Sunday, July 5, 2015

By The Fire - Another Gem of a Hawker Gourmet Eatery

Immanuel's first hawker eatery with all its French inspired cuisine was a big hit last year. Now, together with his ex-colleague from Guy Savoy, Alex, they have started another similar gourmet eatery in another hawker bar in Joo Chiat.

Called By The Fire, it is situated in the corner of Alibabar the Hawker Bar and serves up beautifully plated food that has a greater emphasis on charcoal grilled meats.

Both Alex and Immanuel have a hand in creating the plates on offer here and the end result is another modernistic hawker stall that aims to cater to a more upscale market.

Powered by a charcoal grill, the food is still predominantly modern French that has been infused with some Japanese influences. The cuisine is less pretentious than its Bukit Merah counterpart and the prices are equally attractive for the quality of food on offer here.

Scotch Eggs

Their Scotch Eggs were not only positively stunning, they were utterly delicious too. Their eggs were oozy in the center and wrapped by an alchemy of crispy breaded batter and minced sausage, the eventual bite was packed with loads of flavour and crunch enveloped by the creamy yolk sauce. Gorgeously delectable.

Grilled Pork Jowl

The Grilled Pork Jowl was less pretty in its look but nevertheless, it still looked elegant in its plating and tasted even better. It had a slight Japanese curry rub on its exterior and the grilled meat was extremely melting to the bite.

Paired with a potato and pumpkin salad to help cut through some of the juicy fats of the meat, the garnish worked perfectly well and the dish was nicely balanced on the whole. Wonderfully seasoned, constructed and executed dish.

BBQ Pork Ribs

The BBQ Pork Ribs was less ravishing than the Pork Jowl, tough. The marinate and seasoning was spot on, but the meat lacked a bit of tenderness and moistness that I would have liked and ended up slightly bland.

The side of mac and cheese was tasty and the slight bits of spring onion and bacon bits helped to give it some extra flavour and kick. Eaten together, it can prove to be a heart plate of food that will go down well with most guys.

Seaweed Pasta

The Seaweed Pasta was a signature from Immanuel's Keystone days and they have revived it here. It was a nice fusion of Japanese and Italian ideas that had that earthy seaweed tone to coat the noodles with. Throw in some garlic oil and sakura ebi and it will definitely knock the socks off most similar Japanese-Italian fusion pasta dishes around.

The angel hair could have been a bit more al dente though and the oil emulsion could have been "creamier" for my liking. But then again, I have always been a pasta snob so trust me when I say this pasta dish is still eons better than most cafe variants.

By The Fire is still relatively new but the signs are very positive and encouraging. Alex, just like Immanuel, is a very down to earth chap and prefers to let the cooking do all the talking.

Similarly, he is also very industrious in his preparation and during the actual cooking as well. Whilst it may not yet reach the levels of its older sibling, given time, I believe Alex will pull off another winner under this umbrella of gourmet hawker eateries.

By The Fire
125 East Coast Road

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