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Nekkid's burger (above) is an elegant, unadulterated example of what a burger should taste like.

For Japanese beef tasting, try the Toriyama Umami Wagyu A4 tenderloin (above).

A fine place for those big on beef

Two offbeat options offer a nice change from the same-old, same-old.
15/08/2016 - 05:50


Block 41 Malan Road,
Gillman Barracks
Tel: 6694 0940
Open for dinner only: 5pm to 12am (Mon to Thurs); 5pm to 2am (Fri & Sat). Closed on Sun.

THE Naked Finn has always been the go-to place for reliably fresh seafood, served with few frou-frous but you always get a consistently cooked meal.

For the past year or so it's been operating out of a bigger space up the road from its original plastic shack in Gillman Barracks, which was turned into Nekkid - a cocktail-centric hangout with a few bites on the side. After a spell of quirky local creations like sauteed squid guts that were a dead ringer for orh luak (oyster omelette), it now has a proper dining menu as Nekkid takes on a more serious approach to food.

With its big sister still the know-it-all of seafood, Nekkid leans towards beef, mainly from Japan. The burger is a must-have (S$15 or S$25) for its "secret" ratio of Australian grass-fed beef neck to Toriyama wagyu A4 and Aomori rice beef that does wonders for the juiciness of the meat patty. At 170g for the S$15 burger, the patty definitely leans Down Under, but the little bit of Nippon adds a depth of beefiness and tender mouth feel.

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With just simple lettuce and tomato between a light, airy toasted bun, it's an elegant, unadulterated example of what a burger should taste like. And before raving about the bun as the product of some enlightened hipster baker, be prepared for a quick jolt to earth - it's just a simple toasted supermarket burger bun.

The hotdog version works just as well as a toasty, butter-dripping holder for 90g of bouncy European lobster meat (S$31) lightly seasoned and dressed in creme fraiche. If you're going carb-free, the grilled octopus tentacle (S$18) is just a tad chewy but at least tastes like the real thing. Air-fried chicken wings (S$7) with its intense satay-lemongrass marinade are pretty addictive and so would be the cubes of barramundi (S$8) deep fried in a thick crunchy armour if they weren't so heavy-going. The wings come with a fragrant sweet chilli dip which goes better with the barramundi than its salty Thai dip.

If you're up for some serious Japanese beef tasting though, line up a Toriyama Umami Wagyu A4 tenderloin (S$78 for 150g) and an Aomori Rice Beef ribeye steak (S$20 per S$100g) for comparison. The former is melt-in-the-mouth tender despite it being a lean cut of tenderloin, with an extra level of flavour (umami) that comes from the way the cattle are reared on the Toriyama farm in Gunma prefecture. For a stronger beefy flavour without the marbling, the Aomori Rice Beef (don't mistake this as a beef rice bowl - it refers to rice-eating cattle) is drier and less enjoyable if you're used to wagyu, which the Aomori is not.

If you're big on beef - and it looks like more varieties are soon to be introduced - then this little Nekkid is a good spot to grow that knowledge.

Rating: 7


10: The ultimate dining experience

9-9.5: Sublime

8-8.5: Excellent

7-7.5: Good to very good

6-6.5: Promising

5-5.5: Average

Our review policy: BT pays for all meals at restaurants reviewed on this page. Unless specified, the writer does not accept hosted meals prior to the review's publication.