The buzz: Although not well known to the wider public, every food critic we’ve spoken to is mad about new Duxton arrival Dibs, an unpretentious restaurant serving up off-cuts and genre-defying dishes by chef Leong Khai Git.
The vibe: Sure, there’s bare concrete and unpolished dark wood everywhere, and the menus come on clipboards, but the space feels a lot more like a friendly diner than the latest hip hangout. There’s also a spacious bar upstairs.
The food: “Not for light eaters,” says Leong. Nor is it for the conservative. Happily, the menu undersells the creativity of the food. Veal marrow ($15) is amply topped with bonito; the chicken main ($25) turns out to be a (maybe a little too) clever take on chicken rice; the pork cheek ($28) comes tonkatsu-style on a bed of bright green pea puree. Leong really doesn’t half-ass it with his food. Flavors are bold and umami-heavy, yet complex. We think no dish showcases his flair better than the blistered Brussels sprouts ($10), which is sweet, nutty, salty, calamansi-tangy and jalapeno-kicky all at once.
The drinks: There’s a small selection of wines ($12/glass) and beers ($14), but skip these: The pan-Asian flavors here pair best with their flavored umeshus ($8). The Dibs team are self-confessed sake addicts, so their sake selection (from $40/bottle) is solid as well.
Why you’ll be back: Like us, because you’re hooked on Dibs’ playful plates. Plus—and here’s where the lack of self-promotion works in their favor—you’ll feel like an insider in the foodie circle.