Studio round the corner for drinks and dessert!
Bellwethers Bistro Bar
Address: 120 Desker Road
Hours: Mon – Sat: 17:00 – 01:00, Closed: Sun