FOOD REVIEW: Tipsy Flamingo — “The famed fried beef ribs is peak indulgence. Get it.”

·Lifestyle Contributor
·5-min read
Interior (PHOTO: Tipsy Flamingo)
Interior (PHOTO: Tipsy Flamingo)

SINGAPORE — I must admit I was a bit surprised that Tipsy Flamingo decided to bring Singaporean artiste Pierre Png onboard as a partner-slash-consultant for Tipsy Collective’s newest outpost at Raffles City, taking over the space once occupied by Marche. In a world where local celebrity presence and recognition pales compared to more internationally renowned names, Tipsy’s move can be thought of as peculiar by certain quarters. Especially when they didn’t need such a big name as a stamp of assurance in the other three Tipsy hyphenates for those outfits to be considered a roaring success. Still, better Pierre Png than anyone else, I reckon. He’s classic, dashingly good looking, and almost as household a name as Ya Kun Kaya Toast.

Inside, Tipsy Flamingo is modelled after a seaside cabana, with tables in a shade of pink, neon lights on walls, rattan chairs, a ‘pool’ area, and a sizable alfresco that is great for when the December winds blow. This mise en scene, of course, goes defiantly against the design aesthetics of restaurants today, eschewing clean lines and soft, wood tones and embracing all things bold, colourful, and bright. It’s to be expected given that their mascot for this outfit is a pink flamingo dressed in a Hawaiian shirt, floral wreath on its head, holding a glass bottle of beer for a touch of day drinking. It’s kitsch, and to Tipsy’s credit, it’s okay.

Part of why I’m somewhat forgiving of this whole celebrity endorsement is because the food is great. But that’s more in part due to one talented Group Executive Chef, Alvin Tan, whose path I crossed back in 2018 when he was going through a mild identity crisis at a restaurant doling out plates of fine dining Chinese cuisine. We met again in 2019 when Tipsy Penguin at Tampines opened, and he served the best Mac and Cheese this mouth has ever tasted. Fast forward two years, and it’s hard to miss Chef Alvin’s flavour forward approach to food everywhere I look.

XO Carrot Cake (PHOTO: Zat Astha/Yahoo Lifestyle SEA)
XO Carrot Cake (PHOTO: Zat Astha/Yahoo Lifestyle SEA)

It starts with a plate of XO Carrot Cake (S$12++). Yes, yes, I know. Twelve dollars for a carrot cake? Have you forgotten we’re in a pandemic now? Calm down, Steve. Yes, the price might give you a heart attack faster than the calories in this would, but for this version, feel free to take my twelve dollars.

What it is is a white carrot cake cooked in XO Sauce and served with garlic crumbs, small pools of sakura Ebi, and homemade chilli. Honey, this has my name all over it. It's incredibly tasty with lots of texture and a melange of flavours that pay homage to the OG. The radish cubes are thickly cut and hide under a blanket of eggs. When eaten together, it makes for such an excellent mouthfeel. Tipsy has this in their other outlets, too.

Ebi Katsu Sando (PHOTO: Zat Astha/Yahoo Lifestyle SEA)
Ebi Katsu Sando (PHOTO: Zat Astha/Yahoo Lifestyle SEA)

There’s also an Ebi Katsu Sando (S$18++) which, as I studied the plate before me, is one of those foods that look better when styled for Instagram. Sandwiched between toasted brioche is a chunky breaded king prawn in spicy mentaiko, cabbage, and tobiko. It’s… ordinary. As far as Sando goes, this works though its flavours can get rather monotonous after a while. I mean, if you’re going to make Katsu Sando, make Katsu Sando, I say. Ordinary just don’t and won’t cut it.

Baked Miso Codfish with Pumpkin puree (PHOTO: Zat Astha/Yahoo Lifestyle SEA)
Baked Miso Codfish with Pumpkin puree (PHOTO: Zat Astha/Yahoo Lifestyle SEA)

The Baked Miso Codfish with Pumpkin puree (S$34++) was something I expected to like when I read the menu. There’s no better white fish I can think of than Atlantic codfish to mop up the red miso marinade with ease while still retaining the flaky freshness of the fish. There’s a slight spice in the pumpkin puree that balances the presentation quite boldly. The broccoli lollipop is a cute touch with the Japanese rice puffs on top for textural variation.

But you all know I’m here for the Fried Beef Ribs (S$60++ for 650g)—a hero item splashed all over social media with some lauding it as the next best thing since sliced bread. Those people are not wrong.

Fried Beef Ribs (PHOTO: Zat Astha/Yahoo Lifestyle SEA)
Fried Beef Ribs (PHOTO: Zat Astha/Yahoo Lifestyle SEA)

It’s a hulking piece of Beef Ribs that have been sous-vide for 16 hours, coated in seasoned bread crumbs, and then fried. It’s peak indulgence, and if you come here having this and the XO Carrot Cake, I do hope you’ve been fasting all week long. It comes with some salt flakes at the side, which I insist you sprinkle over the entire thing. Frying these ribs locks in all that juicy, beefy flavours and help keep the meat tender. There’s a generous amount of fats in this, which I lapped up with nary a hesitance. The gremolata it comes served with was meant to cut through the fried-fatty-beefy goodness, but in some ways failed due to a lack of flavour and acidity. Either make it better, Tipsy Flamingo or toss it. Beef deserves better, I say.

Burnt Cheesecake (PHOTO: Zat Astha/Yahoo Lifestyle SEA)
Burnt Cheesecake (PHOTO: Zat Astha/Yahoo Lifestyle SEA)

Desserts come by way of a Burnt Cheesecake (S$10++) which, on the day I went, looked and tasted like it had seen better days. Due to it not being labelled Basque, I would forgive the lack of a gooey centre. But this char on this iteration is a tad heavy-handed such that it’s apparent from the first bite. Other than that, it’s light and creamy, though not the same cheesecake from other Tipsy hyphenates I’ve had before.

Perhaps it was an off day in the kitchen for this unfortunate cake, which means that I have to come back and see if this oversight is merely incidental. Not that I mind it one bit, of course. Chef Alvin and his culinary prowess will always have a special place in my heart, and thankfully, one inadequately presented cheesecake is not about to change that any time soon.

Tipsy Penguin

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252 North Bridge Road, Raffles City Shopping Centre #01-17A, S179103

Mon to Sun: 12nn – 10.30pm

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