Towering former NBA star Michael Jordan and eccentric celebrity chef Bill Kim may seem an unlikely pairing, but the crowds clamouring for front row seats at their hot new eatery BellyQ certainly suggest the team is a winning one. With its inventive take on contemporary Pan-Asian fare, and luxe-industrial fitout featuring horse-printed glass panels, birch plywood and lashings of hand-stitched leather, the BellyQ lineup well and truly sets the stage for what is an all-star foray into high-end barbecue dining.
Early diners get the choice of eight first come, first served tables equipped with Japanese cooktops and ceiling-mounted ventilators (for smoke-free grilling), while later groups can sip sake or keg-stored wine and let the kitchen staff do their thing. Whether chef or self-cooked, must-tries include banana leaf-wrapped salmon and BellyQ beef, with smaller Belly Bites like crispy tofu, balsamic edamame and olive oil poached shrimp in red Thai curry sauce for a tasty warm up. The “One of a Kind” menu’s tea-smoked duck and braised lamb shank are both served with a side of steamed Chinese buns, while the signature double-smoked bacon comes courtesy of a wood-burning oven, with kimchi pancakes on the side. Finish with decadent Vietnamese cinnamon donuts, vanilla soft serve and huckleberry jam, then retire with one full but happy Belly. Slam dunk!