“Industrial Restaurant with a Twist”
Conveniently located at the edge of Telok Ayer Road is Moosehead Kitchen-Bar, set up by the father-son team of Glen and Daniel Ballis, along with Chef Manuel Valero Ruiz. The restaurant-bar serves both lunch and dinner menus inspired by their travels; and by night it turns into an effortlessly cosy bar – offering an array of exotic and craft beers.
Don’t be misled by the simple shop front though. Its interior boasts more complex details: a mish-mash of global cuisines and quirky, refurbished furniture.
The interior of the restaurant-bar is mainly industrial, with quirky hand designed paint work in a collaboration between Samantha Lo (a.k.a the Sticker Lady) and Chef Manuel himself. If you notice the legs of some of the tables, they were once cast iron sewing machines! As with the mirrors at the back, the were once the doors of cupboards.
Every item in Moosehead is paid detailed attention to, from the personalized-stamped menus on Kraft paper, to the food itself, reinforcing the cosmopolitan edge it boasts.
Bacon wrapped chargrilled dates, roast garlic aioli, pine nuts ($8). I was naturally excited about this dish because 1. Its main ingredient was bacon, and 2. The combination of dates and bacon was something new to me. Putting all the different flavours of sweet and savoury together in a single bite was very delightful.
The use of pine nuts did not overpower any of the other tastes, merely adding texture to the appetizer. I highly recommend this for a starter at Moosehead.
Asparagus, leeks, garlic miso ($14). Moosehead uses very fresh produce, so the asparagus had none of that bitter aftertaste. It was very tender and well-cooked, and the garlic complimented the miso perfectly without overshadowing the distinct Japanese flavour.
Grilled avocado, ajoblanco, quinoa, salmon roe ($18). This was refreshing to have, even thought it sounds and looks like there is a lot going on. Ajoblanco is a popular Spanish cold soup made from garlic, almonds and oilve oil, and this was probably inspired by Chef Manuel’s heritage. It is watered down as a light gravy for this dish.
The quinoa was lightly puffed to add a nice crunch to the otherwise mushy avocado and then topped with grated onion. To fully savour this dish, pile your spoon with a little bit of everything, including the salmon roe. Since most of the components are mild tasting other than the distinct creamy avocado, everything blends together with the burst of the fishy roe.
Burratina, Turkish bread, tomato, basil oil ($21). The burratina tastes very light, and is well complimented by the use of fresh herb and bread. a mish mash of textures from the charred bread, cheese and basil oil.
Crispy spiced pig’s ears. These make great beer snacks, and Moosehead has righteously paired it with five bottles of beer at $45. As intruiguiging as pigs ears might sound, they actually taste really good. They taste like curry, and are curnchy on the outside, yet soft and almost jelly like once you bite down. You can’t stop once you’ve had one!
Grilled octopus, red peppers, lime ($35). The octopus tentacle was braised before grilling so as to keep it tender. This mitigates the risk of overcooking the meat, which would have resulted in a tough and rubbery texture. The octopus had a residual taste of smokiness, perhaps caught from the previous use of the grill.
A heavy tasting ingredient in itself, the red peppers were more subtle in the gravy, but still a pleasant dish nonetheless.
Beef onglet, teriyaki mushrooms, sweet potato, bonito ($34). The beef was well executed, and packed with beefy flavour on its own. I found the use of teriyaki sauce on top of the beef itself unnecessary because the mushrooms and chips more than made up for the saltiness of the platter, and the Australian choice of beef had quite a lot of natural flavour.
Perhaps chef really just wants to add that explosion of powerful flavours to the beef, as with all his other dishes.
Chilli pineapple ice pop, gula Melaka, banana, chocolate ($14). Something different for the adventurous, the ice pops do make you ‘pop’! The combination of chilli and pineapple is Mexican inspired. You can’t really feel the chilli itself, but the spiciness lingers after a few bites, although balanced by the sweet tanginess of the popsicle.
The best way to enjoy all the food is to order and share them like you would at a tapas bar. This way everyone can sample a little of everything. Moosehead’s menu changes often for freshness, but you can expect some mainstays like the grilled octopus and beef onglet.
Moosehead Kitchen-Bar gives off a vibe that is cosy yet sophisticated, and it is the place to be at for an intimate gathering with a group of friends. Chef Manuel’s Spanish and European style can be observed in his food, with dishes all packing multiple powerful flavours that attack the different taste senses. Definitely recommended.
Expected Damage: $40 – $55/pax