Black Earth Restaurant

We’ve been somewhat perplexed by the number of new restaurants that have been popping up in the Joo Chiat and Katong neighborhood of late. After all, the crowd here is not exactly hip; in fact, they consist mainly of families and sleazy afterhours KTV types who we reckon would rather pay $3 for a plate of wanton mee than say, $20 for a piece of steak. So when we stumbled upon semi-fine dining restaurant Black Earth during one of our treks in the area, we simply had to investigate. It’s a cute little joint bathed in a black exterior, white interior walls and white chairs (sound familiar? Hint: Everything with Fries is nearby). Backed by a friendly service staff of foreign talents (our Filipino and Chinese servers have been trained well, it would appear), Black Earth can be quite the cozy, alternative joint to bring a “cheap” date—just make sure they come with a twisted sense of humor, too. Food is affordable enough, although it clearly lacked sophistication (hey, you get what you pay for). Apart from the homemade mushroom soup that was drool-worthy and a steal at $3.90, the rest of our meal was an utter letdown. Our starter of diced poached chicken with rosemary and avocado laced with mango dressing tasted like it was put together in a slap-dash; while our recommended signature mains of grilled Cajun king prawns and grilled rack of lamb reminded us of those we’ve had at weekend barbecues. We could hardly taste any real flavors and both dishes came with the exact same seasonal vegetables and garlic bread. The (overly) generous splosh of mint jelly vinaigrette on the lamb had more than seeped onto the vegetables by the time it got to us—not a pretty taste. After a dissatisfying meal, a dessert was clearly not in order. Alright, so we might pop by for a cup of coffee or a glass of wine if we’re in the area just to show our support for more indie establishments—but then again, there’s also the old-school coffee shop next door that sells cuppas for less than a dollar. You see our dilemma? (Open every first Mon of the month 11:30am-2:30pm, 6-10pm.)