“Taking you back to basics.”
By The Fire is a modern Western cuisine stall that is housed in Alibabar. The owners/chefs of By The Fire are none other than Alexander Chong & Immanuel Tee who were colleagues back in the day. If you find the latter’s name familiar, it is because Immanuel is also behind Immanuel French Kitchen over at Salut. The stall offers varying dishes of different cuisines, with a mixture of Japanese, Western & even Spanish cuisine.
The stall of By The Fire.
Interior of Alibabar.
The Hawker Bar
The entire concept behind Alibabar is pretty much similar to that of Salut over at Bukit Merah Lane, as well as Pigsfly Kitchen Bar. Alibabar operates as a coffeeshop by day before turning into a bar during the night. It’s quite refreshing to see an influx of these modern “Kopitiams” in Singapore, allowing for an added injection of various contemporary cuisines at a more affordable rate. (Music to everyone’s ears and/or wallets.)
The menu of By The Fire.
By The Fire offers up modern Western dishes, with a mixture of various other cuisines such as Japanese & Spanish. (It’s perhaps this reason which is why I can’t seem to put my finger on their exact cuisine, hence a general term of “modern Western”.) The food here is cooked by the “good ol’ wild flames” of the grill, hence the name “By The Fire”. They also make use of Binchōtan, a traditional charcoal of Japan that burns at a lower temperature but for a longer period, ensuring that their grilled dishes retain the most flavour.
Similar to Immanuel French Kitchen, the dishes here are of restaurant-like quality but priced at a much lower rate. Mains are priced between the 10-20 dollar mark. No service fees or GST either. Hurrah.
Scotch Egg ($6.90)
Contrary to its name, scotch eggs do not contain scotch. (Something that I did not realize until AFTER a few days later.)
Scotch Eggs are actually just hard-boiled egg wrapped in meat, coated in bread crumbs before being baked or deep-fried.
By far one of the most popular dishes at By The Fire (It’s all over Instagram. Bugger.), these scotch eggs were simply divine. The eggs were cooked right before they are fully hard boiled, giving the yolk a slight runny texture. (Delicious!) They are also housed on a bed of red cabbage coleslaw which was a perfect complement to the dish. Recommended.
(Just a funny anecdote, while my friend liked the dish as well, he commented – “For $6.90, I can buy & cook for you a dozen eggs.”)
Keystone’s Seaweed Pasta ($8.90)
Angel Hair Aglio Olio, Shio Kombu, Sakura Ebi
This is where the Japanese cuisine comes in. Considered to be their signature pastas, it was a no-brainer to try this.
My friend really loved this dish. The ratio of ingredients were just right; not overwhelming each other. Pasta was cooked Al Dente, which was fantastic. The dish was really flavourful & not too oily as well! (And that price! SO CHEEP!)
Squid Ink Pasta ($12.90)
Sea Urchin Cream, Grilled Hokkaido Scallops
Being the greedy bugger that I am, I couldn’t stop at just one pasta dish. Not to mention Hokkaido Scallops! I’m a sucker for them, hence I decided to order this as well.
The squid ink is mixed with sea urchin cream, which is why the dish isn’t as black as other squid ink pastas. The two sauces worked great together; the cream balancing the squid ink just perfectly. Scallops were awesome! (There’s only two scallops, hence sharing with two people would be just right. If you’re a party of three, well…. one of you can suck it. No scallop for you.)
Grilled Pork Jowl ($15.40)
Confit Pork Cheek, Japanese Curry Spice, Potato & Pumpkin Salad
Confit. Pork. Cheek. YES, OMG! I shouldn’t have to write any thing else, order it now. Order. Now.
While the quantity of the pork cheek may look slightly underwhelming at first glance, after you take a bite, all is forgiven.
The pork jowl is extremely soft & it will pretty much melt in your mouth in a delicious mixture of spice & pork fat. The Japanese Curry Spice also gives the dish a slight spicy kick. (It’s bearable, though I did find it to be slightly too spicy as me & spicy don’t mix.. but it was so good!) The potato & pumpkin salad was extremely addictive, bathed in some delicious orange dressing which was intertwined with the oils of the pork cheek. Highly recommended.
(Of course, this is the sort of dish that is so good & rich that if you eat too much of it, you’ll probably puke your guts out. Or send you into a downward spiral because your diet has just been ruined.)
Grilled Hangar Steak ($19)
Charred Onglet Steak (200g), Shallot Confit, Crispy Garlic Potato
Hangar steaks is actually a cut of beef that is prized for its rich flavour without the hefty price tag. Having seen this on Instagram & being a huge red meat man, I just HAD to order this as well.
My friend & I thought the steak was really good. Though we ordered it medium, it turned out more medium well which made the meat less tender. Eating the soft Pork Jowl did not help in comparison to the texture of the steak & it made it seem more chewy. Nonetheless, it was still a good piece of beef & the crispy garlic potato was a great side for the dish. (Though it has nothing compared to the potato & pumpkin salad that comes with the Pork Jowl. THAT was addictive.)
Baa, baa, black sheep. Have you any wool?
(That’s stuck in my head for some reason.)
Worth A Visit/Revisit?
I really like the concept of these modern coffeeshops. It adds a new dimension of cuisine & variety to the wide range of food places here in Singapore, while keeping things towards the affordable side. The modern Western dishes over at By The Fire definitely impressed me, not only with their presentation, but also with their bursting flavour. If you have not tried By The Fire yet, I highly recommend a visit, perhaps during the night where you can enjoy a drink from the bar as well!
BY THE FIRE
125 East Coast Road, Singapore 428810
(Nearest train station: Dakota)
Contact: 9185 4824
Mon – Fri: 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
6:00 pm – 10:30 pm
Sat – Sun: 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm