Ding Dong: runs the night with their New Menu

There's just something about Ding Dong after dark that has got me charmed. I'm bought into the lure of a lardaceous affair of Pork Trotters in between alcoholic thirst quenchers; the illustrious neon lights reflecting off mahogany wood table tops hitting the spot where party vibes are concerned. The menu needs little decoding, recently revamped by new Assistant Head Chef Miller Mai under the guidance of Chef Ryan Clift, it screams of modernised childhood nostalgic dishes and some of which are stellar. While the food is loosely based on local favourites, the kitchen pushes far beyond those boundaries. Subverting and reinventing dishes, Ding Dong targets a new generation of novelty-seeking urban diners. I, for one am extremely grateful for this tenant on the mega food-centric Amoy Street.

Scallop Ceviche, Thai Mango, Kuih Kapit
L: Miso Cured Salmon; R: Boneless Beef Shank, Rice Noodles and Lemongrass Dressing

To kick off: under the cold dishes section, something fishy. Moreish, glossy Ikura marinated in shoyu sits between soft folds of Miso cured Salmon ($22) with a elegant quenelle of yuzu sorbet on top. Norwegian salmon is cured in white miso paste, sake, brown sugar and soy sauce for half a day, the expected bits of the formula are all in there, the overall flavor nuances familiar yet somewhat refreshing. Another modest offering would be the Boneless Beef Shank, Rice Noodle and Lemongrass dressing ($18). Got a pal who loves bun cha? Make sure to order this dish. The beef shank marinated with Thai curry paste before being cooked sous vide for 12 hours is tender beyond belief; blanketed by a piquant lemongrass dressing, the chilled vegetable and meat combination enlivens the palate via the sweet tart tension of the lemongrass and lime juice sauce. 

Drinks wise, Ding Dong does like to dabble in exotic flavors. Unfortunately, not all their cocktails are sure hits. Though I must admit to be have been rather smitten with the Thug Passion ($22), a lively mix of tequila, Greek yogurt, passion fruit, orange blossom water, vanilla and freeze dried raspberry. An earnest attempt at revamping the classic mango lassi, the tipple grows on your after its slightly sweetish first impression. Greek yogurt providing a nicely tart corrective to the underlying sweetness.

Yam Ring, Asparagus, Poached Egg
If there was one dish that needs to step forward and bow deeply: The Yam Ring, Asparagus, Poached egg ($20). The soft set egg acting as a self saucing pudding over authentically yam powered paste fortified in a hot oil bathe. Sigh. It slips your mind that this dish is 100% vegetarian.

Crispy Pork Trotter, Spice Vinegar; Rendang Beef Brisket Bun
Some other superb subject matter appears in the form of the Crispy Pork Trotter, Spice vinegar ($29). Sufficiently plump with a hide of crispy skin attached to unctuous fats. There's really no way you're going to resist this thing of beauty. Not for those wishing not to burst out of their size zero outfits. A far departure from the usual dry as cardboard German varietals, the kitchen's fastidiousness is highly evident via the steps employed to achieve said results. Pork trotter is soaked in spice brine for 12 hours and then cooked at 72 degrees Celsius in a sous-vide bathe for 12 hours before being dried in the chiller for 12 hours to remove excess moisture. Final flourishes happen in the deep fryer and the tall, tender, young and lovely will have you hankering for your next fix. The details are good where they matter and the enormously successful bar food regime continues with the Rendang Beef Brisket Bun ($21) - despite it being a very liberal interpretation of our local dish; the overall amalgamation is very desirable. Beef brisket brined, smoked and barbecued form the bedrock, its flavor packed fattiness contrasting with the sharp and vinegary tones of the pickled cucumber
L: Pork Collar Char Siu; R: Tuna Loin, Green Papaya and Sweet Sour Sauce

Another fail-safe dish is the Pork Collar Char Siu ($26), the star component being the pool of pineapple mousse which racy acidity cuts through some of the richness. Less compelling is the Tuna Loin, green papaya and sweet sour sauce; a great departure from the successful meat courses we run through prior to this, I probably wouldn't be the fairest judge to this since I'm not a fan of this protein executed in this manner. Similarly, the Lobster Tail in Tom Yum Broth ($30) runs in the same vein, flavors are imbalanced and the crab cake puck gets too big a spur from the huge amount of salt used. Intentions were good and pure in this case but the extraterrestrial landscape of genial sweet lobster tail with the assault of astringent flavors from tom yum paste did an over-enthusiastic dance across the palate and faded into oblivion. Indeed, food here is prided for being inventive, but I would implore you to stick out your bottom dollar for the Crispy Pork Trotter,

The Banana Cannoli ($15) was exactly what I wanted, even though I didn't know I wanted it (that and my aversion towards banana. Of course.). Phyllo pastry rolled in cinnamon sugar and stuffed with banana mousse. Yes, I'm a big fan now. The other desserts didn't make sense; Ginger Lime Parfait ($11) that went too light on either slated flavors while the reinvented chendol threatened to bust my blood sugar levels - Coconut Snow, Pandan Jelly Noodle, Gula Melaka Ice Cream ($11) - p.s. changing the consistency of a certain component that is usually the melding force does not qualify it as creative fare.

I returned shortly for a second visit, this time fuelled by sake and a deadly craving for that pork trotters. We traipsed across the neighbourhood, unfazed by the humidity and looming heat, the stilettos not posing a problem at all. Ding Dong, I can admit now, has hidden empowerment abilities. 

Ding Dong
115 Amoy Street
t: 6557 0189

Opening Hours:
Mon - Sat: 12 -3pm; 6pm - 12am
Sun: Closed

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