COCONUTS HOT SPOT — Adding on to the hype at the Keong Saik Road enclave (not that the buzzy nightlife area needs it) is Chikin, the second venture by the people behind Cantonese tapas bar, Sum Yi Tai. Hailed as Singapore’s first Szechuan yakitori bar, the over-the-top bright and bold concept combines Japanese yakitori with the spicy flavors of Szechuan BBQ.
Settling into its three-storey shophouse splashed with Japanese pop art murals and neon-lit walls, Chikin features a long bar and an open kitchen on the ground floor, a lounge area on the second, and an open karaoke and dining attic on the third (it’s a reservation-only private party space).
As you can tell from the name, the menu’s all about chicken here. Thirteen parts of the bird — including the thigh, wing, heart, gizzard, tail, windpipe, skin, and cartilage — are slathered with a Szechuan mala (peppercorn) sauce and grilled using binchotan — Japanese charcoal that doesn’t generate smoke.
Skewers start from $3, and you can stick with original Szechuan or opt for less spicy versions if you can’t take the heat. Other meat and veggie options such as beef tongue, quail egg, foie gras, shiitake mushroom and baby corn are also available, with platters of 10 and 15 offered at $30 and $40 respectively.
If meat sticks aren’t enough to fill your belly, order a bunch of Izakaya-style dishes to share, such as the chilled Japanese sea snails in Szechuan spice ($14), unagi garlic fried rice with fish roe ($12), and thinly-sliced salmon cartilage in spicy sauce ($9).
While you’re there, sip on any of the 20 different cocktail concoctions ($19 each; $15 during happy hour) for a boozy high. Signatures include the Lychee Sake-tini with a touch of grapefruit and lemon; the Sumoki Raisin made of whisky, sherry and raisins; and the Sake Sangria with a mix of sake, gin, pineapple, honeydew, watermelon and grape.
Chikin is at 6 Bukit Pasoh Rd, 6221-3670. Mon-Fri 5pm-1am, Sat 6pm-1am.