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Jiak Kim House takes over space at the old Zouk nightclub, serves elevated Asian fusion cuisine

By Phyllis Leong February 9, 2024

The restaurant is a new concept by The Brewerkz Group. Photos: Phyllis Leong/HungryGoWhere

Party-going millennials are most likely familiar with Zouk, an iconic nightclub that holds fond memories of our heady nights on the dance floor. 

Throwback to better times when we raved to electronic dance music (EDM) and groovy bops by internationally acclaimed deejays all night long — that was certainly the heyday of our local clubbing scene. 

But despite its move to the bustling Clarke Quay district, nothing beats partying in the original space. And if you’re a sentimental party animal who mourned the closure of Singapore’s OG discotheque, you can now relive the nostalgia at newly opened restaurant Jiak Kim House.

The latest concept by The Brewerkz Group, Jiak Kim House occupies the space that previously housed the popular club. Its name is a nod to the street it calls home, as well as the vibrant nightlife history that its former occupant bore. 

The century-old conservation warehouse is now reimagined into an opulent 120-seater dining destination that encompasses a main dining hall and a private room. The latter fits up to 40 people and is excellent for holding intimate functions and get-togethers. 

Aside from its stunning setting, Jiak House’s menu is also noteworthy, spotlighting classic Asian flavours infused with contemporary elements.

Jiak Kim House is set in a conservation warehouse along Jiak Kim Street. Photo: Phyllis Leong/HungryGoWhere

Set foot into the restaurant and you’ll be wowed by Jiak Kim House’s breathtaking interior. It’s a stunning space that’s decked in royal blue panelling and gold upholstery that promises a refined dining experience. 

As a tribute to Jiak Kim’s long history, the eatery is also outfitted with custom-made rattan furnishing and rustic louvred panels that add to its old-school charm. There is even an arresting feature wall that is adorned with pictures depicting the Singapore River. 

While you dine, enjoy the dulcet tunes of Chinese jazz and smoothing acoustic covers playing in the background. 

Vibrant Southeast Asian flavours

Clockwise from left: Seven-herb crab cake, chilli crab pie tee, lamb goulash croquette and tri-coloured otak otak. Photos: Phyllis Leong/HungryGoWhere

Spearheading the culinary team is chef Seow Tzi Qin (also referred to as TQ), who takes pride in a creative menu of well-loved Asian dishes injected with contemporary flair. 

His aim? To celebrate the colourful flavours of Asian cuisine through inventive dishes reimagined for the modern palate. He spins a unique twist to each dish, so one can expect flavourful surprises in every bite. 

We started the meal with a round of appetisers that were served in a traditional four-tier tiffin carrier. Named the Tingkat of Memories (S$36), it comes with four hearty bite-sized morsels designed to feed two.  

Of these, our favourite is the seven-herb crab cake, which comprises meaty bits of lump crab and mud crab claw. The dish is also lifted with fragrant notes of lemongrass, ginger flower and laksa and mint leaves. Pair it with the accompanying assam mayo dip for a burst of zest and tang. 

The chilli crab pie tee comes in a close second, with its spicy homemade chilli crab filling nestled within a crispy pastry tart shell.

Mushroom herbal tea “macchiato”. Photo: Phyllis Leong/HungryGoWhere

Speaking of modern reinventions, the mushroom herbal tea “macchiato” (S$22) is a prime example of this. Its piquant, herbal flavours remind us of a bowl of bak kut teh (pork ribs tea soup), so much so that we can see ourselves turning to this comforting dish on a rainy day. 

This rendition features a harmonious blend of peppery mushroom consomme — mushroom broth made of white button mushrooms and a sharp, green peppercorn-infused foam — as well as well-puffed you tiao (dough fritters) on the side.

Not sure how to start on this dish? The trick to this mushroom-laden concoction is to savour it as you would a macchiato — straight down the hatch.

Hay-smoked wagyu hamburg. Photo: Phyllis Leong/HungryGoWhere

At first glance, we almost mistook the hay-smoked wagyu hamburg (S$28) for vegetable kushiyaki (grilled skewers). To our surprise, it turned out to be savoury wagyu patties delicately wrapped in leaves, which takes inspiration from the beloved Vietnamese dish bo la lot (beef wrapped in lolot leaves). 

The dish comprises a trio of premium meats — minced wagyu chuck, short rib and pork belly — rolled into a single char-grilled patty. They’re then tucked into aromatic shiso leaves, which infuse the smoky dish with layers of herbaceous hints. 

Have the skewers with the spritely green pepper dressing and Japanese kimchi for a delicious zing.

Beef tongue-to-tail. Photo: Phyllis Leong/HungryGoWhere

According to chef Seow, one of his personal favourites is the beef tongue-to-tail (S$42) — and it’s definitely one of ours. 

As the name suggests, various cuts of beef are used. Here, fork-tender, spice-infused rendang beef short rib, torched ox tongue and braised oxtail are the stars of the show.

Chock-full of umami goodness, the platter also provides a good range of textures and flavours. Every morsel is perfectly tenderised and melts in your mouth.

Crispy pave potatoes dressed in a smattering of sweet, grated coconut and smoky grilled shishito peppers also complement the beef trio.

Kam Heong sambal grouper. Photo: Phyllis Leong/HungryGoWhere

The Kam Heong sambal grouper (S$40) also impressed us. Marinated overnight in black peppercorns and a homemade sambal gravy, the dish’s Tiger grouper fillet is moist, creamy and retains its spice-forward flavours.

We note that it refrains from being too spicy and has just the right kick to tie the entire dish together. 

A tangy mangosteen salsa and fragrant cilantro rice rounds out the rest of the dish, tempering the heavy, earthy flavours of the protein.

Exquisite desserts  

Jiak Kim. Photo: Phyllis Leong/HungryGoWhere

To end off the meal, take your pick from a selection of ethereal, intricately crafted desserts.

A highly recommended treat was Jiak Kim (S$22), which exudes sheer luxury. It is said to embody the spirit and vision of what the restaurant is all about. The name is a direct Hokkien translation of “eat gold”, which symbolises the Jiak Kim team’s promise to dish up only the finest dishes.

The dessert is served in an exquisite flower shape and embellished with a resplendent gold foil. 

Break into it with a fork to find a sweet berriolette compote in the middle. And underneath, decadent layers of velvety, earl grey mousse and roselle hawthorn jelly atop an indulgent namelaka chocolate cream base.

Snow Peak. Photo: Phyllis Leong/HungryGoWhere

The Snow Peak (S$22) is another eye-catching dessert on the menu that will have diners “ooh”-ing and “ah”-ing. It is aptly named and reminds us of a snow-capped mountain on a winter’s night.

Gently push apart the lime meringue shard “peaks” to reveal a sapid Moutai and pineapple-infused sorbet on a bed of diced scoby. For an extra fruity oomph, the dessert is shrouded in coconut jelly, guava and strawberries.

All in all, it’s a well-crafted treat that is great for those who prefer lighter, fruitier flavours.

Handcrafted libations

Berrylicious. Photo: Phyllis Leong/HungryGoWhere

A meal is never complete without drinks and Jiak Kim House has an eclectic mix of handcrafted libations that are sure to please. 

There is the signature Emperor State (S$26), which features a marriage of housemade durian liqueur, pisco and Chartreuse Green liqueur. It captures the saporous essence of Singapore’s national fruit, well befitting our bold local flavours. 

If you intend to go home sober, the Berrylicious (S$22) mocktail sees lime liquor infused with a medley of berries that will cleanse the palate.

This was a hosted tasting.

Book a ride to try modern Asian cuisine at Jiak Kim House.  Do explore the GrabFood Dine-in service for awesome deals.

Jiak Kim House

5 Jiak Kim Street, 01-16/17

Nearest MRT station: Havelock

Open: Monday to Saturday (12pm to 3pm, 6pm to 11pm)


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