Restaurant Review

Bayswater Kitchen - Catch of the bay

Using ingredients less commonly paired with seafood, Bayswater Kitchen's dishes surprise with unexpected flavours and textures

Good local seafood restaurants are plentiful here. But good Western seafood restaurants, I can count on one hand.

Now there is one more: Bayswater Kitchen, which opened two weeks ago at Keppel Bay, at the spot where the first Prive restaurant used to be.

Also owned by The Prive Group, it features a menu of seafood-centric dishes by British chef Jack Allibone. He was previously the sous chef of seafood restaurant Angler in London and moved here to join Bayswater Kitchen.

His menu appears straightforward at first glance, but look closer and you often find ingredients that are less commonly used for these dishes.

And that is what makes Bayswater Kitchen exciting - the fact that the dishes surprise with a texture or flavour you do not expect.

One dish - Fisherman's Feast ($35 a person, minimum two persons) - is stamped with the words "Must Try". While that is not always to be believed, in this case, I would call it good advice.

It is a pasta dish with handmade linguine, something rarely seen in restaurants here. The strands of fresh pasta are not totally smooth nor do they come in uniform thickness.

  • BAYSWATER KITCHEN

  • 2 Keppel Bay Vista, tel: 6776-0777; open: 11.30am to 3pm (Mondays to Fridays), 6 to 11pm (Mondays to Saturdays), closed on Sundays and public holidays, but will open for Sunday brunch next year)

    Food: 4/5 stars

    Service: 4/5 stars

    Ambience: 4/5 stars

    Price: Budget about $80 a person, without drinks

But, simmered in seafood stock with lobster, prawns, mussels, fish fillet and tomatoes, they soak up the flavours really well. They remind me of yee mein noodles cooked using a technique called "men" in Mandarin - except that the linguine, while not al dente, does not get overly soft or soggy.

Mussels Steamed In Irish Ale & Lovage ($19) is another dish I will order again. The shellfish is cooked just right and the juices, combined with ale and the aromatic herb, are irresistibly delicious.

The price is an attraction too. If you order a few starters to share, the serving is enough for three people.

Another excellent dish that offers good value is Wild Red Snapper ($40). The fish is rubbed with curry spices and scallion yogurt and grilled. It is presented whole at the table, before being whisked away to have its bones removed and served as pieces of fillet with seaweed salad on the side.

The fish is moist and tasty, with the spices subtle so that they act as a seasoning without overpowering the snapper's delicate flavours.

If you need more sides and vegetables, get the Butter-Roasted Cauliflower ($10), which is grilled till soft and sweet.

Parmesan cheese that is melted on top adds a nice cheesy, salted flavour. But what makes this dish pop is the hazelnut pesto spread on top, with bits of nut providing an unexpected crunch and added aroma.

I am not a fan of fries and avoid them most of the time. But the description of the Straight Cut Fries ($9) - with "Seaweed 'Shake It Till You Make It', Sriracha & Garlic Dip" - catches my eye and I order it.

The shake part is not as exciting as it sounds, as the server just puts some seaweed salt into the paperbag of fries and shakes everything up. And the dip does not leave much impression.

The fries, however, are excellent. They are wonderfully crisp on the outside and fluffy inside.

Only one thing can make them better - frying them in beef fat, which would give the potato more flavour.

To take a break from seafood, I decide to try the Spatchcock Whole Free-Roaming Chicken ($44 for 1.4kg). Dressed in fennel and roasted, it is good but not amazing. One expects more flavour from a free-roaming bird.

It is a meaty bird though and too much for my table of three. So for dessert, the zingy Whipped Cheesecake ($13) is just what we need.

Whipped cheese is topped with passionfruit sorbet, fresh passionfruit and broken pieces of shortbread, and the zing from the tart passionfruit dispels any sluggishness you may be feeling.

And it is easy to feel sluggish at Bayswater Kitchen.

The restaurant is opened up to take advantage of the marina view, though the sheltered area is kept cool by air-conditioners. Those who can put up with Singapore weather have the option of sitting alfresco and being closer to the water.

The restaurant has a lazy holiday feel - ideal for casual dinners or weekend lunches. Diners with more energy can, however, make use of a foosball table and a custom-made ping-pong table at the back of the room.

But for me, lazy is good.

•Follow Wong Ah Yoke on Twitter @STahyoke and on Instagram @wongahyoke

•The Sunday Times paid for its meals at the eateries reviewed here.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 12, 2017, with the headline 'Catch of the bay'. Print Edition | Subscribe