Stroll along the streets of Telok Ayer, where quaint shophouses stand in sharp contrast to the modern skyscrapers in the background. These charming spots house some delightful restaurants, where mouth-watering dinner ideas can be found.
From the moose wall mural painted by the head chef to cast-iron table legs repurposed from sewing machines and menus made by stamping words on kraft paper, the industrial furnishing of this hidden restaurant along Telok Ayer is unique with quirky personalised details. The Moosehead menu is just as alternative as the décor, featuring unconventionally tasty pairings like seared watermelon with feta and watercress, and chargrilled dates wrapped in bacon. With its ever-changing menu of innovative Mediterranean fare, curious fans make return visits to be treated to new creations. Don’t forget to end your meal with a drink—their bar stocks a fine selection of boutique and mainstream wines.
FYR Cycene Ond Drinc
This restaurant takes inspiration from caveman cooking, and its name translates to “Fire Kitchen And Drink” in Old English. Fyr, best known for cooking their food with lychee wood in a Josper charcoal grill, brings that reputation to their interior, too. Be sure to check out the whimsical fire-themed cartoon paintings depicting the etymology of fire on the walls. There are some appetizing must-try highlights on the menu, which offers European cuisine with Asian fusion. A well-loved favourite, the red snapper is deboned and served whole, made with plenty of sambal belachan (pounded shrimp paste).
The Market Grill
A meat and seafood lovers paradise, The Market Grill has a décor that’s a cross between a traditional butchery and a quaint diner. For an entertaining way to enjoy your meal, choose the bar seats by the open kitchen and watch as the chef works his magic. The presentation of their food is charmingly rustic, allowing the taste to take the spotlight. From the chargrilled whole lobster with garlic butter and a touch of lemon to the tender and juicy Black Angus beef bavette or the delicious (but perhaps slightly unconventional) frog legs, every dish you order surprises you with its toothsome flavour.
With an interior inspired by a blacksmith’s studio, this American smokehouse oozes rustic industrial-chic. The low-lit space has casual communal tables and a dedicated room for charcuterie, too. As its name suggests, Meat Smith is popular for their authentic BBQ meats, smoked with lychee and jarrah wood in smokers flown in from the United States. The smokehouse is also known for their infamous picklebacks—a shot of whiskey spiked with pickle juice.
Zott’s True Alps
This is the city’s premier restaurant serving traditional and novel interpretations of Alpine cuisine, a perfect cure when you’re looking for dinner ideas. The interior of Zott’s evokes a classy yet dark vibe, with elaborate art pieces along the brick walls, an eerily realistic cow portrait keeping bathroom visitors company, and a massive taxidermy ox (once the owner’s pet) guarding the open kitchen. Each dish is an exquisite gastronomic creation. The swordfish carpaccio consists of thinly sliced marinated swordfish served with what appears to be an apple, but reveals itself to be frozen apple purée that dissolves on your tongue.
As you walk into this restaurant, you are instantly transported to Italy’s country-side villa atmosphere—walls are adorned with vintage-looking mirrors and framed pictures. No Menu is a family-run Italian business headed by Michelin-starred chef Osvaldo Forlino, where guests are personally welcomed by one of his family members. Leave the dinner ideas in their hands, and you are sure to leave well-fed and delighted. Their signature “no menu” set is a distinctive concept. Simply state your eating preferences and let Forlino surprise you with more than 10 dishes. They also offer an a la carte menu for your liking. Truly a one-of-a-kind restaurant, everything from the foccacia to the burrata excites your palate with authentically Italian cookery.