Chowing down on offal and other less popular cuts of meat is not as intimidating as it sounds! These exciting dishes could persuade you to jump on board the nose-to-tail dining bandwagon.
Praline, $32 (5th Quarter, Level 1 Hotel Vagabond, 39 Syed Alwi Road, tel: 6291-1936, www.5thquarter.com.sg)
Pork Collar, Radishes and Praline, $32
Head chef Drew Nocente’s desire to reduce wastage means less-favoured but versatile cuts like pork collar are elevated to star attraction status. First brined for 24 hours, then prepared sous vide for almost three hours before finishing in the Josper oven, this well-marbled slab of meat has a fork-tender texture (almost like a particularly great cut of steak), and astounding flavour. The accompanying praline and radish provide contrasting textures and a sweet counterpoint to the meat’s porky taste.
(Dehesa, 12 North Canal Road, tel: 6221-7790, www.dehesa.com.sg)
Dehesa Platter of Cold Meats, $32
The hefty platter of cold cuts comprises pig ears, pate, homemade saucisson (cured pork sausages), pickles, soft-boiled eggs, rillons and scratchings, but the indisputable centre of attention is the pig head terrine. Despite the tedious preparation process (the head has to be soaked in water for 24 hours to remove all the blood, brined for three days, then washed before it’s cooked and transformed into crumbly slabs of meat), chef Jean-Philippe Patruno chooses to use this part precisely for the challenge it affords. Be adventurous and don’t let his efforts be for naught.
Duck Hearts on Toast, $15
More like a comfort-food favourite than an intimidating delicacy, this traditional Spanish dish sees the hearts smothered in quince sauce atop a thick slab of toast. The hearts are richly favoured with a firm bite, and easy to swallow even for the offal newbie. Use the crisp toast to mop up all the stickysweet sauce.
Ox Tongue, $18
The slivers of tongue are served with celeriac cubes and green peas, and doused in a delicious mustard-anchovy sauce. Chef Jean- Philippe’s deft hand in prepping this tricky cut ensures that it is cooked just right so that it’s the perfect balance of chewy and tender.
(Tiger’s Milk, Rooftop, The Club, 28 Ann Siang Road, tel: 6808-2183, www.theclub.com.sg/ restaurant-bars/tigersmilk)
Lamb Heart, $10 for two skewers
This dish is the Peruvian rooftop bar’s tribute to the popular Peruvian dish of skewered beef hearts. Here, lamb hearts are used instead because of their rarity in the local food scene. They are marinated with harissa paste and salsa criolla (a South American version of salsa), then skewered and seared quickly on the grill so they retain plenty of bite without veering into rubbery territory. If you’re squeamish about their potentially strong taste, rest easy: the searing heat of the harissa and salsa criolla marinade masks any gaminess while adding plenty of tangy and punchy favours.