Kovan seems to be one of the most hip neighbourhoods so far; not only does it come with a food centre to meet your everyday dining needs, but there are also pretty affordable and great alternatives nearby such as both Nakhon Kitchen and Hatter Street both situated within the vicinity as well.
Knuckles Bistro adds to the list of eateries within the Kovan area. Affiliated to Nakhon Kitchen, Knuckles Bistro is a new dining concept that serves Western fare with what Nakhon Kitchen is known for; low prices and quality tasting grub. While adopting a dark industrial theme, the interior felt rather unpretentious as there was nothing exaggerating about the decor; just simple wooden stools and crate tables with a chalkboard menu and filament bulbs. Menu generally revolves around the western fare that we are familiar with; ranging from Pork Steaks, Fish & Chips, Chicken Chop to uncommon heartland finds such as Pork Knuckles and Bangers & Mash. It is rather interesting to note that most sides cost below $5, and mains range within $8 to $12, with the Sirloin Steak being the only item that sits at the highest point of that range.
For a side, we decided to go for Grilled Mushrooms. Essentially Sauteed Mushrooms, the assorted mushrooms were earthy, juicy and flavourful. The only weakness of this dish was probably it being slightly too oily, but we were glad that it also came with a garden salad by the side which was refreshing with crunchy leaves so as to eradicate most of that oiliness.
Being the signature item here, we just could not give Pork Knuckles a miss. Served de-boned, there’s no need for a mess as all you have to do is to just dig in and eat. The Pork Knuckles were tender and juicy in the inside, and the roasted skin sitting atop was crunchy and savoury though the crunchiness was not very consistent. The pickled vegetables on the side gave a sour but refreshing taste to the dish, whereas the mash potatoes were smooth and buttery along with the brown sauce served atop. For $10, despite the somewhat small portion and inconsistency, we still found it great value-for-money for its quality; after all where else could you find a Pork Knuckle that is so affordable?
(Grilled Chicken Chop)
Boring me decided to order the usual Grilled Chicken Chop. I had always seen the Chicken Chop as a dish used as a gauge on the chef’s skill for Western cuisine. Juicy and tender, we did not even have to use a knife for our Chicken Chop; I eventually used a spoon and a fork for it all the way. The brown sauce atop was also savoury as it seemed to have a hint of shallots for extra flavour. It seemed unintentional that the fries carried a bit of Truffle Aroma in them; probably came from previous orders of fries but was something I definitely would not mind. Again the garden salad was crunchy and refreshing; the leaves looked so fresh and was something I could not withhold myself from as well.
Knuckles Bistro is definitely a great spot to hit in Kovan, especially if you are looking for good and cheap western fare in the area. The only thing you would have to brave here would be the waiting time. When we arrived at 7.15pm the bistro was already at full capacity with its first batch of patrons and a couple in the queue. Due to the size of the kitchen, the orders were slowly being churned in batches and served out. We got our seats at approximately 7.45pm, and we again waited for some time for our food to be served. I also noticed how the kitchen serves up similar orders together, so expect some wait in between your meals if you are ordering different dishes. Was it worth the wait? Certainly; and the queue was less crazy than Nakhon Kitchen just two units down. I would be back some day again for the Pork Knuckles, but it would be dependent on my mood if I would actually want to be in the queue though.
Blk 212 Hougang Street 21