5 Minutes With… John Kunkel Of The Bird Southern Table & Bar

Digest

July 8, 2017 | BY Dudi Aureus

The Bird has landed at Marina Bay Sands, and its founder and CEO tells us why it should be next on your must-try list.

John Kunkel, CEO of 50 Eggs Inc, is a busy man. Aside from juggling three restaurants in the US (Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, Swine Southern Table & Bar, and Spring Chicken), he recently made his forray into Asia with the opening of The Bird Southern Table & Bar at the Marina Bay Sands. 

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“Singapore is an exciting destination and I am honoured to bring our family recipes to Marina Bay Sands,” Kunkel said, adding how he wants to offer the true Southern experience, complete with hearty food, classic country tunes and a warm and lively ambience.

He also talked about how The Bird will add to Singapore’s vibrant dining scene, and even included his personal recommendations from the menu.

What do you think of Singapore’s dining landscape?
John Kunkel (JK) Singapore has an amazing food scene with everything to offer, from hawker centres to casual restaurants to fine dining establishments. I can’t wait to see how The Bird will fit into it with our unique Southern fare, and how we’ll contribute to the progressive F&B scene.

Why Southern food?
JK It’s rooted in different cultures and cuisines (and) has become an (American) culinary staple. More importantly, Southern food is true comfort food that brings family and friends together.

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How is The Bird similar to your US outlets?
JK We wanted to bring the original Yardbird Southern Table & Bar experience to Singapore, so the restaurant will not be too different when it comes to the menu, ambience and drinks.

We’ve imported rare ryes, whiskeys and bourbons for our menu; moreover, we’ve imported Southern ingredients, so what diners get is the true essence and flavours.

And how is it different?
JK We like to keep things interesting and stretch our team’s creativity, so we come up with seasonal items to complement our regular menu. We also added locally-inspired dishes exclusive to Singapore, like the Low Country Laksa.

What are some of your personal favourites?
JK I’d go for the deviled eggs topped with smoked trout roe; the fried green tomato BLT with housemade pimento cheese and a piece of smoked pork belly; and of course—our fried chicken! 

It’s a secret family recipe that we haven’t tweaked, and that’s what makes it so good. We start with a 27-hour brine before we dredge the chicken in seasoned flour and pressure-fry until golden brown and perfect.

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Tell us more about the bar programme:
JK We have been rated one of the top bourbon bars in the US since our inception, and we want to bring that to Singapore.  Before we opened, many of the rare and unique bourbons were not available, and we went the extra mile to import every single one of these rare selections. I can say that our rye, bourbon and whiskey collection is second to none.

Southern food will not be complete without…
JK Grits and fried chicken.

The Bird, B1-07 (Galleria Level) & L1-82, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, 6688 9959, thebirdreservations@marinabaysands.com

Photos: Marina Bay Sands