(ding dong has since moved to 115 Amoy Street and ceased operations at Ann Siang Road.)
Being in the hipster Ann Siang neighbourhood, ding dong fits in perfectly into the surroundings being a fusion restaurant and bar concept that is from Open Door Policy.
ding dong‘s menu had been fine-tuned by chef Ryan Clift from Tippling Club, where you can expect Southeast Asian influence in Western cuisine and is currently headed by head chef Jet Lo. Apart from food, fancy cocktails are also offered. For weekday lunch, a 3-course Lunch Menu runs from 12nn to 3pm, where you can choose from a range of appetisers, mains and desserts for a price of $25++.
(Homemade Miso Tofu, Daikon & Ginger Salad)
Going for the set lunch deal, my appeitser was the Homemade Miso Tofu, Daikon & Ginger Salad with Japanese Dressing. Usually seen as a Japanese dish, the Homemade Miso Tofu here seemed to have incorporated Southeast Asian elements into it. Unlike Japanese Tofu which is all silken, the Homemade Miso Tofu here is a wee bit more stiff, but still smooth nonetheless; something similar to the Chinese-style Tofu instead. The ginger salad atop gives a sharp spiced flavour which helped to lift up the otherwise plain tasting dish, but we felt that the soy sauce at the bottom can make this dish a tad salty for some, especially when the tofu is already infused with Miso already.
(Burnt Nasu with Crab and Crispy Shrimp)
Burnt Nasu with Crab and Crispy Shrimp was the appetiser my dining partner chose and a rather interesting dish as it is a dish that sees the play of textures. Nasu is a Japanese eggplant, which is lined at the bottom of this dish beneath the crispy prawn and the crab salad. Using shredded crab meat for the salad, it introduces a umami flavour that is familiar of most crustaceans in here, while the crispy prawn seemed to be a tad too chopped up as it seemed to be there more for the crunch rather than for taste. Burnt Nasu was surprisingly chewy, without tasting all charred up. Usually dishes are created to invoke different flavours in the mouth, but this was a surprising use of different textures so you can actually feel the different elements going on in the dish; pretty special.
(Crispy Duck Curry, Cauliflower, Passionfruit)
We actually made the visit here more for the mains, and more specifically the Crispy Duck Curry, Cauliflower, Passionfruit. Think about it; how often do you ever come across a Duck Confit dish that is not executed the French way? This was an epic infusion of French with what-seems-to-be-like Malay/Indonesian cuisine, as though throwing an Ayam Penyet in a bowl of curry but replacing the chicken with a Duck Leg Confit. Curry was pretty thick and rich, not shy of spiciness but at the same time, felt quite heavy on coconut milk, filled with cauliflower bits on one side. Perhaps the addition of Passionfruit was supposed to add some tanginess to the dish, but it seemed that it gave the curry a rather sour finishing note after each slurp of the gravy, and the seeds at the bottom quite affected the texture of the dish overall when you accidentally end up munching on them. Duck Leg was well executed; crisp skin and succulent meat that came off the bone easily with the fork. This dish was definitely one that I enjoyed, from its fusion element to the execution; not really perfect but really decent for its price point.
(Gula Malacca with Sago Pudding, Coconut)
Sounding pretty local, Gula Malacca with Sago Pudding, Coconut was a dessert that caught my eyes while I was researching on the menu here. It is interesting to see how sago becomes the main character here, being a pudding at the bottom with Gula Malacca binding them together so it gives a chewy and sweet bite. I did not quite like the Coconut Ice-Cream somehow though; a tad airy and even bland, but the meringue around was a nice touch to invoke some sugary sweetness that sets it apart from the palm sugar flavours that run within the pudding. Not sure what the popcorn was doing in there, but it felt like they had nothing to do with the dessert and merely there for the overall aesthetics somehow.
(Textures of Chocolate & Kaya)
My dining partner chose the Textures of Chocolate & Kaya which features a Kaya mousse seated atop a chocolate ice-cream and chocolate mousse. The chocolate flavours were a tad overwhelming in contrast with the Kaya, though the Kaya had interesting Gula Malacca and coconut flavours which is pretty rich. Again, the chocolate ice-cream seemed to be a tad off when it came to the texture, making the dessert feel a tad cheap; perhaps ice-cream is not ding dong‘s strongest point.
Overall our meal at ding dong was a pleasant one. Sure enough, there were a few misses, but it was amongst quite a good number of hits. In general, the only concern seemed to be on the desserts, and more particularly the ice-cream. However, with that being said ding dong‘s set lunch deal is perhaps one of the most value for money, given that it is of a lower price point than most in its class at $25++ which is great for its quality. Service was also decent with most boxes checked, but not exemplary; pretty good for such a venue. If you do have some cash to spare, then perhaps you should go for the ala-carte menu which definitely has more choices that seems equally promising.
23 Ann Siang Road
115 Amoy Street