The origins of Moosehead Kitchen Bar, located at Telok Ayer, might have a cliche start to the story. Moving to Singapore 8 years ago, the father and son duo Glen and Daniel Ballis noticed a lack of affordable eateries and wanted to fill in the gap in the market. It was also around the same time that Sarnies and Esquina were founded. Thus, attempting to stand out, they wanted to create a space that was warm, homely, inviting and also affordable. But at the same time, provide interesting dining experiences.

Dishes we’ve tried at Moosehead

The Roast Barramundi (S$26) is my favourite. Daniel also expressed his love for it but mentioned that he doesn’t really bring it up due to how simple the dish is. It’s proof that the right execution can bring out the best of the simplest ingredients though. Skin, perfectly seared while retaining the flakiness and tenderness of the fish. It’s paired with confit tomato which complements the deeper earthier flavours of the fish with its vibrant notes.

Butternut Squash Ravioli topped with greek yogurt, hazelnut and brown butter sage sauce

Moosehead’s Butternut Squash Ravioli (S$18) features a smooth, creamy butternut squash puree which innate) sweetness is balanced with a tangy greek yoghurt topping. As per tradition, the dish was cooked in brown butter sage and crushed hazelnuts, giving it a toffee-like and nutty finish. It’s a classic combination so there isn’t much to nitpick on. However, the ravioli was one roll away from perfection, as the pasta dough could’ve been thinner.

A different variation of pasta you can try is the Pork Ragu Tagliatelle (S$18). I expected a deeper flavor but the notes were rather bright. Also, the pasta was a tad dry.

In comparison to the Barramundi and Ravioli, the Roast Chicken (S$19 for half) came at a larger portion. Roast chicken is hard to get right. It’s either unappetizing or salmonella. And while the latter has more severe consequences, a dry, overcooked chicken is depressing in its own ways. Fortunately, Moosehead got it right. Its textbook crispy skin and tender meat didn’t just apply to ‘premium’ parts like the thigh and wings. This might be a weird thing to say but our teeth sunk into the supple breasts of the bird. And just like the Barramundi, it was simplicity at its finest.

Lastly, their Moosehead Burger (S$16) was a classic cheeseburger. The patty was an inch thick, and perfectly medium, which is honestly a rare sight. The sear could’ve been better, but its juicy and tender bite was its saving grace. It’s also slathered in a classic burger sauce- ketchup, mayo, some sort of acid and a dash of paprika. It had a vibrant note to it, perhaps a little too vibrant. Perhaps the smokiness and char from a proper sear could’ve tied the flavours down better. But overall, it was a good burger.

Restaurant for some, home to others.

While aiming to provide an interesting culinary experience, Glen and Daniel still wanted to retain a sense of familiarity. They wanted Moosehead to be a place for comfort food. A place for regulars to return when they’re missing home.

The industrial aesthetic of Moosehead might seem impersonal. But, the restaurant was built up piece by piece by the Ballis. The original decors were influenced by Melbourne cafes and Perusian bistros. But over time, it evolved with the introduction of new creations fueled by Daniel’s passion for street art. He works with artists from all walks of life. For example, the iconic moose head logo was sculpted by his first chef Manuel. Meanwhile, the latest addition to the restaurant was designed by a Bangkok-based artist.

Furthermore, Moosehead Kitchen Bar is a community, a platform for chefs to hone their craft. They tend to look for sous chefs or junior chefs who have yet held the title of head chefs at other establishment, giving them the opportunity to cultivate their techniques. Daniel also likes involving the chefs in R&D in the menu to allow them to expand their culinary vocabulary. Hence, despite growing up in Asia, you’ll notice a lack of Asian influence in their menu, as it’s heavily dependent on the culinary background of the chefs they rope in.

Their menu is diverse. But taking a closer look, you’ll see Mediterranean cuisine at the core of Moosehead. Despite growing up in South East Asia and travelling often, it’s evident that the the Ballis has a lingering affection for their hometown in Greece. And, when asked what his favorite dish was, Daniel answered instantly, “Our pistachio cake with honey and yuzu cream. It’s a signature. It brings comfort, it’s homely. It’s super delicious.” The Yuzu Pistachio (S$10) is an old family recipe that he holds deeply in his heart.

Verdict

One of the best restaurants in Telok Ayer, and one of my personal favorites all time. The dishes I got may be on the basic end of the spectrum, but they were so tantalizing. For something with a little more zest, Daniel recommends the Grilled Octopus (S$30) and Roast Cauliflower (S$15).

Location: 110 Telok Ayer St, Singapore 068579
Tel: +65 6636 8055
Opening hours: 11:30am- 2pm, 6pm-10:30pm (Mon – Sat); 11:30am- 2pm, 6pm- 8pm (Sun)

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