Big D, aka Chef Damian D’Silva, drew considerable flak when, after cooking in many a fine dining restaurant (his most recent venture was Soul Kitchen in Purvis Street), he decided to run a hawker stall, instead of moving on to yet another fine dining establishment, after Soul Kitchen was forced to close.
He moved to Bedok South to start Big D’s Grill, operating out of a coffee shop and serving both quality Western food as well as his signature Eurasian-Peranakan dishes. Well, West-siders rejoice, because as of a few weeks ago Big D’s Grill has moved to Holland Village – specifically the same coffee shop as the famous XO fish bee hoon. W’s friends L and B told us about this on Saturday, and we promptly headed there for dinner on Sunday.
The coffee shop is filled with XO fish bee hoon regulars, but dishes were being regularly churned out at Big D’s while we were there so while they’re not packed at the moment, they seem to be doing fairly steady business. I guess it’s only a matter of time before his regulars find their way here, and he gains new regulars in the West.
The menu is quite streamlined; there are 4 pastas, a selection of steaks (including Angus beef and Wagyu), Kurobuta pork and a few Peranakan dishes. We ordered the crab meat linguine ($10.90) and the anchovy pasta ($17.90).
The crab linguine is a very good deal. They’re very generous with the crab meat, the pasta is done just so, and the sauce is very well balanced. I daresay it’s comparable to the crab meat tagliatelle from Da Paolo.
Objectively, the anchovy pasta tastes really good, albeit quite salty (or maybe because of it?). Basically it’s a very good version of an aglio olio. My only problem with it is that I can’t quite justify why it’s $7 more than the crab meat pasta. Maybe they use fresh imported anchovies or something, but while it was tasty, I don’t think the end product really justified the price.
Next time I think I’ll try either one of the steaks (the fries looked really good – the big fat kind), or one of his Peranakan specialties. Apparently he does takeaway as well – just call with your order about 15 minutes before pick-up.
Update: I've since tried the Sambal Buah Keluak here. It's not what I expected - it's not the typical buah keluak with gravy, chicken or pork pieces. Instead it's very finely minced pork mixed with neat buah keluak flesh. Literally like a sambal which is served with plain white rice and some pickled tomato and shallot.
Yes it was unexpected but after getting over the initial surprise, this really grew on me. The sambal is very moreish, as you would expect from buah keluak, but also had hints of sweetness and coconut, which is I guess Big D's Eurasian spin on this classic Peranakan dish. A says: Wow, this buah keluak I can actually eat.
The portion sizes aren’t gigantic for the price and I really don’t think the anchovy pasta is worth the price. But I’ll definitely be back for the crabmeat linguine. I can’t see myself ordering anything else though.
Big D’s Grill
Block 46 Holland Drive