Dive-y and iconoclastic diner Underdog Inn combines nose-to-tail dining, grungy art and a swathe of smashing draft cocktails for a seriously good time.
Once a promising trend in Singapore’s dining scene, nose-to-tail eating in the Lion City seems to have largely disappeared. Sure, a few nose-to-tail dishes remain on some more adventurous menus. But restaurants that once fully embraced the love for maximising and turning every inch of the animal carcass into lip-smacking creations – such as modern Spanish restaurant Dehesa and contemporary Australian eatery Salted & Hung, among others – have sadly and quietly closed over the years.
But one chef looks to revive the trend – Pete Smit, the executive chef of newly-opened Underdog Inn, tucked in a speakeasy manner on a back alley behind Amoy Street. The Australian native, who’ve honed his chef knife skills in restaurants across Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom – as well as at Adrift by David Myers and No Sleep Club right here in Singapore – has collaborated with the folks behind award-winning cocktail bars Sago House and Low Tide to open his own restaurant.
And on its menu? A goodly number of nose-to-tail dishes.
Chef Pete sources whole animals from an Australian meat purveyor, rendering them down into different parts and cuts for a variety of applications. Meat cuts that can be more unfamiliar to diners, for example. Or any number of house-made sausages and smoked meats.
Dishes rotate on an almost daily basis depending on what Chef Pete can get his hands on, with a core few that will always feature. During our visit there was Lamb Tartare, with juicy hand-chopped lamb tossed and held together by cured egg yolk and a smoky emulsion of some sort, and creamily unctuous Duck Liver Parfait. Worthy of note is the Pig Head Scrumpet, with hand-picked brawn turned into an absolutely scrumptious minced croquette.
Raging carnivores will enjoy the Smoked Beef Neck, served with a side of pickled fennel, kimchi-style. Or a Pork Loin that’s seared to perfection. Those who prefer seafood can consider the Green Lip Mussels, smothered in a whey butter sauce.
Chef Pete’s also a culinary genius when it comes to fermentation. So be sure to go for the ubiquitous-sounding House Pickles; those crunchy, tangy little bites will whet your appetite.
Where Underdog Inn stands out from its contemporaries? The diner offers 12 draught cocktails and six beers on a rotational basis. But theirs are no ordinary draft cocktails. The diner draws on its Sago House and Low Tide links for cocktails that range from comfortingly classic to rebelliously experimental.
Like your more classic cocktails? There’s the Gran Torino for those who are partial to their Negroni variations, and likewise a choice of Martini that range from any kind of dry to dirty. But there are more fun drinks. Highballer is a highball that’s refreshingly tangy from the use of raspberry shrub, or Black & Yellow if you like a fun modern twist on the Espresso Martini. Like your drinks punchy? Look no further than God vs Law, an agave-based creation that sounds deceptively benign but is more than likely to knock you out.
As you look around its grungy interiors – those who’ve been here before will still recognise some semblance of Burger Joint Singapore or New York Burger Bar that came before – it can be hard to reconcile that Underdog Inn may one day inherit the mantle as hero of nose-to-tail eating here in Singapore.
Will this underdog – and the cuisine it champions – finally have its day? Only time will tell.
Address 115 Amoy Street Singapore 069935 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 5pm to 12am Wednesdays to Sundays; closed on Mondays and Tuesdays
Tel (65) 9699 4829
Reservations book here