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Gastrobar Binary serves up dishes two ways: Western and Asian

New gastrobar Binary has a lofty concept that uses too many adjectives. 

The key ingredients are offered in two ways, usually a Western concept and an Asian one. 

Luckily, the individual dishes are mostly singular in concept on the plate, so it is not a mishmash of influences because there is no real point in reinventing the fusion wheel. 

The common thread is that these dishes are also designed to be paired with alcohol. 

Bottles of wine line the restaurant, and the bustling bar is the centrepiece.

It is easy to dismiss the food, but it is not an afterthought. There were certainly winners on the menu.
I found the octopus dish ($28) good. 

Octopus with Lao Gan Ma saucePHOTO: YEOH WEE TECK

It is served with the popular Lao Gan Ma, with fermented black bean sauce, soy sauce, black vinegar, and teng jiao oil (Sichuan green pepper oil).

For the uninitiated, Lao Gan Ma is a chilli sauce that can be searing for some. I belong to the latter.

Still, I liked it because the sauce was lovely with the octopus that was first cooked sous vide, then grilled.

Also very good is the simple Homemade Kubaneh Bread ($14), served with two kinds of butter: garlic and kombu. The egginess of the bread is highlighted by the butter.

Homemade Kubaneh Bread with two garlic and kombu butterPHOTO: YEOH WEE TECK

The Tiger Prawns Gambas Al Ajillo ($18) is perfectly executed, with firm sweet prawns and just the right amount of heat, tart and smoothness from the olive oil. The dish is also found in almost every Spanish restaurant. This version is great, but it is hardly groundbreaking.

Tiger Prawns Gambas Al AjilloPHOTO: YEOH WEE TECK

The Chicken Wings "Nasi Lemak" style ($18) has juicy fried wings served with sambal tumis.
Like the Tiger Prawns Gambas Al Ajillo, it is competent and yummy, but I don’t know if it's $18-yummy. Again, as tasty as it was, no grounds shook.

"Nasi Lemak" Chicken WingsPHOTO: YEOH WEE TECK

If you don’t need to eat modern food, the Iberico Pluma Korean Gochujang ($38) will please you.
It is served exactly the way it usually is, with green coral lettuce, ssamjang sauce, chopped kimchi, and sea salt. You wrap it up like a popiah and enjoy.

The pork is good enough on its own too. It was the only dish that made me wish there was rice.

Octopus with Lao Gan Ma saucePHOTO: YEOH WEE TECK

There are a couple of sides that were delicious, and I would order them regardless of what I’m eating. 

The Parmesan Bacon Cauliflower ($14) has pan-seared cauliflower florets tossed with chopped raw garlic, parmesan cheese, bacon, salt and pepper.

The deep-fried  Mushroom Fritti ($14) is equally addictive.

The dessert option that has been all over social media is the Hong Kong Egglet with Blue Sea Salt Ice Cream ($16). This alien-like dish looks interesting though it does nothing else for me. 

I don’t think Binary will win any major culinary awards soon. But it is a place with friendly service and a wide range of drinks. 

If awards are given based on vibes, this will be at least a two-star establishment. 

#01-01A Palais Renaissance
Opens 11.30am to 10.30pm



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