Along the same row of shophouses as Broadcast HQ, inebriated Indian construction workers pee on the road and congregate outside bordellos, negotiating payment with transgender prostitutes. Vans, lorries and cargo trucks illegal park. Pedestrians disregard their lives, flout traffic rules and vie for space with vehicles on the tarmac. No other restaurants is situated in such a hipster location as Broadcast HQ.
There are more reasons why we call Broadcast HQ the Motherland of Hipsters.
Patina on a heavy metal door keeping the public eye from prying–hipster checklist checked!
In-house DJ curating four stations of music which is transmitted through wireless earphones, provided to patrons to check out the hipster music–hipster checklist checked!
Concrete uneven floor sloping at the sides of the room–check.
Bare, rough, raw brick wall–check.
A music shop within the restaurant-bar-club itself that sells vinyl records of hipster music–check.
Old tables and chairs that are refurnished–check.
Interior designed and decorated by artist Chua Koon Beng, brother of Spa Espirit Group founder Cynthia Chua. Arty farty-Check! (Spa Espirit Group also opens this restaurant, and owns 40 Hands, Skinny Pizza, Open Door Policy, House, Tiong Bahru Bakery and Tippling Club.)
Managed by one angmoh hipster manager and one Anglicized tall skinny Asian in skinny jeans: check!
Citrus Pork Chop ($28)
Drinks first: we had a bottled pale ale ($10), sour whiskey ($18) and two glass of sake peach Jelly ($10). Forgo the yucky sour whiskey and order the sake peach jelly, sweet, fragrant and fun with bits of jelly.
Claypot Louisiana Dirty Rice ($12)
The mains are called “Big Plates” (renaming mains into “big plates,” another hipster check) but they were in fact small. All the mains we had–St Louis-Styled Ribs (their speciality, $30), citrus pork chop ($28) and vegemite lamb rack ($38)–were extremely fragrant but slightly dry and tough, following the golden rule of hipsterism: posturing is more important than taste.
Mac and Cheese Bacon ($14)
A second rule of hipsterism: open to new ideas, fusion food. For instance, the pork chop was served on an opeh leaf, decorated with lime leaves–but for what? The purpose of using opeh leaf to wrap hor fun is to give hor fun a distinctive earthy scent but what is the point of using opeh leaf here?
Another American-Singaporean fusion food is Claypot Louisiana Dirty Rice ($12), which is about the size of half a bowl of rice. The rice had kaffir lime leaf and lap cheong, served in a claypot. Again, this was just presentation without making use of the claypot. Claypot rice is fragrant because the claypot has been used countless times but in this case, the rice was first cooked and then put in the claypot to be served. Which would be fine by us if the rice was “delish” as quoted by 8Days. But the rice was similar to dry fried rice that only bonded with its best friend, salt, having no depth and other flavors.
Smokey Fries ($9)
Another Hipster’s rule: you won’t fit into your skinny jeans if you eat. So if the “big plates” are small, then the “small plates” are miserable. To show how small the portions were, we placed a finger beside the smokey fries ($9), which tasted like fries from McDonald’s across the street.
From the small plates, we had Claypot Louisiana Dirty Rice ($12), Mac and Cheese Bacon ($14), and Smokey Fries ($9), all were bad.
Pear Cake ($9.50)
Orange Turnover Cake ($9.50)
The desserts were dry deserts.
Will we return? Surprisingly, the answer is yes. The decor is very edgy; the ambience was convivial and we love hipster music; and the service was good. We couldn’t get the attention of the servers sometimes but that was because we were seated at a corner. Once we got their attention, the servers were prompt and polite. Kudos to the skinny tall Asian manager, who was friendly without being sycophantic. He has an air of dignity and not condescension, a thin line between the two. On his own initiative, he even brought us up to the club on the second storey (opened on weekends) to have a look. So when we return, we will probably have dinner elsewhere first and come here to drink recklessly and nibble daintily like other hipsters.
We spent $227 for four or about $57 for one.
107-109 Rowell Road
T: 6292 4405
Rating: 3.102/5 stars