It's been a while since I was last at The Naked Finn, a cheeky moniker that's a brassy word play on the way the restaurant treats its seafood. Featuring seafood sourced from all over the world, rigorously tested and researched to oblivion, The Naked Finn aims to serve only the sweetest and freshest. In that aspect, their almost scientific approach to their food reminds me of Heston Blumenthal's perfectionist style.
Since dining almost 2 years ago, The Naked Finn has moved to new premises, barely 100 meters away from their old haunt, which is, incidentally, now its sister bar. Its greenhouse aesthetic is maintained, so you get an expansive view of the lush surrounds of Gillman Barracks. It's a terrific escape from the hustle and bustle of city living. Be sure to make reservations though, it was a busy full house on a Friday afternoon when we popped by for lunch.
To give credence to the seafood, cooking styles are deliberately kept
delicate, and the quality of the seafood is highlighted in all its
natural glory unfettered by heavy seasonings. If you thought that read bland food, you'd be mightily mistaken. The food here is hearty and soulful, and robust with flavour. It's just that when the ingredient's that fresh and sweet, very little needs to be done to it.
A must try, the Grilled Indian Baby Squid ($8) was seasoned simply with a flick of sea salt and slick of olive oil. Soft with a hint of chewy bite and specks of crunchy caramelisation, this was just sweet succulent perfection.
A recent addition to their lunch menu, the Beef Burger ($23) appeared,at first blush, disappointingly minuscule. But (some, not all) good things come in small packages, and this turned out an indulgent, finger-licking-good powerhouse. The decadent grass-fed dry-aged Japanese wagyu patty, dripping with juices, came together with the Boston lettuce, American cheese, and special sauce brilliantly. Just be sure to get double (or triple) orders of this if you're hungry. Straight-cut fries and a balsamic-vinegared mesclun salad sided this.
There are a couple of meat dishes to pacify the meat-lovers, like the aforementioned burger, and the Secreto Iberico Pork ($20) grilled on a cast-iron griddle for maximum lusciousness, and served with crisp mesclun, piquant vermicelli, and a mellow red wine thyme jus.
Another popular mainstay, the pan-fried Barramundi Fillet ($20) was a superb interplay on textures, with paper-crisp skin and moist flaky meat. This was seasoned with olive oil and finished with sea salt, accompanied by a mound of blanched kangkong tossed in kalamansi juice, dried shrimp, and shallot oil, and vermicelli oiled in sesame and fried garlic bits, both served refreshingly chilled
A lunchtime-only special, the Hae Mee Tng ($25) was a well-researched and heavily-tested concoction of farmed giant tiger prawns, Salmon Creek Farms pork belly, in a blended soup of 9 prawn species and simmered pork bones. This was rich and sweet but not cloying, as The Naked Finn resists the addition of MSG or sugar. Get the vermicelli for a traditional option, or the Japanese somen for a twist on the classic.
The Fish Soup ($30) a delicate broth thick with fat slices of Indian threadfin, deep-fried yam, Chinese cabbage, silky beancurd, cherry tomatoes, was delicate but lacking in depth. Notwithstanding the exorbitant pricetag, the local hawker rendition at Angel Horse is much more worthwhile.
A daily special that I'm hoping will make it to the permanent menu, was the Mozambique Lobster Risotto ($35), which was glorious!! It was rich but nuanced, and brimming with the incredible goodness of sweet seafood. So. Freaking. Good.
Don't miss out on their desserts, all refreshingly light, and homemade. The Homemade Naked Chendol ($13), with coconut sorbet, was sublime.
That said, my favourite of the lot was the Homemade Gula Melaka Sorbet with Sea Salt ($10), a twist on the flavour du jour, salted caramel. An absolute must-try.
For a tangy lift, the Homemade Sour Plum Sorbet ($10) with osmanthus jelly is recommended.
The Naked Finn
Blk 39 Malan Road
Tel: 6694 0807
Open Mondays to Thursdays from 12noon to 3pm for lunch; 6pm to 10pm for dinner;
Fridays & Saturdays from 12noon to 3pm for lunch; 6pm to 10.30pm for dinner
Closed on Sundays