Little Bastard 臭小子: Discreet Adults-only Bar worth scouting out

With a perplexed look plastered to my face, I navigated the insides of a bustling Refinery in search of the mysterious Little Bastard, the latest concept conceived by the same folks. Greeting me with a mischievous smile, the waiter led me to the dingiest corner of the restaurant, cloaked in shadows, pulled open a plastered wall to reveal a poorly-lit spiral staircase. With no fear of consequence whatsoever, I navigated the staircase with fierce ambition, mostly because I was beginning to fear my compatriots having sneaking suspicion that I had taken an alcoholic diversion from dinner time. Not that that was needed of course since Little Bastard has the functionality of a well-stocked bar. My first sweep of room caused me to have bated breath and a throbbing heart, especially so with the stripped down minimalistic look complete with painted oil drums and mahjong tables making me feel very much at home.

You may think it's all awfully contrived to this point, but when the food starts appearing at the tables, your Cantonese affair is authenticated. Conceived out of a passion for culinary experimentation, the dishes are clever, with names woven around local linguistics. My admiration for the thought process behind this joint multiplying with a noticeable success to puns employed.

I cheered the Swee Kueh ($12), a clever play on our usual local morning breakfast affair albeit spruced with chili oil and the starch pucks replaced by tofu medallions. The genius of the dish lies in the salted bean soy and textured chili oil combination that makes you want to dive in with just about any vessel possible. Yes, I'm guilty of swiping my duck through the remnants on the plate. Mostly because the Duck Confit Penyet ($20) fell short, with respect to its accompanying sambal sauce. Lacking character, it was neither sweet nor spicy. Still, a pretty good smashed duck confit, plump with juiciness and sporting a nicely crisp salted hide.

Talents are also displayed in the Pok Pok ($15) - fried chicken bites, coated very minimally in a sticky special pok pok sauce robust with the flavors of garlic and coriander. This goes down well if whisky is on the agenda that night; helping to fill the spaces in between.

The menu described as a mish mash of Asian flavors certainly lives up to expectations. It doesn't try to handcuff together unrelated cuisine, most of them having discernibly Chinese and local antecedents. I would have the Duroc Pork Lu Rou Fan ($18) every time I'm back, braised pork belly meets a nice platform of rice, obviously shaped in a vessel and pan-seared for crisp surfaces, quail egg and shibazuke pickles complete the comfy equation.

The cheekily named Shadow Leg ($24) lacquered with a glaze of sorts don charred edges from the slow-grilling. This is marinated for 12-hrs in lemongrass for a nostalgic perfume; if the excellent dish turned up at a prim and proper traditional Thai restaurant, nobody would blink.

Relaxing the tight grip on orthodox presentation is the One Night in Tom Yum ($20), a not so spicy affair with an ingenious touch of cold tom yum consomme poured over Japanese Inaniwa udon with sweet crab meat aplenty. I munched away happily on this, unmindful of my compatriots enthusiasm in the same dish. My bad.

If there was one piece of advice I would offer the eager diner, make sure to get in on the innovative cocktail list at Little Bastard. It is guaranteed to put more strut in the menu when you freestyle. Simply Yeo's ($18) is seasoned with barley and pandan leaves while given a healthy glug of bird's nest for an extra health-boosting effect. The Smoky Bastard ($24) is great, the accompanying skewer of plum glistening from a long steep in bourbon; peated whisky meets grapefruit bitters and a pinch of sugar for a tipple that's carnally satisfying for the heavier imbibers. However, I think my favourite invention by Head Honcho, Big Shah, has to be the Cut-leg Milo Peng ($22) - bourbon sous-vide with milo mixed in with coffee bean infused vermouth. One of the best milo cocktails I've ever sipped on.

Little Bastard isn't too celebratory. It has a contemplative, almost wistful mood, perfect for private conversations and secret meetings. If that happens to be your mood, too, I can't think of a more congenial place to eat.

Little Bastard
115 King George's Avenue
t: 8459 9893

Operating Hours:
Tues - Sat: 6pm - 12am
Sun and Mon: Closed

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