Telok Ayer used to be a rather quiet street after office hours. But now, at the end of this street, one can feel its pulse beating with a surge of energy like never before. Since July 2013, Moosehead Kitchen -Bar has taken over the corner shophouse unit, located conveniently right across the Telok Ayer MRT Station. Founded by Glen and Daniel - a father and son team along with Chef Manel, they hope to share with their guests their inspirations from the places that they have set their foot in for the past years.
Walked into this place and almost instantly I was drawn to the stunning murals on the walls. I was later told that all are drawn by Chef Manel, and much to my surprise, he did it together with our very own Samantha Lo. Vintage and rustic old furniture is used hence do not be surprised if you find yourself sitting on an odd stool or dining on a sewing machine table top. In-house music pumped up the entire place which are all carefully selected by Chef Manel himself to create that free spirit, let-your-hair-down kind of atmosphere.
Bacon Wrapped Chargrilled Dates 4.2/5
Bacon Wrapped Chargrilled Dates ($8) was a prelude to what were to be expected for the rest of the evening. If you have always adored sweet-savoury combinations and intrigued by the use of ingredients from different segments, this dish will be an excellent choice. I love how the salty jab from the bacon fused with the sweetness of the caramelised date which was dissipating slowly in my mouth as I chewed on it. The date seemed to be denser after being chargrilled which gave this dish a good body. With the tangy, creamy roast garlic aioli as a buffer between these two distinctive elements, this tiny wrappo was a delicacy to have. It would be more perfect if the dates are more bite sized as I finished the bacon way before I was done with the dates.
The Asparagus ($14) was spiked with leeks and dressed with garlic miso. It was beautifully charred with a subtle smoky personality which was well brought out by the touch of the lemon zest. The simplest dish on the menu may sometimes required the most skillful execution. Taste it and you will probably know the depth of the culinary skills. Well done.
Grilled Avocado 4/5
Order the Grilled Avocado ($16) and one will see the Spaniard in Chef Manel. Right in front of us, Chef Manel shaved a frozen green apple onto the grilled avocado. Falling like snow flakes onto the avocado seated on an ajoblaco lake with salmon roe pebbles, it was a visual feast. It was a pity that the apple flakes melted too fast for me to really taste it. I felt there could be more salmon roe to give this dish slightly more punch too. However, I thought the use of quinoa bits was a clever way to add layer to the texture.
Crispy Spiced Pig Ears 4.5/5
While tucking into the grilled avocado, a strong smell of cumin and spices blanket the place. Shortly came our Crispy Spiced Pig Ears ($16). When fries, wedges or even spam chips still populate a typical bar's menu, what we had here was one level up. Simply put, this was pig ears fries. However multiple times more crispy or even crunchier. The seasoning was not overdosed which I really appreciated. There was shiok-ness in every bite.
Burratina ($21) could be the most 'down-to-earth' dish that you might find on the menu. Apart from the Asparagus, this was my next favourite of the evening. The burrata was served like a dip and drizzled with basil oil. It comes with toasted Turkish bread and tomato neatly tucked into it. The burrata was so light and soft with some curds to chew on. Together with the tangy tomato and the herbaceous basil oil, I could not find any fault in this dish at all.
Grilled Octopus 4.5/5
When our Grilled Octopus ($35) was served, I could not pull my eyes away from it. Lying on a pool of red pepper and lime sauce, it looked kind of intimidating. Daunting as it may seem, the taste proved to be otherwise. Not the usual springy and tough texture that one might expect. My knife fell right through the meat as I sliced it into pieces. Moist and moreish. It tasted almost like scallop but of a denser texture. I was almost fooled by the rich colour of the sauce. It was neither spicy nor was it heavily seasoned. It had this subtle grassy taste with slight sweetness that I think complemented the mildness of the octopus really well.
Secreto Iberico 4.8/5
Down to the heavier mains, I saw that the chef has adopted several signature Asian ingredients in his cooking. We had Chicken Bulgogi, Beef Onglet, Secreto Iberico. For me the Secreto Iberico ($28) stood out the most. While the outside of the meat was evenly grilled, the inside still remained juicy and tender. I supposed the layer of fat which marbled the outside of the meat has helped to lock in the juice when it melted under high heat. I like this dish particularly because of its unique tomato wasabi dip. The dip did not have the usual harshness of a wasabi but instead inherited a strong herbaceous characteristic that cut the richness of the meat without being too overly empowering.
Beef Onglet 4.2/5
Beef Onglet ($34) was a fun dish to have. With the meat decorated with teriyaki mushrooms, sweet potato and bonito. I tried each one on its own before combining them together in one mouthful. The beef was extremely perfectly cooked, juicy and tender. As this cut of meat tends to be rather rich, I felt that the mushrooms would have supported the taste better if it was not so heavily soaked with teriyaki.
Chicken Bulgogi 4.2/5
As for the Chicken Bulgogi ($18), I like the smoky flavour of the slightly charred meat and the tanginess of the horseradish which balanced the meatiness of this dish finely. I would have find this dish more appetizing if the accompanying pickled shitake are of thicker slices to help elevate the acidity of this dish.
Chilli Pineapple Ice Pop with Gula Melaka Ice Cream 5/5
I would say expect anything but common on the menu. Even its desserts are one of its kind. We had Chilli Pineapple Ice Pop with Gula Melaka Ice Cream ($14) which was simply divine. Drizzled with banana sauce and graced with chocolate shavings, every bite was refreshing and heavenly. And I could only wish for more Gula Melaka ice cream!
“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller
Tonight, Moosehead manifested this statement to me with their food. I was honoured to be able to meet both the chef and owner themselves. Contrary to the edgy, hip underground vibe of this place, they came across as earthy and humble. After which I learnt that Daniel still travels quite frequently these days, not just for business but for him to explore new ideas and experience. These will eventually be the ingredients for him to make Moosehead one of the best kitchen-bar in town. Judging from the crowd we got here today, not too far behind, I suppose?
Written By Si An. A girl who is allured by travelling, loves the feel of freedom, smell of the rain and the aroma of fine coffee and food.
Moosehead Kitchen - Bar
110 Telok Ayer Street
Tel: +65 66368055
Nearest MRT: Telok Ayer (DT Line)
Mon-Fri: 12pm - 230pm, 6pm - 1030pm
Sat: 6pm - 1030pm
(Closed on Sun)
1) Aligh at Telok Ayer MRT station. Take Exit A. Walk to Telok Ayer Street. Journey time about 1 minutes. [Map]