The Naked Finn (Singapore)

Setting

The facade of the Naked Finn

Former IT executive, Ken Loon, who co-founded the now defunct Klee and one-time pop-up cocktail sensation (The Naked Finn at A Curious Tepee) with Willy Tay, is making a splash in the F&B scene again. This time, it’s via a cool shack-like space with tin-roofed shelter and see-through plastic sheet walls.

Named for the main character in the 1998 movie, Great Expectations (it could well have been named for the bare-boned fin fare that it serves), The Naked Finn debuted in the Gillman Barracks neighbourhood late last year with little fanfare. While it first opened in a little shack, the restaurant has since moved to a bigger space just steps away from its old location.

What to expect
 

It’s all about the seafood served with  chilled bee hoon

The bill of fare at The Naked Finn is quite simply seafood; not just any seafood but those painstakingly sourced from mostly offbeat locations (as Loon rightly points out, he focuses on ‘sourcing’ rather than ‘saucing’) served minimally embellished with nary a drizzle of sauce (save for the butter or olive oil that the seafood is cooked in) nor a morsel of condiment, saving all the bells and whistles for the star of the show: the pristine seafood.

In case you’re planning to zip over to knock back dozens of fresh oysters, bear in mind that these mollusks are not on the menu (yet). Instead, you’ll find a mouth-watering array of crustacean and fin fare from the most unlikely sources – think India and Africa. For your convenience, Loon has bundled the most popular items in the set for two (7 courses including bee hoon, S$158++) and the set for four (10 courses including bee hoon, S$288++). While these sets are made complete with greens (via mesclun toss and/or kang kong salad) and starch (via the chilled bee hoon), you can always supplement from the a la carte menu with more fish and shellfish. Not that it’s necessary.

Grilled Indian baby squids with sea salt and extra virgin olive oil


Lightly grilled diver-caught Atlantic scallop served shell-on complete with roe
Pan-fried barramundi fillet – needs nothing more than the accompanying sea salt and extra virgin olive oil

From the set for two, standouts are aplenty and these include glorious baby Indian squids grilled with sea salt and extra virgin olive oil that beams with deep char notes; generously-sized diver-caught Atlantic scallops lightly-grilled, then served shell-on complete with roe; pristine hunks of pan-fried barramundi fillet that needs nothing more than the accompanying sea salt and extra virgin olive oil; and the sheer sweet flesh of the not-too-voluptuous African lobsters grilled naked, with nothing but unsalted butter.

NZ littleneck clams in an underwhelming barramundi stock

That said, we have minor quibbles but none big enough to deal a deathblow. The New Zealand littleneck clams, some of the plumpest we’ve savoured, are doused in an anaemic fish soup that lacks shellfish panache. Similarly, the seemingly delicious chilled kang kong salad crowned with fried shallots in an invigorating calamansi juice slumps flat on the palate with a single dimensional – tart – taste.

 

Still, The Naked Finn is going down in our books as one of the year’s coolest finds (so far). With such fresh and unpretentious seafood served in lush surrounds, the only thing we need is a glass of cocktail to wash it all down and The Naked Finn has just the fix.

39 Malan Road Gillman Barracks, Singapore 109 442; +65-6694 0807; nakedfinn.com

© Evelyn Chen 2013
Please note that the reviews published on this blog are sometimes hosted. I am under no obligation to review every restaurant I’ve visited. If I do, the reviews are 100% my own.
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