To avoid being mistaken for Yardbird Yakitori restaurant in Hong Kong, the award-winning Yardbird Southern Table & Bar from Miami has been renamed The Bird Southern Table & Bar at MBS. Decorated in the style of barnyard chic, the gorgeous 190-seater restaurant serves Southern American food and cocktails with a bourbon base. In a nod to Singapore food heritage, The Bird offers low country laksa ($ 38), a skin-on snapper fillet on Carolina gold rice pirlau; and pandan mule ($ 20), a Moscow mule with vodka infused with pandan.
For appetizers, many order the classic buttermilk biscuits ($ 10, 4 pc), but we eschewed the carbs in favor for fats. The deviled eggs ($ 14, 3pc) is elegantly speckled with smoked trout roe. I enjoy dill as a herb very much, and in turn, I like the anise-like flavor it brought to the deviled egg, sharp with vinegar and mustard.
Butter lettuce & grilled mango salad ($ 18)
The fried green tomato BLT ($ 18, 3pc) is even better. The green tomato, done almost in a tempura style, forms the base; the middle consists of pimento cheese; and house smoked pork belly, tender and crispy, tops off the BLT.
Their signature is their fried chicken from their 100 year-old recipe. You can order it as a 1/2 chicken ($ 35) or 1/2 chicken with watermelon and waffles ($ 45). They are big enough for 2.
The watermelon cubes are tossed with lime, lemon, mint and cayenne pepper: too sour for me. The Vermont sharp cheddar cheese waffle is savoury and firm; and the bourbon maple syrup adds a wonderful complexity.
But how does the fried chicken fare? Excellently. The chicken is hormone-free and brined for 27 hours to maintain the moisture when deep-frying. The treatment allows even the chicken breast to be tender and moist to the bone. There is some blood on the bones, something that some Singaporeans mind, but we didn’t.
However, great as the chicken is, we wonder if it is overpriced. The day after eating The Bird, I ordered Arnold’s Fried Chicken for $ 26, feeding my parents and me; that’s half the price of The Bird’s. Eating fried chicken on two days, I could do a rather fair comparison between the two. The quality of chicken and the cooking are way better at The Bird, but Arnold’s spices are hard to beat. Next time I visit The Bird, I’ll probably try something else, maybe the St. Louis style pork ribs ($ 42), which I saw many people order and which comes as a huge portion good to be shared between 2 persons.
The mac & cheese ($ 14) comprises of 5 cheeses: white cheddar, yellow cheddar, parmesan, Leicester, and cream cheese. It’s beautiful. Just slightly pungent, it’s deep and earthy and dense. I also noticed many people ordering crispy brussels ($ 12), a bowl of interesting-looking black thingamabob.
The bold style of the savoury food is congruous with the desserts, dense and thick; however, this particular style doesn’t quite suit desserts because, after a full meal, a light and tart dessert is best.
There are many things we like about The Bird. Our favorite part is the clear and distinct direction of the food, full of character. Assertive and bold and robust. Clearly, the James Beard nominated restaurant excels in all areas. I won’t be surprised if it receives a Michelin Bib Gourmand next year.
The Bird Southern Table & Bar
2 Bayfront Avenue, B1-07 & L1-82 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore 018972
tel: +65 6688 9959
Lunch M-F 11am-4pm, Dinner daily 4pm-11pm
Drinks & light snacks 11pm-2am
Weekend brunch 10am-4pm
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Written by A. Nathanael Ho.