The buzz: Look away now if you’re counting your calories. This new venture (the only similarity this restaurant shares with Bird Bird, formerly on Ann Siang, is its name) by the golden boy of the local dining scene, Bjorn Shen, is a casual joint that dishes out unadulterated, heart-clogging items that will have you coming back for more.
The vibe: Gone are the Thai street style decor found at the old Bird Bird. To align with the new theme, one that is still chicken-centric but now leaning towards American-style fried chicken instead of Thai (with one exception), the feel you get at the Frankel Avenue Bird Bird is almost warm and inviting, but laced with Shen’s signature sarcasm and off-kilter elements like a luxe marble-walled toilet.
The food: Comfort food done right is the name of the game here. While items like curly fries ($11-$12), mac and cheese ($10-$12), salads ($6) and fried chicken ($49 whole; $25 half) may sound like items you can get at any fast food chain, the treatment you will find with each dish is a world of difference here.
Take their fried chickens for instance, the stars of the restaurant. The Southern Fried Chicken, bathed in buttermilk and brined in Old Bay Seasoning for that Southern American touch, is the perfect combination of crispy skin and tender flesh, then taken to the next level with homemade chicken gravy meant to be doused on your bird. The Bangkok Fried Chicken meanwhile, which survived the cut from Bird Bird’s old menu, remains our favorite for its satisfying crunch and fragrance. Shen reveals the secret to the texture lies in adding vodka into the batter. We’ll believe him this time.
Sides for sharing are a must. Again, these are your leveled-up versions of comfort classics. The curly fries, so thinly cut and crisp and available in sauces like black truffle mayo with cheese; or Sriracha combined with soy and Kewpie mayo, make for great beer grub. Then you have the milk braised pork with honey mustard glazed donut ($16) that is so sinful but so good you might lick the plate clean of the lard-laden sauce.
To match that level of decadence, the desserts here, the creations of pastry chef Fiona Ting, will also easily add inches to your waistline. So be sure to share each bowl of Durian Softie Pie ($16)—toasted milk soft serve nestled on a bed of durian pudding, almond crust, white chocolate and gula melaka caramel sauce—that will easily feed four (or two, if you’re greedy) after a full meal. For lighter options, or to take home, the eye-catching Ugnuts (donuts that have been deemed ugly; though we think Fugnuts would have been a better name) are delicious despite their fugly appearances.
Drinks: You simply need a good selection of drinks to wash all that down. And thankfully, Bird Bird delivers in the form of fun beer slushies (for when you feel classy), craft brews by the bottle or on tap ($12-$16), wines and a selection of cocktails ($15). Those who come for brunch will also find something to love with espresso coffee made using beans from Common Man.
Why you’ll be back: Unlike catering to a CBD lunch and after-work crowd like Bird Bird did previously on Ann Siang, the Frankel Avenue reimagining is so much more accessible, anytime of the day, for good food, drinks and banter. The heartland-ish location also makes it an endearing opening for those living in the east side to pop in for a meal multiple times a week and not get bored thanks to the ever-evolving menu by creative genius Shen.