It is increasingly in the trend – unconventional set-up, alternative culture, and creative creations of menu items all in one. In my opinion, Moosehead Kitchen-Bar fits the bill just nicely. Located just across Telok Ayer MRT at the junction of Telok Ayer Street and Cross Street, this 15-month old kitchen-bar was started by father and son, Glen and Daniel Ballis. The elder of the two has had experience in running several restaurants in Russia, and is the man, together with Chef Manel Valero, who curated the menu for this hidden gem. The younger of which, who also has experience in the industry, is currently running the show here.
Once you are in, take a look around and absorb the ambience. Look closer, and you will see that, interestingly, sewing machine legs, wardrobe doors, flea-market wall rack are some of the items that make up the pieces of furniture. Samantha Lo, Singapore’s very own street artist, has also chipped in the decoration of the walls; the murals of Peranakan tiles and closed-circuit TVs. Cuisine revolves around mediterranean, with influences from around the world (as evident in the post below). The menu is constantly changing with a couple of mainstays, and of course, a bar would suggest a drink list, here, furnished with wines from new world, Australia and numerous boutique labels.
Believe it or not, the majestic moosehead on the wall is painted by none other than the multi-talented Chef Manel. After a visual tour of the kitchen-bar, we were off with some starters to kickstart the night of food.
Bacon-wrapped Chargrilled Dates ($8++) :: Not a very conventional sweet and savoury combinaton is the edge-charred dates wrapped by a bacon done the similar manner, resulting in quite a surprisingly harmonised and well-balanced flavour; not overly salty as usually expected from bacon, and the dates tasted naturally sweet. If it ever gets too overwhelming in your mouth, the roast garlic aioli and pine nuts are here to counterpoise that.
Asparagus in Garlic Miso ($14++) :: I usually don’t take asparagus, but this was exceptional. Garlic miso was light but sufficient for flavours on the asparagus. Having said that, it would also mean that there isn’t the strong asparagus taste, if that is in fact what floats your boat. A pretty reasonable dish, but I for one am not ready to pay that steep for an asparagus starter.
Crispy Spiced Pig Ears ($16++) :: On the other hand, I would much rather top an additional $2 to get a higher stack of crispy spiced pig ears to munch on (maybe with beer) whilst waiting for the rest of the main courses to arrive. I’ve had pig ears but never by preparation of deep-fried. It was rather interesting – crunchy and crispy; nothing really, to suggest that you are eating pig ears. And when they say spiced, they really mean it, and can come across as too spicy for most. But I love it the way it is. This plate comes free with order of a bucket of 5 Spanish Pilsner Moritz at $40.
When it comes to simple enjoyment, such as a classic pairing of bread (Turkish Bread ($8++)), cheese and tomato (Grilled Vine Tomatoes ($14++)), I absolutely am a sucker of it. However, to make the pairing happen would cost you $40, which for me, is way too pricey, even if it splits two-way. I must say though, the individual dishes put up a good fight to promote their quality, because they were all up to par in their own way. I especially love the Burratina ($18++) with its smooth, delicate, milky-mousse-y texture.
Grilled Avocado ($18++) :: Another unique creation out the kitchen of Moosehead comes the Grilled Avocado, accompanied with ajoblanco, puffed quinoa and salmon roe. The resultant taste is one that is rich from the roe, creamy and smooth from the avocado, and grainy from the puffed quinoa. It is beautifully plated, and I like that it is a very light combination.
Chicken Bulgogi ($18++) :: The mains were slowly being introduced, with Korean-inspired Chicken Bulgogi. I found it rather commoner-tasting and there was really nothing to shout about. Portion wasn’t the biggest too, considering the price tag. It comes with pickled shitake and horseradish miso.
But when it comes to its fellow meat counterpart, I was deeply impressed. The Kobe Beef Onglet ($34++) that came filled with teriyaki mushrooms, sweet potato and bonito was well-executed. The meat was tender, retained its moisture, and still possessed a slight chewiness characteristic to it which I thought made it substantial. Portion was rather justifiable weighing the quality of the meat and the price. The same can be said for its Chargrilled Secreto Iberico ($28++). If you like that kind of texture as described above, go for the beef. If you are more for a firmer, more intense meat flavour (in particular porky) and longer-chewing consistency, opt for the latter. This board of meat comes with tomato wasabi. It was pure indulgence for both the meat, and I will have no qualms placing an order for them again on my next visit.
Chocolate & Peanut Butter Tart ($14++) :: Nothing can go wrong with these two flavours. And indeed, nothing went wrong. It was unsurprisingly rich, thick and sore throat-inducing, but it was still so heavenly everyone dug in without giving a thought on the consequences. For a classic tart though, $14 may seem a little harsh. Continue reading; the following dessert is, in my opinion, far worth trying than this mainly thanks to its creativity and uniqueness.
Chili Pineapple Popsicle ($14++) :: Arguably one of the best dishes of the night belongs to this art piece of dessert. Imagine, though it can be challenging seeing its unprecedented awesomeness, sweet, tangy and sharp-spicy, cold popsicle, slowly melts in your mouth, together with the unmistakable rich and sweet gula melaka frozen foam. Both the sweetness lasted a short while with the melty nature of the sources, but the chocolate soil aids in extending the lifespan of the sweetness in your mouth. It is addictive because while you are enjoying the sweetness, the lingering but ending spiciness on your palate reminds you that you actually crave more ice cold spiciness – so you take another bite of the dessert again, uncontrollably. Something fun but delectable that I would definitely recommend to end your meal with.
While prices are not necessarily the most pocket-friendly here, I must say that a good majority of the food is prepared with quality. There are some things worth paying for, while others were a little too much for me. However, I would say this would be a good hangout place if you would like good, somewhat different food (communal style, especially, as this is how I see it) and some booze.
What’s worth paying for:
Bacon-wrapped Chargrilled Dates.
Crispy Spiced Pig Ears.
Kobe Beef Onglet.
Chargrilled Secreto Iberico.
Chili Pineapple Popsicle.
Photos by Kathleen.
Address: 110 Telok Ayer Street, (S) 068579
Telephone: 6636 8055 (takes reservations)
Opening Hours: 12pm – 2.30pm, 6pm – 10.30pm (Mon – Fri); 6pm – 10.30pm (Saturday); Closed on Sundays.
This was a media session.