I recently got invited down for a food tasting at The Bird, situated within the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. The Bird is affiliated to Yardbird from Miami (do not confuse with the restaurant of same name from Hong Kong) and they are known for their chicken and waffles. Their name is not only reputable in the South, but they have also expanded to Vegas in the West and soon to reach Beverly Hills. We are lucky that they have chosen to make their way to Singapore out of all places in the world!
“Marina Bay Sands has teamed up with 50 Eggs to unveil its first international location of the James Beard nominated and award-winning Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, operating under the name The Bird Southern Table & Bar. A tribute to Southern hospitality and farm-fresh ingredients, The Bird enhances the integrated resort’s diverse range of signature restaurants and casual dining options.”
This restaurant has just opened and I daresay this whole cuisine is rather new to Singapore as well. Sure, we have seen chicken and waffles served in hipster cafes, but those are usually done fusion and tweaked to local people’s taste buds. On the same menu you will find truffle fries and salted egg yolk-something. A restaurant serving real American style southern food is something I’ve not noticed in the local dining scene before, so of course I have to try it! I’ve not been to Miami (or any south state of US) and I sure hope to be there one day.
First up, I was served some appetizers.
dill, chives, smoked trout roe
This was good, so good. I can still imagine the taste of it now! Deviled egg is basically a hard boiled egg with the yolk part removed to be blended with good stuff, and then piped back into the white. The chives made it very fragrant, like tartar sauce. (ok bad description, but I love the flavour of tartar sauce!) Those pictures of deviled eggs I’ve been seeing online usually has a reasonable size of yolk – just a little popping out of the hole, so I was surprised to see THIS much of it here. But I’m not complaining – if it’s this good please give me more. I’ll take it.
Macaroni and Cheese
Torchio pasta, five artisanal cheeses, crispy herb crust
Ah! Mac & Cheese, a comfort food with a foolproof combination. I’ve tried making Mac & Cheese before myself and tried various recipes. Some are cheesier, some are creamier. I noticed that in Singapore, most of our mac & cheese served in local cafes are often lighter on cheese and more of cream. This one though, is really classic American – full of cheese. In fact, they use 5 types of cheese for this! I would appreciate if they could add more of the herb crust though, for nicer texture.
Chicken ‘n’ Watermelon ‘n’ Waffle
Honey hot sauce, chilled spiced watermelon, vermont sharp cheddar cheese waffle, bourbon maple syrup
This was the star of the night. This was the very dish that made Yardbird famous in Miami and all over USA. The chicken was marinated in brine with top secret ingredients for 27hr. The marinade is then reserved to be mixed with flour for the batter and the chicken is fried in a pressure cooker to create the final result of super juicy, tender, flavourful and crispy chicken.
This chicken was so flavourful, you won’t find a spot which didn’t get the flavour from the marinade. Even in deeper parts near the bone the chicken soaked up all the flavours. The outer layer’s texture was somewhat like KFC Original’s – no extra crunch, but itself being full of flavour was addictive enough.
I highly recommend trying at least once! You’ll never be satisfied with regular fried chicken again. In fact, I went to a local cafe which served Southern style chicken & waffles the very next day and was sorely disappointed by the lack of flavours. (I am not naming them, but apparently their fried chicken was quite well received by many others.) I suspect that my expectations have been raised after trying The Bird and it’s hard to beat! The prices here may seem to be on the high side for what local people expect for fried chicken, but as an occasional treat I would think it’s worth it. This costs twice as much as the other restaurant which I shall not name, but The Bird tastes more than double as nice for sure.
If you’re wondering why chicken and waffles and watermelon?? Their original restaurant Yardbird serves it exactly this way too. I like how they presented the real deal rather than an Asian spin off version!
The chicken itself was good enough and probably stole the show, but the spiced watermelon and cheese savoury waffle was mentioning too. Cheese was put inside the batter and more cheddar was put on the waffle pan for a cheese crust surface. Watermelon spiced with lime, mint and cayenne was something I certainly didn’t expect, but it was a good addition to balance out the heaviness of this dish.
Butter Lettuce & Grilled Mango Salad
char-grilled mango, smoked pecans, tomato, onions, benne seed dressing
If you need something fresh and healthy to balance out the meal, they do have a selection of salads which you can choose as a side. Char grilled mango is a first for me. This wasn’t very impressionable (I was distracted by the chicken which was served first) so don’t count on my review for this item. I’d rather eat more fried chicken than trying to balance this meal with greens, honestly. Diet starts tomorrow.
rum soaked banana cake, chantilly cream, fresh bananas, vanilla wafers
This resembled a banana version of tiramisu that is made with Tokyo Banana, the famous Banana souvenir snack from Japan. I actually found the flavour to be very familiar and it only struck me that it was the taste of Tokyo Banana a few days later when I was looking at this picture! This might be a bit too heavy for a dessert after a meal of fried chicken and mac & cheese, but dessert is always welcomed (says me, Hungry Bird).
Overall, I like how the menu here retained it’s authenticity by serving what you can get in their Miami or Vegas restaurants. (I went to look up their menus to verify that!) I like how the food reminds me of my travels to USA (which I love, by the way!) and the authenticity of very much unadulterated, unlike those local hipster cafes in Singapore which tries to serve such American dishes.
If someone in your party somehow hates fried chicken (I don’t think that’s possible though… who would???) and wants something local, they do have a Singapore exclusive dish – Low Country Laksa. This dish features a skin- on snapper filet, served with Carolina gold rice pirlau, a heritage rice grain that is indigenous to South Carolina, enhanced with sweet corn and spiced pecans served with a crispy poached farm egg and a caramelized ginger and coconut broth. This dish was inspired by group CEO John Kunkel’s travels to Singapore and combined with traditional southern ingredients and techniques. I would definitely want to try that next time!
Overall: For those serious about fried chicken, this is something to look out for
The Bird Southern Table & Bar
B1-07, Galleria Level
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
Tel: 6688 9959
Monday – Friday: 11:00am – 4:00pm
Daily: 4:00pm – 11:00pm
DRINKS & LIGHT SNACKS
Thursday – Saturday: 11:00pm – 2:00am
SAT & SUN: 8:00am – 4:00pm