(Written by Dora)
Tucked away in a quiet corner of Gillman Barracks, sits the Naked Finn. Having recently undergone a makeover to a more posh outpost, it’s main draw remains its simple yet tasty seafood fare that is also procured sustainably.
It being our fist visit, our friendly waiter recommended we try their dinner set menu ($138 for two). I found it commendable that all the wait staff were friendly and had incredible knowledge of the preparation and origin of their seafood.
All of the following dishes are part of the set menu.
Chilled Kangkong tossed in kalamansi juice, dried shrimp and fried shallot live oil
It was a refreshing starter and I thought it was a pretty unique way of serving kangkong. The shallots and shrimp added a nice crunch, though it felt a tad too sour for me after a few bites. My dining partner loved it though.
Wild caught yesso scallop, cured in fresh lemon juice, drizzled with EVOO
This dish I loved, a simple take on a scallop carpaccio. The lemon juice complemented the sweetness of the scallops. The olive oil and accompanying relish lent a subtle saltiness to the dish. Very balanced.
For all of the dishes, we were given an accompanying trio of sauces, which we were told to use sparingly to allow the seafood to shine for themselves. The sambal belachan was a standout!
Wild caught baby Indian squid, grilled with EVOO
The squids were simply grilled on a cast iron pan which meant crispy ends and a “chargrilled” aroma which I loved. The squids had a good bite but became a tad chewy after awhile. Pair this with a little sambal belachan for a spicy kick!
Piquant rice vermicelli, chilled, tossed in special sauces and topped with sakura ebi
This was the dish that surprised me the most, I’d never think I’d like chilled plain bee hoon this much. It was sublime- perfectly al dente, just the right amount of seasame fragrance and salinity. It was perfectly balanced with a squeeze of lime. The noodles were incredibly moreish. The sakura ebi added a touch of seafood but the star of the dish was certainly the spot on seasoning. We were told to ration this out between the seafood dishes but it was sooooo difficult to stop going for the noodles. So much so that we contemplated ordering another, but stopped ourselves as we had to save stomach space for the rest of the dishes too.
Wild caught New Zealand littleneck clam, flambéed in white wine, drizzled in fish sauce and fried shallot olive oil
The clams were perfectly juicy and flavourful. 4 pieces per person might not seem much but it was just the right amount to enjoy them clams without getting sick of the taste. The clams had a strong briny taste, oddly, some clams were saltier than others. But most of them were just the right amount of briny to bring back the taste of the sea, enhanced with the fragrant shallot oil.
Locally-farmed barramundi fillet from Kuhlbarra, pan fried in olive oil, finished with sea salt and EVOO
This is certainly the star dish of the night. The barramundi is sustainably farmed just off the coast of Singapore. I think it’s great that they’re highlighting local producers and promoting their seafood.
Check out the farm here: http://www.kuhlbarra.com/
The barramundi were perfectly fried, with a crisp skin and flaky moist meat. HANDS DOWN my favourite dish of the night. Each person had a sizeable piece, which made us very happy indeed. You’ve heard of people saying that when a fish is fresh, you cook it in the simplest way to highlight its freshness. The Naked Finn managed to do just that. Simply seasoned with salt and EVOO, all I could taste was its freshness. The side salad of cherry tomatoes helped to cut through some of the richness of the fish.
Farmed giant tiger prawn, grilled on sea salt, served with salted egg yolk dip
The last dish of the night, I was thinking “MEH how good can farmed prawns be?” The answer is VERY. The prawns on their own were incredibly fresh and were not overcook, so they were incredibly juicy. I loved sucking on the heads of the prawns- something you can only do if the prawns were fresh. The salted egg yolk dip provided a creamy, salty dimension to the prawns but light enough to not over shine the prawns, something I liked very much.
Overall, my dinner at the Naked Finn was one of the best so far this year. I highly commend their effort in only serving sustainably caught or farmed seafood, making sure that we minimize our damage to the marine environment- something we usually overlook or fail to consider when eating seafood.
Their philosophy of “less is more”, in terms of simple seasoning and cooking methods and letting the seafood shine is something that appeals to me very much. More often than not, the seafood dishes we eat are usually laden with heavy tasting sauces and seasoning, their take on simply cooked seafood is a nice alternative to our usual seafood fare.
The food is well portioned, just enough to make you satisfied but not stuffed and “jelak”. That being said, they do offer a limited dessert menu with chendol and interesting sorbet flavours. Alternatively, take a walk to their bar, Nekkid, 2 units down for drinks and snacks!
The Naked Finn
Block 39 Malan Road,
Closed on Sundays